The Hyundai Venue is the smallest, most affordable SUV in the Hyundai line-up. Launched in Australia in 2019, it effectively filling the gap left by the discontinued Accent light car.
The Venue keeps thing simple in terms of variants. There’s one engine choice – a 1.6-litre four-cylinder – and three trim levels, with a six-speed auto available on all three, or a cheaper six-speed manual offered the base and mid-spec models.
All versions drive the front wheels.
Despite the compact exterior dimensions, boot space is good for the class at 355 litres.
The top-spec Elite is available with two-tone paint, offering the roof in a contrasting colour.
Current Hyundai Venue Specs
|Version||Transmission||Fuel (city) L/100km||Price|
|1.6 MPi||6 SP Manual||7L/100km||$21,740|
|1.6 MPi Auto||6 SP Automatic||7.2L/100km||$23,760|
|1.6 MPi Active||6 SP Manual||7L/100km||$23,670|
|1.6 MPi Active Auto||6 SP Automatic||7.2L/100km||$25,690|
|1.6 MPi Elite Auto||6 SP Automatic||7.2L/100km||$27,540|
Living with the Hyundai Venue Elite
Small SUV brings a dose of big brother
- Welcome: Notice is Served
- Update 1: Breaking the Board-om
- Update 2: A Mounting Challenge
- Update 3: Finding the V-Spot
- Update 4: Infectious Personality
- Update 5: Sorting Watt's What
- Update 6: Do you want to get Funky?
- Update 7: Vacating the Venue
Welcome: Notice is Served
Price as tested: $25,490
This month: 419km @ 8.3L/100km
By: Trent Giunco
The world is full of different kinds of people. Some like the spotlight placed firmly on them at all times – being the centre of attention is a constant need, not merely a desire. Then, on the flipside, there are those who like to go about their business without causing as much as a ripple.
I don’t feel like I fall entirely into either category, but certainly err far more heavily to the latter. So driving an ‘interesting’ looking compact SUV, the sole design purpose of which is to stand out, is a bit confronting. Splash on the Acid Yellow (or is it green?) hue, with a contrasting Phantom Black roof, and I might as well be a starkers Miranda Kerr or Chris Hemsworth walking down the street.
This has been my early experience with the provocatively styled 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite, joining us in top-spec Elite trim for the next six months.
On its first trip outside the CBD, it was hard not to notice just how noticed I’d become.
That notion became apparent in the small Victorian town of Healesville. There are many twisty roads in this region, but despite the 1592mm tall body, roll isn’t too much of an issue. In fact, despite a lack of grunt (more on that later), the handling is commendable for a budget SUV.
The drive back to the big smoke affords time to play around with the ergonomically sound cabin, swipe the 8.0-inch infotainment screen and appreciate the impressively loping ride quality. It’s all easy to live with.
As the most expensive offering in the three-tier range, the Elite gains handsome body cladding, 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights and the option of two-tone paint.
Other extras include blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert to bolster the Hyundai SmartSense safety package, as well as satellite navigation with live traffic updates, six-speaker audio system with DAB+ digital radio, and climate control. Given all this, the lack of keyless entry and start is a strange omission.
However, even with all the kit the top-spec affords, I’ve already got a niggling feeling that the Elite we’ve been provided isn’t the Venue to go for – is it really worth $25,490 when the entry-level Go is less than $20K? Previous exposure to the rest of the range suggests that the value equation diminishes the more cash you splash.
The basic mechanical package is the same across the board. Power comes from a naturally aspirated 1591cc four with 90kW/150Nm and, luckily, it only has to lug around 1165kg.
That’s because it’s a bit of an old nail; a small-capacity turbo triple would definitely work a treat. And true to form like previous tests, it’s already thirstier than its 7.2L/100km claim.
A six-speed manual is available on lower grades, though the Elite comes only with a six-speed torque converter auto. In the hilly Yarra Valley, the auto ’box seems to endlessly kick down in search of torque that simply isn’t there.
Despite the off-road pretensions suggested by the jacked-up ride height (170mm of ground clearance), the Venue is strictly front-wheel-drive only – although it does come with three traction modes: Snow, Mud and Sand. On the flip side, Normal, Eco and Sport modes are available to mix up the driving experience. The suspension set-up comprises struts up front with a torsion-beam rear axle.
The extrovert Venue is with us long enough to work through its persona that has, up to this point, proven persuasive in Wheels comparison tests. Now is our chance to see if there’s even more to uncover, in terms of charm or niggles when it’s subjected to the daily grind – and will we ever work out if it’s yellow or green?
If we can’t, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of people coming up to me to tell me what they think.
Update 1: Breaking the Board-om
Mileage this month: 367km @ 10.7L/100km
By: Cameron Kirby
I felt like I’d just won the lottery on Christmas morning. I even refreshed the web page a few times, just to be sure, but there it was in black and white: Victorian residents were now permitted to have five guests in their house as part of the first round of loosening social distancing restrictions.
At that point, I hadn’t seen my friends for two months. Usually, I’d see them every week or so to play niche board games, drink copious quantities of wine, and then argue about the complex rules of niche board games.
Problem is, my personal stocks of wine and new niche board games were running low. A trip for both was needed. Thankfully, I had just become the custodian of Wheels’ newest long-termer – this eye-searing Venue Elite – and it seemed perfectly suited to my unique demands.
One of the Venue’s greatest strengths so far has been its manoeuvrability. It’s only a smidge over 4.0-metres long and has a 10.2m turning circle, which combine to make this little SUV an absolute champion when attempting a challenging reverse parallel park.
The only thing to be mindful of is an over-eager throttle calibration in reverse, but so far, that’s been the Venue’s only tight-quarters foible.
Another surprise has been the ride. Our Venue is the range-topping variant and I expected its larger 17-inch wheels and 205/55 tyres to add a harsher edge to the ride (lesser
Venues roll on 15-inch hoops), but it has actually been unexpectedly comfortable. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it plush – but for the price tag it’s certainly one of the better riding small SUVs getting around.
Limited travel has meant the only other task the Venue has been called upon is to ferry my canine offsider to the dog park.
Problem is, my dog is about the same size as a small horse, making boot space a valuable commodity. On paper, the Venue stacks up nicely. Its 355 litres is significantly more than you get in a Mazda CX-3, plus it has a two stage floor system which frees up more room when you need it. There’s also a brilliant design feature that allows the boot’s parcel shelf to be slid out of the way to stand behind the rear seats. Despite all this, however, my leggy hound still doesn’t fit, so it’s back-seat duties for him. Clever packaging can only achieve so much, after all.
With the new guidelines now permitting recreational driving in Victoria, I’ve already started planning a day-trip to visit one of the state’s smallest big things, in one of the smallest SUVs you can buy. This will give me the opportunity to see how the Venue fares when removed from its inner-city comfort zone. NVH has been impressive so far, so I’m optimistic about its grand tourer abilities.
Update 2: A Mounting Challenge
Mileage this month: 724km @ 7.5L/100km
By: Cameron Kirby
I honestly thought my first #DriveAfterIso would be a roaring Alpine Ring blast. But no, instead it would involve less than 100kW and a schlep to an unknown hill. The plan, concocted half as a joke, would be to take ‘my’ Venue long termer to Mount Wycheproof – literally the world’s smallest mountain. It seemed like the perfect tongue-in-cheek destination for a road trip. SUVs are big but the pint-sized Venue is little, Mountains are tall but Wycheproof is short … geddit?
This was my first period of extended highway driving with the Venue and I quickly realised that it’s out of its comfort zone. At a true 100km/h the engine is humming along at 2500rpm. At 110km/h that rises to 2800rpm. The 90kW/151Nm 1.6-litre atmo four-pot struggles with the smallest of inclines, with the six-speed auto all-too-readily slipping down a ratio, adding an extra thousand revolutions. Large hills prompt a drop to fourth where the engine screams for mercy at 4500rpm.
On smooth dual carriageways the engine is the most significant NVH niggle. Travelling further from the city centre sees a drop in road quality, with the coarser chip surface bringing a subsequent increase in tyre roar.
Soon, the combination of high cruising revs and droning tyre noise has me searching for other irritants, purely for distraction. The most I can muster is the poor padding for the arm rest on the door.
I knew Mount Wycheproof would be small but even so, I was still unprepared for just how small. Even from a handful of kilometres away, the ‘mountain’ resembles more of middling hill which gives our trip a strange sense of anti-climax.
This soon disappears. Surrounded by flat grasslands, sitting atop the granite outcrop at the summit provides a beautiful, nearly unbroken 360-degree vista.
We return to Melbourne under the veil of darkness. The auto-dipping headlight system can best be described as patchy, with high-beam turning off and on at random on an empty gumtree-lined road yet remaining on as a truck approaches.
It wasn’t the epic alpine jaunt I had been expecting but this trip gave me plenty of smiles and laughs. While it’s not perfectly suited to the task, none of the Venue’s foibles are deal breakers for further extended trips.
As for our destination. I’d highly recommend a trip to the world’s smallest mountain – not only is the view at sunset stunning but you’ll be part of a rare club to have reached its summit – less people live at Wycheproof than Everest Base Camp. Small things can still deliver big smiles. You just have to give them the opportunity.
Update 3: Finding the V-Spot
Mileage this month: 318km @ 9.4L/100km
By: Cameron Kirby
Well that's bloody annoying,” I thought to myself. I’d just tried to put my Keep Cup into one of the Venue’s central cup holders. Frustratingly, the cork band on my environmentally conscious caffeine receptacle fouled the edges, and it wouldn’t fit.
Turns out only smaller cups and bottles will fit in the central holders. As I spend more time with the Venue, it’s little quirks (both good and bad) like this that have become more prominent. One of the positive surprises has been the rear window wiper, which automatically activates if you select reverse gear while the front wipers are also on.
At this price point, value for money is one of the biggest customer priorities, and for a sub-$30K SUV, the Venue remains a compelling option.
However, I’ve begun to ponder if paying for the flagship Elite is worth the extra coin compared to its more affordable variants.
Costing an extra $2020 compared to the mid-spec Active auto, the Elite offers some mild styling upgrades and boosts the wheel size to 17-inches (up from 15). But while the larger wheels look sharper, the trade-off is a small reduction in ride quality. Personally, I’d prefer the cushier ride.
Inside, there are more worthwhile additions. Elite versions gain sat-nav with live traffic updates, DAB+ radio, single-zone climate control and an extra fast-charging USB socket.
I like to have the temperature ‘just so’ in a car, so the climate control has been appreciated, while the fast-charging has been helpful on plenty of occasions when I’ve left the house with a phone on low battery.
Your extra outlay also nets you some extra active safety gear. Elite versions gain blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert, which go a long way to justifying the higher price tag. The blind-spot monitoring can be a tad over-cautious, but I prefer this to a safety system that keeps quiet when it shouldn’t.
What isn’t worth the money, is the inbuilt sat-nav system. I’ve opted not to use Android Auto to better understand the inbuilt system and, well, you’re much better off using smartphone mirroring. That is, unless you enjoy taking the long, slow way home. Hyundai’s sat-nav can’t hold a candle to Google Maps or Waze.
So is the Elite an over-priced flagship? Far from it. Sat-nav aside, its visual, tech and safety additions justify its higher price. Yet for me, the mid-spec Active (which Hyundai predicts will be the volume seller) is the smarter buy. It drives just as well, rides a little better, and I can make do without a few bells and whistles.
Update 4: Infectious Personality
Mileage this month: 306km @ 9.5L/100km
By: Felipe Ubilla
There are a few things that I have planned for which a selection of cars would be preferable: a ute for grabbing building supplies; a wagon to shift a bunch of boxes with kids’ toys; something large and comfortable for a much-needed holiday.
But we reside in inner Melbourne and right now our beloved city is under Stage Four restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. So all of those plans are just pipe dreams until the lockdown begins to ease.
Our new reality sees me darting off to the local shops after work to grab supplies in the Venue before our 8pm curfew. Having had little previous time with the car, thus far it has been a pleasant surprise.
Walking away from the Acid Green SUV, I’m reminded of the toxic goo Jack Nicholson fell into in Batman – except I haven’t had the urge to wear eccentric purple suits coming out of it. Bad jokes aside, I am a fan of the paint, especially as it helps with trying to spot the Venue when returning to shopping centre car parks.
Having only seen the Venue in images, I initially thought the grille was overdone and oversized. But in the metal it’s a different story – the grille and overall design feel cohesive and fresh. The light signature and general shape has shades of the Citroen C4 Cactus in it, but with crease lines and no questionable ‘AirBumps’.
Heading back home I muse over how well the Venue handles, even if the ride is a touch firm. Previously we’ve touted the mid-spec Active as the pick of the bunch for being cheaper and riding on 15-inch wheels, but Hyundai has just announced the MY21 update for the Active and top-spec Elite. So while the entry-level Go remains untouched, the Active now comes with 17-inch alloys and a price hike of $420, resulting in the manual costing $22,120 and the auto $24,140. The auto-only Elite jumps by $250 to clock in at $25,990 and it now includes keyless entry and start – welcome additions to bring it on par with some of its rivals. But if ride comfort is near the top of your check-list, the Go (which rolls on 15-inch hoops) is definitely worth a look.
Arriving home in a shroud of darkness, the bright and plucky Hyundai strikes me as the perfect car for these dark times. Small and nimble, it’s ideal for the daily dash. Dare I say, I’m finding the Venue infectious.
Update 5: Sorting Watt's What
Mileage this month: 145km @ 12.6L/100km
By: Felipe Ubilla
It’s hard to gauge which Dan has been more significant in steering Victoria through the pandemic – Dan Andrews or Dan Murphy’s.
Melbourne is now past the halfway point of the strict Stage 4 restrictions that have continuously morphed. These laws now allow residents to drive within a five kilometre radius of their home for exercise. Since the change kicked in, I took the opportunity to get out with the family in the Venue to see how it would manage fully loaded.
The small Hyundai does well to give the impression of space in its interior. There’s plenty of head room, including in the second row, but your knee caps can quickly reveal that to be small comfort. Being still under five foot, it shouldn’t be an issue for my kids, but with the booster seat jutting forward, the eldest daughter struggled to squeeze into her seat.
Currently she stands at 143cm, which, annoyingly, is 2cm shy of the 145 needed for her to ditch the booster seat. If she was just slightly taller, she would have no issues with the rear-seat packaging. Instead, to allow her sufficient space, the front seat needs moving forward slightly, compromising a comfortable driving position.
Beyond the space issue created by the booster seats, the lack of second-row air-con feels like a bit of a miss. The 355-litre boot is a generous size, although if you throw in a pram, there’s not much change left.
Fully loading the Venue for long-distance trips might be a stretch for the 1.6-litre atmo four pot, especially if steep inclines are involved. Faced with a decent ascent on the drive home, the 90kW/151Nm engine became very vocal with the task asked of it, needing 4000rpm to punch up all the way past the crest.
It’s a pity there’s not a turbo variant offered, otherwise this little dynamo would be capable of punching much higher up in its segment. As is, the Venue makes for a great second family car for shorter hauls. Hyundai, please take note. Alternatively, you could just invest in contraception and not have kids.
Update 6: Do you want to get Funky?
Mileage this month: 139km @ 11.5L/100km
By: Felipe Ubilla
I’ve long held the view that the word ‘funky’ should only be used in association with James Brown or something extremely pungent. Outside of those parameters, it seems to get thrown around far too much to describe anything that’s out of the ordinary or quirky.
While ‘funky’ has been used to describe Hyundai’s Venue, I have to agree it is a rather boldly designed small SUV. The Acid Yellow may be harmful to people with sensitive retinas, but I like it – bold design warrants a bold colour. When the light hits the little Venue at the right time it accentuates the body creases, flared guards and cladding.
The interior is in no way mind blowing, but the design is clean and functional. Dials, air-vent levers and stitching match the exterior paint for a refreshing touch, but the Venue is let down by the hard and scratchy plastics. The range-topping Elite comes nowhere near Mazda’s CX-3 in materials and finish, but you do pay just under $10K more to get into the FWD Akari.
One quirk I’ve found in the Venue is the rear-view vision – short-range visibility is fine but trying to spot what’s occurring in the distance has me looking like a bobble-head doll trying to find the sweet spot, due to the sloping roofline at the rear. This isn’t an issue when driving around the inner city, but it might be when on country roads or freeways and if you suffer from extreme paranoia.
Under the watch of Luc Donckerwolke (who left the company back in April) Hyundai has made some bold visual moves in the last few years and that trend looks like continuing with upcoming Tucson – although it’s bordering dangerously close to being too angular and overdone. We’ll reserve judgment until we see it in the metal.
Hyundai has come a long way from the maker of little Excels, and it’s exciting to see the direction the Korean giant is taking – it’s almost enough to erase the memory of the original Coupe. Almost.
Update 7: Vacating the Venue
Mileage this month: 117km @ 11.8L/100km
Total mileage: 2536km @ 9.2L/100km
By: Felipe Ubilla
When the Venue’s keys were tossed my way a few months ago I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I have to admit, Hyundai’s light SUV has proven to be a nice surprise.
The two-tone paint in Acid Green looks great, day or night, working brilliantly to highlight the car’s shape and contours – for a small SUV its stance is tough and masculine, like that of a British bulldog. Its colour and design definitely turns heads.
The interior is good without being brilliant. The design is functional, most surfaces use hard and scratchy plastics but depending on your taste, the body-coloured accents are a nice touch. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment is a standout: crisp, clear and easy to use, although the graphics are a little basic. The six- speaker system has also proven to be better than expected.
We’ve found the interior space ample up front and passable at the rear. The large child booster seat which was an issue a few months ago has been out-grown by my daughter, and its removal has vastly improved comfort for her. However COVID restrictions nixed any chance to go on an extended trip, or even getting time on a freeway for that matter.
Which is a pity really, because one of the Venue’s strongest aspects is its dynamic capability. Handling is great; I often found myself taking detours to hit a few more bends on the way home. But the elephant in the room is the lacklustre 1.6-litre atmo four-pot – its 90kW/151Nm outputs could really use a boost.
But if punchy performance is a high priority, you’re probably looking in the wrong segment to begin with – wait for the i20 N instead.
Do we recommend the Venue? Yes; it presents as a better-value alternative to the class-leading Toyota C-HR, especially in Go and Active guises. But you will be trading a superior interior finish and engine performance compared to the Toyota. Which doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. The Venue is all about cheap and cheerful fun, which it brings by the bootful.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The Hyundai Venue ranges in price from $21,740* for the 1.6 MPi, and $27,540* for the 1.6 MPi Elite Auto
*Pricing excludes stamp duty, other government charges and options. Prices subject to change.
The Hyundai Venue was built in Korea.
The Hyundai Venue has a 4 ANCAP crash safety rating.
The Hyundai Venue is available in unleaded petrol fuel types.
The Hyundai Venue has 5 doors.
The Hyundai Venue comes with a boot size of 355 litres.