2020 Hyundai Venue Denim Edition Review: Designer Genes?

Discussion in 'In the News' started by cliff leppke, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. cliff leppke

    cliff leppke Cliff Leppke

    [​IMG] An entry level offering that feels very entry level like.

    Cliff Leppke – CleanMPG – Dec. 17, 2020


    Cheeky. That describes Hyundai’s subcompact crossover-like Venue. It’s a relatively inexpensive ride cloaked in designer whimsy. It slots below the Kona as the brand’s entry-level hatchback/crossover. Dressed in Denim Edition trim, it dons a white over blue exterior, white bumper and fender spats with vaguely Piet Mondrian-like t-shaped graphics. The result is waves from approving onlookers. The cabin charms despite hard plastic panels due to dual-tone hues, metal-like vent trim and funky seat fabrics.

    The front-drive Venue has more ground clearance than a car. Hyundai powers it with a modest 121-hp engine carried by struts up front and a beam axle in the rear. The mill mates to a continuous variable transmission. This CVT behaves like a conventional automatic when you stomp on the go pedal. The engine revs to redline, drops about 1,000 RPM and then repeats the process until you’ve hit your target speed. And the machine’s tone doesn’t grate, although the Venue is noisy. On the highway, the engine spins as low as 2,000 rpm or as high as 3,500 rpm as you navigate overpasses. Power and torque are merely adequate.

    Twirling the leather-clad directional hoop reveals artificial-as-vanilan response. Yet, during a suburban loop, which included COVID-19-caused vacant shopping- center parking lots, the vehicle felt light and lively with obvious body roll. Unfortunately, the Venue’s cheeky wrapper rides atop a rude suspension. It crashes on pimple-infested Wisconsin throughways. Its 17-inch tires on alloy wheels need a dose of Clearasall, as some road imperfections cause directional distress.

    Rear seat space is tight. The split-folding aft pew is Delta-approved and ready for landing, it’s bolt upright. The center shoulder belt attaches to the seat—a handy perk. Folding the back’s backrest requires forward cooperation as its headrests collide into the front seat backs. You can remove the headrests, though. And the rear cargo floor is height adjustable. Stowage is roomier than expected.


    Fuel economy is good: 32.5 mpg overall. Hyundai claims its two fuel injectors per cylinder improve gas atomization. The EPA numbers are 30/34/32 mpg city/highway/combined.

    This Hyundai’s cheerful environ cannot disguise several untidy items such as exposed spot welds, obvious headliner plugs and an erector set-style door window frames. Some carmakers punch inner and outer door panels out of single sheets of metal imparting a seamless aesthetic. Hyundai tacks on metal framing for guiding the window glass. This technique cuts lost metal in the manufacturing process but appears sloppy.

    Besides the playful colors and textures, the Venue offers a complete lineup of driving aids: blind spot warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision abatement with pedestrian detection and a selectable snow mode. Lane keeping isn’t adroit; the vehicle wanders. The heated seat bottoms seem vintage Proctor Silex—even on low it will toast your buns. Audible warnings don’t come from the loudspeaker near the possible expensive encounter, but you get an alarm just the same. Convenience items include pushbutton start and an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation. The latter’s speech detection and location finding were effective. Hyundai adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

    Hyundai’s Venue is user friendly. Big buttons let you tweak instrument brightness. But you must crane your neck in order to see which one to press. I sometimes got LKA instead of the electronic rheostat. This miscue is noticeable because instrument illumination doesn’t automatically brighten enough under intense sunshine. In contrast, the steering wheel’s switchgear includes simple toggles. Hyundai puts the driver assist icons above the main gauges where those with older eyes can easily focus.

    Hyundai says the trim Venue appeals to the young urban oh-I’m-smart set. Drive it before buying it; its budget-car genes aren’t appealing. For $23,306 as tested, there are smoother, quieter, quicker and more comfortable alternatives—the chino pants, say, of the automotive world.
    xcel, BillLin and EdwinTheMagnificent like this.
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Like a car , but taller and less efficient.
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  3. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I am seeing a few of these on the road - the SEL and above. The higher trims have a "snow mode" setting on the dial that configures the traction control. People see that and assume it's AWD - and the sales rep is not going to shatter the illusion if it could cost a sale.
    It suits its intended purpose - to build showroom traffic via low MSRP to flip prospects into a Kona or Tucson. Nissan has their Kicks, Toyota has their CHR, and Kia has their Soul. Now Hyundai has their FWD Carton-The-Accent-Was-Shipped-In and it appears to be a useful addition to the Hyundai cute-ute lineup.
    People shopping Venue at their local Hyundai retailer should be chained to the desk until they buy because the sales staff will not want to let them go and wander over to the Kia dealer. The Soul offers the same layout but about 10% larger, better equipped, with nicer upholstery, and quieter powertrain for about the same money. When the Venue pricing gets slashed during the next round of Hyundai Holidays, it could be a great value for people looking for the tall hatch form factor with all the basics and a few extras that they can purchase for a payment lower than most leases.
    xcel, BillLin and EdwinTheMagnificent like this.
  4. litesong

    litesong litesong

    I wonder if it might appeal to small car owners needing a bit more room, but don’t want the platform of a larger sedan? Yes, its a small market, but I love small. As I did, getting taller tires for my small cars, the poor ride should improve over bumps of all sizes & give more ground clearance. Wider tires will also reduce the Venue’s roll in the corners.
    Altho I’ve seen other “denim” cars that were pretty, Hyundai continues its penchant for poor colors. Maybe, a better photograph might show the Hyundai denim color to better advantage. Better photographs only do so much, tho.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Slowing down just a tad also reduces roll in the corners.
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  6. litesong

    litesong litesong

    Slowing down!? What are you.....unamerican? :rolleyes:
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  7. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I looked at the Venue at the auto show last year, and was impressed with what you get for the money. I guess I'm not as fussy as some people when it comes to interiors. No it doesn't quite get the mileage of a sedan or hatch, but not that far off - and still better than the economy cars of ten years ago.

    It's not really a SUV anyway, just a tall wagon by another name (I've owned several tall wagons, from during their first wave of popularity, and like the format, personally). The market is pretty quickly switching over to crossovers, including now at the lower end, like it or not. I'd rather see people driving this than a Nissan Joke, that's for sure.
    BillLin likes this.

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