2020 Hyundai Venue SEL

A starter car with an interesting ride
June 29, 2020 Updated: June 29, 2020

Hyundai Venue is powered by a 1.6-liter Smartstream four-cylinder engine which motivates this small SUV with a maximum of 121 horsepower and 113 lb.-ft. of torque. Venue’s fuel consumption is rated at 30 mpg city and 34 mpg highway for a combined 32-mpg.

Venue is offered in 3 trim levels: the base SE, SEL, and the top-of-line Denim.

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A clean design for the back. (Courtesy of Hyundai)

Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control System and Vehicle Stability Management help maintaining control in tricky driving conditions. Surprisingly, there are several advanced technologies like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Rearview Camera, and Driver Attention Warning. These features are standard on the Venue, but usually reserved for more costly vehicles.

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Stylish wheels on the SEL. (Courtesy of Hyundai)

My Venue SEL had a Stellar Silver exterior with Gray interior color. Its outside look is enhanced by silver roof rails, body-color side mirrors, and body-color door handles coordinated with projector headlights. All this rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels.

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The interior of the Venue. (Courtesy of Hyundai)

Venue has a good representation of entertainment and communication technology. You get an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, piping sound through a 6-speaker audio system (4 speakers on the SE).

The front cabin felt a little crowded to me. Maybe if I weren’t the size of the Goodyear Blimp it would not have been so cozy. But even if were not a “good ole boy size,” leg room, shoulder and especially elbow room were at a premium.

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60/40 split fold-down rear seat. (Courtesy of Hyundai)

I never could get the tilt steering wheel and the 6-way adjustable driver seat set to where I had a good view of the instrument panel. The 60/40 split fold-down rear seat allowed for some additional room for luggage, but even with two passengers in the back seat they would be yearning for leg or shoulder room. The two stage cargo floor area and armrest storage were most helpful.

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Fold down the back seat for extra cargo room. (Courtesy of Hyundai)

I guess the most serious situation was when my wife had a flat. It started with difficulty getting the trunk open. The small trunk gave birth to the most pitiful looking spare tire. It appeared so frail that driving the car to a nearby Hyundai dealership proved challenging, though escorted safely by three handsome and strong young men in two cars. I’m just glad she wasn’t in Alpine, Texas when the flat occurred.

With all said, Venue is the perfect car for urban two-passenger travel, maybe plus a baby or pet. Gas mileage is super, torque is more than adequate, handling and parking are easy, and the technology experience is wonderful — all with a starting price tag around $19,000 for the SEL model driven here.

From there you can add the Convenience Package for $1,150, which includes power sunroof, sliding armrest, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, navigation, and Blind-Spot Collision Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Warning.

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Available power sunroof. (Courtesy of Hyundai)

Then there is the Premium Package ($1,750) that brings various goodies, including full LED lighting, heated front seats and outside mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, Proximity Key with remote button start, and Blue Link Connect.

Venue is clearly lively and great for short journeys. You trade a little comfort for a whole lot of fun, and it keeps a low running cost by sipping gasoline. It’s overall a joy to drive over narrow and highly traveled city roads.

5-year/60,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty
7-year/unlimited-mile Anti-perforation Warranty
5-year/unlimited-mile Roadside Assistance

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.