The 2020 Hyundai Venue is an affordable SUV that's easy to maneuver and drive in the city. Extra packages provide nice amenities, like navigation, heated seats, and a sunroof. We don't care for the exterior styling, but can overlook that given the Venue's other strong attributes.
Safety & Tech Features
Nimble & Maneuverable
Hard Plastic Interior
Engine Power (at times)
False Positives on Safety Features
The 2020 Hyundai Venue is the smallest crayon in what has become a colorful box for the automaker. Hyundai has spent considerable time beefing up their SUV and crossover portfolio, the 2020 Venue being the latest addition. Hyundai offers five SUVs and/or crossovers for 2020: Palisade, Santa Fe, Tucson, Kona (which has an EV variant), Nexo Fuel Cell, and now the Venue.
Earlier this year, we drove the larger Palisade for a week around Detroit. All things considered, we think the three-row SUV has a lot to offer. Now we move to other end of the spectrum, spending a week with the smallest in Hyundai’s SUV lineup: the Venue.
Our press vehicle was a 2020 Hyundai Venue SEL in ceramic white with a gray interior.
Hyundai Venue: What’s New For 2020
The small SUV made its debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. “The all-new Venue might be small in size, but it’s big on practicality and personality,” said Mike O’Brien at the time, Vice President of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning, Hyundai Motor America.
The 2020 Hyundai Venue enters a crowded party, and consumers have plenty of choices when it comes to smaller SUVs. Comparable vehicles include the Chevy Trax, Fiat 500X, Ford Ecosport, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks, and Toyota C-HR.
There are three trim levels for the 2020 Hyundai Venue: SE, SEL, and Denim. The Denim trim includes the Denim exterior color and interior theme, with a contrasting white roof.
2020 Hyundai Venue: Standard Features
Our 2020 Hyundai Venue SEL press vehicle was nicely equipped from the factory. The Advanced Safety Technology package included forward collision warning; lane keeping asssit; electronic stability and traction control; driver attention warning; tire pressure monitoring system; front and side curtain airbags; and a reverse camera.
The Comfort and Convenience package gave us an eight-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; smartphone, USB, and auxiliary input jacks; climate control; tilt and telescopic steering wheel; keyless entry; compact spare tire; and a handy two-stage rear cargo floor.
Our Venue SEL press vehicle had the Convenience package ($1,150), which included a power sunroof, sliding armrest storage box, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Premium package (1,750) included LED headlights and taillights; daytime running lamps; heated front seats and side mirrors; push-button start; navigation; and carpet floor mats. Hyundai’s Blue Link services come complimentary for three years as part of the Premium package.
How Much Is The 2020 Hyundai Venue?
Base price for our Venue SEL press vehicle was $19,250. With the added Convenience and Premium packages, and the destination change of $1,120, total MSRP came to $23,405. By comparison, the Venue SE starts at $17,350 while the Denim begins at $22,050.
One of the most attractive things about the Venue is the price point. According to Cox Automotive, the average payment on a new vehicle exceeded $530 in 2018 or about 10 percent of the median household income. SUVs and crossovers, even compact ones like the Venue, are expected to rise 18 percent by 2025.
As it stands, almost any new vehicle today is an expensive proposition, but the Hyundai Venue lands on the lower side of that scale. The Venue would be ideal for newly weds, single parents, young professionals, and retirees who want to downsize.
Interior Highlights: Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy
Given the price point, we can’t expect luxury or premium treatments, but our press vehicle wasn’t completely spartan either. We still had navigation, heated seats, and cool tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That said, simplicity is definitely a strong point here. While there are a handful of buttons, mostly on the steering wheel and just under the eight-inch central screen, they don’t appear busy, confusing or vaguely marked.
Though I have been in the automotive industry most of my professional life, I still get overwhelmed when I see multiple screens, touch points, and buttons. I liked how most everything I needed was contained to the Venue’s eight-inch central display. Once I got onto that (and you will quickly) I was good to go.
The climate buttons are slightly larger knobs with the auxiliary ports just below. Again, nothing is vaguely marked or confusing, a strong point as vehicles today are often filled with “technology.”
Interior Highlights: Passenger & Cargo Space
The front seats are comfortable enough for the jaunts we took around Detroit. On a longer trip, we could imagine some fatigue and discomfort setting in, but for a daily commute, the 2020 Hyundai Venue will do just fine. Total interior volume is 110.6 cubic feet, with total passenger volume coming in at 91.9 cubic feet.
Rear cargo capacity is 18.7 cubic feet with the seats up, extending to 31.9 cubic feet with them down. The cargo area includes a cover for privacy and a dual-level floor for additional flexibility. We tossed in a red roller bag (like the kind you fly with) and a duffel bag and everything fit alright. As long as you don’t haul the kitchen sink, the Venue’s cargo space should be enough.
2020 Hyundai Venue: Engine & Powertrain
Under the hood is Hyundai’s new Smartstream engine, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that creates 121 horsepower (6,300 rpm) and 113 lb-ft. of torque (4,500 rpm). The engine is connected to an Intelligent Variable automatic that sends power to the front wheels, a transmission Hyundai developed in-house.
The Venue offers three different drive modes. Normal is what the name implies and best for everyday driving. Sport mode makes the throttle and steering response more energetic, although it’s really more bark than bite. The most practical is Snow mode, which sends torque between the left and right front wheels when the weather gets bad.
No, only front-wheel drive is available, and that’s okay. All-wheel drive would add to the vehicle’s MSRP and long-term fuel consumption anyway. The Snow mode is solid if you are concerned about traction, and if you are trying to keep costs down, front-wheel drive is a better option.
Does The 2020 Hyundai Venue Have a Manual?
Sure does! Opt for the entry-level SE and you can have a six-speed manual. Our press vehicle had the automatic, but a manual would be fun in something like the Venue.
Gas Mileage of the 2020 Hyundai Venue
Hyundai focused extensively on fuel economy while developing the Venue’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder. Both the Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Dual Port Fuel Injection systems were refined (more optimized “spray targeting” for the injectors Hyundai says). It worked because the 2020 Venue holds its own against the competition.
EPA ratings with the automatic are 30/34 city/highway and 32 combined. The manual transmission comes in at 27/35 city/highway and 30 combined. Fuel tank capacity is 11.9 gallons.
How Does The 2020 Hyundai Venue Drive?
The Venue will shine in a large and bustling city, as is the case with our beloved home of Detroit. The Venue might best be described as “zippy,” or at least that’s what stuck in our mind as we navigated Jefferson, Congress, and Woodward in downtown Detroit. Because the Venue is smaller, you feel more agile, especially as other commuters are going about their day, or as that truck ahead stops to make a delivery, or that construction vehicle needs to back out.
In so many words, the Hyundai Venue can manage the average day in the typical American city. It gets great gas mileage, turns on a dime, and if you had to, you could park it in a shoe box or broom closet. When downtown parking is at a premium, the Hyundai Venue is your ticket.
Better For Daily Driving
Acceleration is solid considering the smaller 1.6-liter engine. It will make some noise when you are initially on the throttle, but things will quiet down once on the highway. The blind-spot monitor did register a few false positives for us, so make sure to always double check the mirrors when changing lanes, especially during rush hour traffic.
Our only concern would be driving the Venue on a longer trip. While we are 100 percent confident in the Venue’s mechanical abilities, we would likely opt for the larger Santa Fe if extensive travel were part of our normal schedule. The Venue’s smaller footprint serves it well in the city, although drivers may eventually feel cramped and uncomfortable as the miles on the open road pile up.
Should I Buy a 2020 Hyundai Venue?
We don’t particularly care for the exterior styling, but given the affordability, that can be overlooked. For what is an entirely new vehicle for Hyundai, they did a good job first time out of the gate. If you currently need something new, and consider car shopping a strictly practical and pragmatic affair, then it’s hard to go wrong with the 2020 Hyundai Venue.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.