If the price is the most important feature when seeking a subcompact SUV, the 2020 Hyundai Venue is going to be a formidable competitor. It has the lowest base price in its niche market ($17,350 for the base SE model) and includes driver safety features often sold as options in competitor vehicles.
2020 Hyundai Venue SEL Review
Standard features include dynamic cruise control, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, hill start assist control, driver attention alert and lane-keeping assist.
Our SEL test drive (the trim above SE and below Denim) added two main options easily viewed as necessary – Convenience and Premium Packages – that totaled $2,900. They added to the other features blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, sunroof, remote start, heated front seats, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, 17-inch wheels, and AppleCar Play / Android Auto.
As the smallest SUV Hyundai makes, it’s nimble to drive with a short wheelbase, and the ride is firm, sometimes rough over imperfect macadam using front strut and torsion beam rear suspension system.
Using Sport mode (there are also Normal and Snow modes), Venue is a peppy, front-wheel drive, urban runabout using an 8-speed sophisticated continuously variable transmission. Rack-and-pinion steering, however, requires strict driver attention at higher speeds.
It isn’t built for off-road adventure with only 6.7 inches of ground clearance.
Outside, the 2020 Hyundai Venue has a box-like stance with a slanted windshield and a cascading chain-link front grille, recessed headlamps, sculpted front and body creases, generously sized windows, and stylish five-spoke alloy wheels.
Inside, our front white cloth seats with black surround tinged with piping were comfortable with good headroom, even with a sunroof. However, rear seats are tight, especially if front passengers slide back, leaving legroom only for children or child safety seats.
The look is utilitarian with plastic the dominant material offset with tasteful brushed aluminum touches. The 8-inch touchscreen is intuitive to use and manipulate. Navigation was spot-on with good voice recognition. A four-speaker audio system that also tagged AppleCarPlay/Android Auto produced a clear, clean sound.
Knick-knack spaces are plentiful, including a dashboard rubber-based tray and with the rear seats folded flat, 32 cubic feet of space with a two-tier cargo floor and roof rails for luggage.
There is a spare tire; visors don’t fully extend.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated Venues with optioned LED lights a top crash safety pick.
The 2020 Hyundai Venue has one of the industry’s best warranties – 3-years/36,000 miles complimentary maintenance, 10-years/100,000 miles power train warranty, and 5-years/60,000 miles limited warranty.
At a Glance
LIKES: Price, mileage, looks, standard features, peppy, nimbleness
DISLIKES: Visors don’t extend fully, tight rear seating
BOTTOM LINE: Priced right for a challenged wallet
Fact File: 2020 HYUNDAI VENUE SEL
1.6-liter, inline-4, DOHC
121-hp @ 6,300 rpm
131 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Continuous variable automatic 8-speed
30 mpg city/34 hwy
0-60 in just under 9 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.