Tuesday, August 3, 2021
First Reviews 2020 Hyundai Venue First Drive Review: Substance is Key

2020 Hyundai Venue First Drive Review: Substance is Key

With its very aggressive pricing structure, can the 2020 Hyundai Venue reel in the younger crowd? Let's find out.

The Venue is Hyundai’s second stab at offering what millennials want in an SUV. In fact, it is now the gateway to Hyundai’s SUV lineup. And it exists because the Kona, although very capable in many fields, didn’t quite do its job in reeling in young buyers.

But the Venue was also born from the movement from compact vehicles to SUVs, and this exile also applies to young buyers, it seems.

One thing has to be said, selling cars to young people is tough. No matter how much trendy ads, influencer campaigns and lifestyle events that buzz around their launches, the key component is always substance. Next year, 40% of car buyers will be millennials.

The Venue lines up against the Toyota C-HR and the Nissan Kicks, as well as some popular compact cars. Yes, it might cannibalize Accent sales. But, as they say, the client is always right. And if it’s SUVs they want, SUVs they’ll get!

2020 Hyundai Venue | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

Familiar-ish looks

From a looks perspective, the Hyundai Venue takes design cues from the Palisade and the Santa Fe. But the packaging is somewhat unique. Offered trims are Essential, Preferred, Trend and Ultimate variants, its most striking difference with the Venue is its square-like LED DLRs and two-tone paint schemes to give it that younger look, that livery is available with the Urban Edition that buyers can add on to the Trend variant.

Inside, the Venue’s base trim (Essential) incorporates good basics with a few interesting perks. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on an 8-inch screen. Heated seats are also standard. Going up in trims will give heated steering wheel in the Preferred variant, an 8-speaker audio system in the Trend and Premium cloth seating in the Ultimate, among other elements.

While the dashboard layout and accessibility to commands are great, the space inside the Venue is its most impressive feature. Room for passengers in every direction is more than ample for the segment with a total interior volume of 2,602 litres. Moreover, the rear cargo space turns the Venue into a talented stuff hauler. With a total of 902 litres with the rear seats down, this little CUV boasts more versatility than a compact car.

2020 Hyundai Venue | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

Powered by the Accent’s engine

The only (small) rock in the Venue’s shoe is its powerplant because the performances might not be sufficient for certain drivers, especially in highway driving conditions. It uses the same engine as the Hyundai Accent, which is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit that dishes out 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai mated it to a standard 6-speed manual in the base Essential version, with an available Continuously Variable Transmission (which Hyundai calls IVT) that is standard on all trims above.

Unfortunately, the Venue doesn’t offer AWD, but company officials argue that the Snow mode available with the IVT does a pretty good job at handling slippery surfaces. We’ll have to test the feature on Canadian ground this winter to validate this statement.

When driving around in the city, though, the 121 ponies provide plenty of oomph to move the Venue. Impressively nimble, the Hyundai Venue carved street corners like a pro throughout my test drive. Braking is also impressive, and body roll is minimal considering the Venue’s height. As for ride comfort, the suspension is on par with what you find in the segment. I personally found that the experience for the front passenger was more enjoyable than with the Nissan Kicks in a similar urban setting.

2020 Hyundai Venue | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube


Are two-tone body colours appealing to millennials? We could argue that point for a while. One thing is for sure, they are demanding in terms of connectivity and space, but the proposition also has to be really interesting in financial terms. Happily, Hyundai gave the Venue a very aggressive pricing structure. The Essential trim starts at $17,099 ($18,399 if you want IVT and cruise control), and a fully loaded Venue will run you $24,899 (Ultimate).

Alas, the Venue might end up in the hands of all types of demographics, including retired couples and middle-aged professionals, like many vehicles that were specifically designed for millennials. But all things considered, this new Hyundai SUV has it all for any car buyer – including a lot of substance for the younger ones. I can confidently predict that this one is going to sell like hotcakes!

2020 Hyundai Venue Photo Gallery

2020 Hyundai Venue | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2020 Hyundai Venue | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2020 Hyundai Venue | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

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Louis-Philippe Dubé
Louis-Philippe Dubé has been contributing at MotorIllustrated.com for over a year, and for the NetMedia360 network for nearly three years now. His passion for everything automotive comes from a career as a mechanic, but also from the family vehicle collection that includes a 996 Porsche Turbo and a 2004 Ford GT. We've been bugging him to drive the GT, but he hasn't responded. Send L-P an email


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