Review update: 2020 Hyundai Venue SEL packs big value in a small space

April 13, 2020

The 2020 Hyundai Venue is the newest and smallest crossover from Hyundai. The subcompact crossover is smaller than the Hyundai Kona and the Honda HR-V by a significant margin, yet the Venue packs a lot of space in its tall and wide proportions and makes for a versatile commuter and a convenient weekender.

Since the 2020 Venue is the only venue you’re allowed to fill right now, we loaded up its roomy confines with a mountain bike and some gear to escape confinement. It earned a high TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10 for its versatile interior and value-packed feature set, which proved true in our week with the 2020 Hyundai Venue SEL. 

Hit: Proportions

At 159.1 inches, the Venue is nearly half a foot shorter than the 2020 Hyundai Kona and nearly a foot shorter than the 2020 Honda HR-V, but the Venue comfortably fits four adults. It’s about the same width as those models and has nearly the same head room and leg room in front. Rear leg room is greater in the Honda, but my teenagers fit comfortably in the rear of the Venue and fitting 6-footers front and back isn’t a problem. The tall hatchback provides good outward vision, and its boxed-off end offers 18.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is plenty for a grocery trip or even the average coronavirus Costco haul. 

Miss: Odd entry

The front seats are mounted behind the B-pillar of the Venue, so taller drivers have to contort their butt into the seat then angle their torso and head to get past the door frame. Our 6-foot-6 friend Damon Bell, from Consumer Guide Automotive, noted that he had to be mindful to avoid knocking his noggin when getting in and out.

Hit: Clever packaging

Vehicles like the Venue are inherently limited by their size, but Hyundai maximized what can be done with those limitations. There are essentially two floors in the cargo space. Below the first floor is the emergency spare tire. When you fold the seats flat, you can move that floor panel up about four inches into grooved slots to create an even load floor. I stowed the front tire of my bike under that panel so the bike’s pedals or handlebars wouldn’t chew up the spokes. 

With the rear seats up and hauling a grocery load, the kid’s tuba, or anything else that protrudes above the window line, you don’t have to find someplace to stow the cargo cover. Pop it off the loops that connect it to the liftgate, then slide it down vertical grooves so it rests flush against the rear seats. So simple but so brilliantly clever. 

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL cargo cover

2020 Hyundai Venue SEL cargo cover

Miss: Handling

The Venue’s small proportions, tall ride height, and light curb weight of about 2,700 pounds means that it gets pushed around in the wind. If pushed by the driver on cloverleaf ramps or urban corners then it challenges the properties of physics like a shopping cart. Most shoppers in this class couldn’t care less; those who do might consider the Elantra GT or other proper hatchbacks that ride much lower to the ground. 

Hit: Well-equipped value 

In addition to the excellent 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, the Venue comes standard with advanced safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and active lane control, as well as convenience features that include an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There’s also keyless entry. 

Our tester was the SEL model, which is $1,900 more than the base SE, but that’s mostly for upgrading from a 6-speed manual transmission to a more efficient continuously variable automatic transmission with a manual option that simulates eight gears. 

2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

Miss: $1,150 Convenience Package

The tester had both the convenience and the premium package, which are standard on the top Denim trim. My bald head could do without the convenience package and its power sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, but I’d probably want the blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts. 

Hit: $1,750 Premium Package

Heated front seats and keyless start are not worth $1,750, of course, but the LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights may boost its safety rating once they are tested and could make the Venue safer to drive at night. The 17-inch alloy wheels that come with the Venue SEL look much better than the clownish 15-inch standard wheels, but they don’t make it handle any better. 

Overall, the 2020 Hyundai Venue is a good place to be and doesn’t sacrifice any utility despite a smaller footprint than the competition. 

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2020 Hyundai Venue SEL

Base price: $20,370 (including $1,120 destination)

Price as tested: $23,405

Drivetrain: 121-hp 1.6-liter inline-4 with a CVT in front-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 30/34/32 mpg

The hits: Spaciousness, packaging, overall value

The misses: Odd ingress, shopping cart handling, questionable convenience package.

2020
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2020
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