2020 Hyundai Venue: A city-sized utility vehicle

I often propose that used cars are a better value than buying new. But during a recent preview of the 2020 Hyundai Venue, the Hyundai execs made a really good point.

If you buy used, you don’t have access to the latest and greatest safety technology. That means no lane keep assist, and more importantly, no automatic emergency braking.

But if you’re cash-strapped — as many of us are — buying new doesn’t seem like a feasible option. 

Enter the all-new Venue. Not only is it a great city vehicle, but it also packed with safety and tech at a reasonable price.

The Hits

Hyundai doesn’t pull any punches with the Venue, and it packs a lot into a tiny package. 

The best thing Hyundai does is include up-level safety features as standard fare. So you’ll get things such as automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are available on the SEL trim and standard on the top-tier Denim.

Another hit: Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Along with that, comes a standard 8-inch touch screen display.

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Sneak peek at today’s #cardujour. @hyundaiusa Venue ##takeonthecity #hyundaivenue

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Overall, the styling inside and out is attractive and well done. I’m particularly fond of the Denim trim with the navy-and-white exterior paint scheme. I also love the navy interior with the denim-like seat inserts. It’s clever without being overdone.

Something else Hyundai does with the Venue is fill in the details. From the wheel covers to icons on the air vent tabs, the Venue looks finished.

A particular favorite, however, is the value proposition of the Venue. With a base price under $19K and an all-in price under $24K, you get a lot of stuff for not a lot of money. For example, the all-in pricing includes things such as heated front seats, snow mode, LED headlights, push-button start, passive entry and automatic climate control.

The Misses

There was really on one big miss in my book, and that is one missing safety feature.

The Nissan Kicks is the likeliest competitor for the Venue, and it includes automatic reverse braking as standard fare on the 2020 model. This is a new favorite feature of mine because your rear view isn’t always 100% clear, and if it looks like your’e getting ready to back into something, the car will automatically brake for you.

The Trims

There are only three trims available for Venue, and only the SEL has package options that include convenience and technology features. 

  • SE: $18,470
  • SEL: $20,370
  • Denim: $23,170

One interesting note: The SE trim has 6-speed manual transmission included in that base price. If you want to upgrade to Hyundai’s Intelligent Variable Transmission, you’ll add $1,200.

The Chicago Factor

Hyundai pointed out that 41 million people bought a used car in 2019. So that means 41 million people don’t have access to the latest and greatest safety technology. In a way, that’s why the 2020 Venue is positioned as it is with standard safety and a less-than-$20K price. 

That makes it affordable and safe. Add in the petite size, and that makes it easy to parallel park and maneuver in tight city spaces — while having the utility of fold flat second-row seats and a rear hatch.

Though the Venue does not have all-wheel drive available, it does have “snow mode” in upper trims, which is a fancy way of saying “advanced traction control.” This will help you get out of your snowy street spot and traverse unplowed alleys.

Overall, I think the 2020 Hyundai Venue will make a great Chicago vehicle with size, price and utility being the high points.


The Specs
Engine: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 121
Torque: 113 lb-ft
Fuel economy (combined): 30 mpg (manual); 32 mpg (automatic)
Drivetrain: FWD
Length: 159 inches
Width: 69.7 inches
Wheelbase: 99.2 inches
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity: 18.7 cu ft
Base price: $18,470

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