Engine / Transmission: 1.6 litre – 6 Speed automatic
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 7.2L/100km combined
Price: From $29,240 drive away
The Venue is Hyundai’s take on the whole ‘micro-SUV’ approach to motoring. It’s a good thing, in an old skool kinda way. For example, Hyundai celebrates the fact that the Venue sports analog style gauges and knobs. Imagine! They work bloody well and certainly work better than ‘budget’ touch screens.
Likewise, the designers have chosen capacity over technology with the Venue’s 1.6 four cylinder one of the larger engines in this sector. This engine pumps out an entirely adequate amount of power (90kw), but it delivers its maximum torque way, way up at 4850rpm. In the real world, this results in the Venue feeling like it is lacking muscle.
In comparison, Volkswagen’s much smaller 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder engine produces a good chunk more torque, way down at 2000rpm. It’s not that the Venue’s engine is a bad one, it’s just the nature of this type of engine. Modern high tech turbo charged engines, like that fitted to the T Cross, are wonderful, but this level of technology costs.
This is where the Venue really steals back some ground. While the top spec ‘Elite’ is almost identically priced to the equally well equipped T Cross, the real value is in the base model ‘Go’, which significantly undercuts the T Cross and actually represents a cracking little car for the money.
Hyundai really has cracked the secret to the perfect little car. Every version of the Venue has Apple CarPlay, negating the need for the upper spec’s sat nav. Furthermore, every version is fitted with Hyundai’s ‘SmartSense’: autonomous braking, forward collision warning, blind spot detection and lane change alert and a really handy little feature that bings when the traffic has moved off and you’ve still got your head up your arse.
My only reservation with SmartSense is an overactive and somewhat intrusive lane keep assist, but it’s easily disabled by pressing one of those big ‘analog’ buttons. A blessing is the lack of a stop-start system – perhaps another indication of the more traditional nature of the Hyundai’s drivetrain.
There are some really clever features to this little Hyundai. Initially, I thought that the Venue might be a good ‘first new car’, but this is selling the car short. The Venue would be a brilliant car for a small family or even retirees.
The seat trim, for example, is a blend of cloth and hard wearing vinyl. The door trims are entirely hard plastic, but the careful blend of not only colours but also textures reminds me of a Peugeot or Citroen interior. It’s a great way to provide a hard wearing finish that stills looks great.
Not So Impressive:
The biggest threat to the Venue is from more sophisticated rivals, such as the T Cross. In isolation, the more conventional drivetrain of the Venue is absolutely adequate. However, if you take the time to perform a close comparison with, say, the T Cross, you will see that things really have moved on. The performance offered by modern high tech turbocharged engines is a thing of wonder.
Ultimately, the sweet spot in the Venue range is the base model ‘Go’ – fantastic active safety, CarPlay and clever, hard wearing trim and an on-trend style all for less than $23k on road.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Make sure you drive the entire range because the base model ‘Go’ might be all you need.