Hyundai gives adventurous urbanites a new entry-level SUV with the Venue
Brace yourself, you're going to be seeing a ton of these on the road. Hyundai's new Venue is a small, practical and very affordable city SUV with a surprising amount of tech on board, and it's just had its global launch at the New York International Auto Show. Slotting in beneath the Kona in both size and price, the Venue becomes the sixth and bottom-shelf SUV in Hyundai's lineup, which also includes the Tuscon, Santa Fe, Palisade and Nexo, as well as a couple of electric variants.
The heart of the Venue is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine so focused on efficiency that Hyundai's not even bothering giving out power or torque specs – and frankly, that's fine for this kind of entry-level car, just put a couple of days aside if you want to see how fast it gets up to freeway speeds.
Fuel efficiency is given as "up to 33 mpg" (7.1 l/100 km) in city/highway combined use, which is about on par with some fast motorcycles, although a ways off from hybrid-level thriftiness. It'll be available with either a manual 6-speed or "Intelligent Variable Transmission" auto, and appears to be front-wheel drive only, with "snow mode" to assist when traction gets sketchy.
For a budget box, it ships with a pretty decent list of gadgetry; the 8-inch touch screen, for example, comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and if you set it up with Hyundai's Blue Link app and a PIN, you can tell Alexa or Google Home to start the car remotely, and set climate control and demisters running before you walk out the door.
The navigation system has free real-time traffic information, as well as a rear view camera, with heated seats and side mirrors also available. And there's a fair bit of driver assist gear too, including camera-based forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot collision warnings, driver attention warnings and rear cross-traffic warnings to help you back out of driveways. We wonder how long it'll be before adaptive cruise and self-parking gear starts showing up in entry-level cars.
There's no official word on price, but with the Kona starting around US$19,000 it's fair to expect the Venue will undercut this by a decent margin and be a super-affordable little urban getabout. It'll hit markets globally in 2020. Plenty more photos in the gallery.