What it is: The Venue is an all-new model for the 2020 model year that slots in underneath the Kona as Hyundai’s smallest crossover. And it actually slots well below the Kona with a starting MSRP of a tiny $17,350 compared to the Kona’s $20,400. What Hyundai is able to deliver for that price is nothing short of amazing. The Venue comes in three trims: SE, SEL ($19,250), and Denim ($22,050). Yes, like the jeans. I actually like the Denim quite a bit although it only comes in a two-tone exterior (Denim Blue with a white roof) and denim-esque interior fabric. It sounds crazy, but it surprisingly works very well.

The SE is shockingly well-equipped for such a low price point, with lane-keep assist, an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, forward collision-avoidance, and great gas mileage. The only option available on the SE is to move from a manual transmission to a CVT for $1,200.

For most buyers, it makes sense to move up to the SEL for only $1,900 extra (which includes the CVT). You also get dual USB charging ports, a six-speaker stereo system (versus four in the SE), automatic temperature control, and auto-up driver’s window switch. Not bad for $700 if you were already going to buy the CVT. There are option packages available with the SEL, though. $1,150 gets you the convenience package, which provides a power sunroof, sliding armrest, leather-wrapped steering wheel and blind-spot cCollision warning with rear cross-traffic collision warning. An extra $1,750 on top of that gets you the premium package which adds heated seats, LED headlights, DRLs and taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, proximity key with push-button start, navigation, heated mirrors, and Hyundai’s Blue Link-connected car system. With all the options, you’re talking $22,150, which is a firecracker of a deal.

The Venue isn’t a luxurious cruiser nor speed demon, but it certainly gets the job done if you just want a cheap and reliable way to get you and three other passengers around plus a little bit of cargo (18.7 cubic feet with rear seats up). Combined with Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, you are looking at a reliable ride for years to come. 

The inside definitely feels like you’d expect a $20,000 crossover to look and feel like. Harder/cheaper plastics, but even springing for the SEL with convenience package helps with the leather-wrapped steering wheel. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the cloth in the seats, either. However, I didn’t think that the ride was too rough or too loud and the stereo system sounded very good.   

MPG: 32 combined/30 city/34 highway

Price: $22,150 as-tested.

Upsides: Cheap and efficient transportation.

Downsides: Interior materials lacking.  

Wrap-up: Overall, this is a fantastic car for a younger buyer or driver that is looking to buy new and get the warranty. These haven’t been flying off the lots for Hyundai, so you can expect $1,000-$2,000 off the price as well. Hyundai now sells five different SUVs, so if you decide the Venue is a little too compact, then there are larger choices for just a few thousand more.

Wilson Calvert
Author: Wilson CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist / Director of Operations
I am a long-time Houstonian and am obsessed with cars, soccer, traveling, bourbon and airplanes. I write a regular car review column for The Tribune and travel articles a few times per year.

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