Competes with: Hyundai Kona, Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR
Looks like: A tiny, angry Kona
Powertrain: 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: End of 2019
Hyundai continues to expand its SUV portfolio — in both directions. On the large side is the new three-row Palisade, and on the other end is the teeny new-for-2020 Venue, which makes its debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. The all-new model brings Hyundai’s SUV count to seven.
Can subcompact SUVs get any smaller? Well, Hyundai thinks yes. The new Venue will slot below the subcompact Kona in size. Hyundai says the Venue will be its smallest, most affordable SUV.
Based on preliminary sketches, the Venue shares some of the Kona’s design elements in front, from its aggressive cascading grille to its cubelike headlamps. It’s approximately 5 inches shorter and 1 inch narrower than the Kona, however.
To differentiate it as the fun sibling, Hyundai is offering the Venue in eight colors: Ceramic White, Black Noir, Steller Silver, Galactic Gray, Scarlet Red, Intense Blue, Green Apple and Denim. Denim can be coupled with denim cloth and a leatherette interior with a white contrasting roof.
Inside, the Venue will be available in gray or black cloth appointments and come standard with an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability; navigation is optional.
In terms of cargo, the Venue offers nearly identical space as the Kona when the rear seats are up (18.7 cubic feet for the Venue versus 19.2 for the Kona), as well as a 60/40-split, folding backseat for more space. However, the Venue offers far less cargo space with the rear seats down (31.9 cubic feet to the Kona’s 45.8). Passenger volume is also comparable, favoring the Kona by just 2.2 cubic feet, according to Hyundai’s measurements.
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Under the Hood
Hyundai didn’t release horsepower or torque specs for the Venue’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, but in the automaker’s smallest car, the Accent, the engine makes 130 hp. In the Venue, the engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic that Hyundai is calling an Intelligent Variable Transmission, which the automaker says offers a more traditional-feeling shift response than a typical CVT.
Hyundai says fuel economy is an emphasis with this vehicle and expects the Venue to deliver up to 33 mpg in combined city/highway driving. With the automatic transmission, the Accent is EPA rated at 32 mpg in combined driving.
Also missing from the spec sheet is the availability of all-wheel drive, which is not surprising given competitors like the Toyota C-HR and Nissan Kicks don’t offer it, either. Hyundai did say the Venue will include a Drive Mode system with a snow mode for improved traction.
The 2020 Venue will offer a slew of active safety features, though no word yet on which ones will be standard. The list includes forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a driver attention warning.
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