Hyundai’s entry-level model, a small crossover called the Venue, is the least-expensive crossover in Canada, with a starting price of $20,853.
The Venue sits on a 2,520 mm (99 in) wheelbase and is 4,040 mm (159 in) long, making it slightly smaller than competitors, including the Honda HR-V, Kia Soul, Nissan Kicks and the Toyota C-HR.
These days “entry-level” can mean plenty of safety and luxury items. The Venue has lots of standard equipment, including rear park assist, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, air conditioning, an eight-inch touch screen, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel and six airbags. Higher trim levels add such features as forward collision avoidance, lane departure warning, blind spot collision warning and rear cross-traffic collision warning. Top-line, fully-optioned Venues can push the price to over $30,000. All come with a five-year or 100,000-km warranty.
The Venue is available only in front-wheel drive, and the only engine is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder that produces 121 horsepower. The one I drove had an automatic transmission.
It doesn’t take long to become fond of the friendly little Venue.
The Venue is amazingly spacious for a subcompact crossover. It’s tall, so there’s plenty of headroom. All controls are well laid out and easy to find. Visibility is excellent. There’s lots of room in the back for storage, 900 litres with the rear seats folded.
The small size makes it easy to handle and park, so it’s a wonderful choice for congested cities. Hyundai’s target market for the Venue is urbanites, with Hyundai billing it an “urban adventurer” and a great way to “explore your city.” It’s clearly not aimed at buyers looking to go off-road and/or haul lots of people, equipment or trailers.
The Venue rides smoothly, and it’s easy to forget it is such a small vehicle. While not fast, acceleration is adequate, especially in city driving and for brief trips on expressways. A high-speed, cross-country trek might not be ideal as the small engine doesn’t allow for quick passing.
Fuel consumption on the Venue is rated by Natural Resources Canada at 7.9 litres per 100 km in the city and 7.0 l/100 km on the highway. With a 45-litre gas tank, it has a range of 603 km.
The Venue proves that Hyundai hasn’t abandoned its roots of providing low-cost, basic transportation.
When the South Korean automaker entered the Canadian marketplace in 1984, its first model was the Pony. With a price tag of $5,795 (equivalent to $14,621 in 2022), the Pony was extremely basic transportation. People who remember the original Pony may also remember some of the jokes about these cars.
While this first Hyundai model was known for not much other than a low price, over the years Hyundai has dramatically widened its product offerings and quality and, in so doing, has become one of the best-selling brands in Canada.
In 2021, Hyundai was behind only Ford, Toyota and Honda in sales – something no one would have imagined when the Pony was introduced in Canada.
In the first half of 2022, eight per cent of new vehicles sold in Canada were Hyundais, as it moved into third place, behind only Ford and Toyota. And while new car sales, in general, are down, Ford dropped five per cent, Toyota was down 13 per cent – but Hyundai sales declined just three per cent.
The Venue offers great value in a very practical package. The ease of handling, spacious interior and stack of standard features make the Venue very attractive for shoppers looking for a low purchase price.
Dale Johnson is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who has worked in TV, radio, print and online. While the manufacturer provided Dale with a vehicle to test drive, the content of this review was not reviewed or accepted by the manufacturer.
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