Hyundai’s smallest crossover yet goes against the Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks

The Hyundai Venue is a new crossover that the Korean company will unveil at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Set to become the brand’s entry-level SUV, it will slot below the Kona and compete against vehicles like the Kia Soul and the Nissan Kicks.

Hyundai launched a couple of teasers and sketches before the unveiling, but they aren’t very revealing. However, the Korean describes the crossover as "a great fit in accommodating busy lifestyles with an abundance of playful and practical features including seamless safety, versatility, and connectivity. Fortunately, the mini SUV was spotted testing in the wild, and the paparazzi managed to take a peek under the covers. The Venue will debut on April 17, so stay tuned for a full review of the crossover. Until then, let’s have a look at what we already know about it.

2020 Hyudani Venue Exterior

  • Familiar features
  • Chromed grille
  • Split headlamps
  • Boxy rear end
  • Subcompact size
2020 Hyudani Venue
- image 834363

The rear end is heavily based on the Carlino concept

While Hyundai’s sketches are way too... well, sketchy, the spy shots provide us with a good look at the Venue’s design. Up front, we can see a bunch of familiar styling cues shared with other Hyundai SUVs. The Venue boasts a split-headlamps design that reminds me of the Kona and the larger Palisade, with big lights at the corners of the bumper and slimmer lights flaking the upper section of the grille.

The grille is also similar to other Hyundai models. It has the same hexagonal shape, but it has thicker chrome slats compared to the Kona, which is a pretty big deal. It has about as much bling as the grille on the Palisade, sans the frame. There are no photos of the profile, but the rear end is heavily based on the Carlino concept. It has small taillights, a boxy tailgate, and a simple rear bumper. Based on the this, the Venue’s profile should be boxy too, a feature that sets it apart from the coupe-like Kona. In all, the Venue seems to be an ideal competitor for the Kia Soul in terms of size, design, and shape.

2020 Hyundai Venue vs. Hyundai Kona exterior dimensions
Venue Kona Difference
Overall Length 158.9 164.0 (5.1)
Overall Width 69.7 70.9 (1.2)
Overall Height 61.6 61.0 0.6
Wheelbase 99.2 102.4 (3.2)

2020 Hyudani Venue Interior

  • Simple and clean
  • Similar to Kona
  • Not so fancy
  • Small infotainment screen
  • Modern tech
2020 Hyudani Venue
- image 834365
It looks clean and simple, just an affordable vehicle should

Having already seen the cabin of the Venue in the spy shots, I can confirm that Hyundai’s sketch is pretty accurate. The interior looks very familiar, with many elements taken from the Kona. The lower center stack layout, the A/C vents, and the steering wheel are all identical to the Kona, while the upper section of the dashboard looks unique to this vehicle. Hyundai slapped the small infotainment display on the A/C vents, a design I’m not particularly fond of.

2020 Hyudani Venue
- image 834364

Overall, it looks clean and simple; just as an affordable vehicle should. Fortunately, it doesn’t look cheap either. Sure, the plastic surfaces aren’t the best, but I’ve seen worse in notably more expensive vehicles. Don’t expect too many fancy features on the base model, but the more expensive trims should have most of the modern features available in the Kona.

2020 Hyundai Venue vs. Hyundai Kona interior dimensions
Venue Kona Difference
Total Interior Volume 110.6 113.3 (2.7)
Passenger Interior Volume 91.9 94.1 (2.2)
Cargo Capacity, Rear Seats Up 18.7 19.2 (0.5)
Cargo Capacity, Rear Seats Down 31.9 45.8 (13.9)

2020 Hyudani Venue Drivetrain

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Turbo 1.6-liter
  • Up to 175 horsepower
  • Up to 195 pound-feet
  • Six-speed automatic
  • Seven-speed DCT
  • Optional AWD
2018 Hyundai Kona Drivetrain
- image 748862
The turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder generates 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of twist

The Venue rides on the same underpinnings as the Kona, so it’s safe to assume that it will have the same engines, including the naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger. These engines are also shared with the Kia Soul.

The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder cranks out 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque in the Kona and output should remain unchanged for the Venue. In the U.S., this engine will mate to a six-speed automatic transmission. Moving over to the turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-pot, it generates 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of twist. This engine will also mate to a six-speed automatic, but you will probably have access to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission too. All-wheel drive will be optional for both trims.

In other parts of the world, the Venue will also be sold with a turbocharged, 1.0-liter gasoline engine rated at 118 horsepower and 127 pound-feet and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel with 134 horses and 221 pound-feet of torque.

Engine 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 175 HP 147 HP
Torque 195 LB-FT @ 1,500 RPM 132 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM
Transmission six-speed automatic six-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 7.5 seconds 10 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 130 mph
2020 Hyundai Venue drivetrain specifications
Type Gamma II 1.6 MPI
Materials Aluminum block and head
Bore & stroke (mm) 75.6 x 89.0
Compression ratio 11.2 :1
Displacement 1.6 liters / 1598cc
Horsepower 121 HP @ 6,300 RPM (est.)
Torque (lb-ft.) 113 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM (est.)
Transmission 6-speed manual

2020 Hyudani Venue Pricing

If You Thought the Hyundai Kona Was Small, The Venue Crossover will Change Your Mind
- image 832609

Although it won’t be necessarily smaller than the Kona, the Venue will slot below in terms of pricing. Hyundai’s goal with this nameplate is to offer an even more affordable crossover, likely priced well below the Kona’s $19,240 sticker. Hyundai is aiming at the Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks, which replaced the Juke in 2019, so the Venue should fetch less than $18,000 in base trim. My bet is on a $17,500 sticker.

2020 Hyudani Venue Competition

Nissan Kicks

2017 Nissan Kicks High Resolution Exterior
- image 674587

Introduced for the 2017 model year, the Kicks completely replaced the Juke for 2019. Essentially a smaller Qashqai (or Rogue Sport in the U.S.) but with some unique features, the Kicks moves away from the Juke’s strange but bold design language. The Kicks is Nissan’s most affordable SUV, but it’s far from cheap inside the cabin. Even the entry-level model comes with decent materials, while options include leather and modern technology. The only engine available is the familiar 1.6-liter four-cylinder, shared with the Versa, rated at 125 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Yes, the Kicks falls behind the competition in the performance department, but it offers good fuel economy in return. The four-cylinder is rated at 36 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in the city. Pricing starts from $18,540, which is a bit more expensive than what the Venue is expected to fetch.

Read our full review of the 2019 Nissan Kicks.

Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul
- image 807322

The second-generation Soul, introduced for the 2020 model year, retains the boxy design of its predecessor, but it adopted Kia’s latest design language. Modern and fresh, the new Soul boasts slim headlamps and a massive trapezoidal grille up front and an SUV-style rear end. The interior is actually similar to the outgoing Soul, but there’s a lot of new tech to talk about, including an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen, an eight-inch head-up display, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Engine options are similar to the Venue. But while the 2.0-liter four-cylinder cranks out the same 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, the turbo 1.6-liter unit is a bit more powerful at 201 horses and 195 pound-feet. Pricing for the Soul starts from $17,490.

Read our full story on the 2020 Kia Soul.

Final Thoughts

2020 Hyudani Venue
- image 834363

The Venue is an interesting venture from Hyundai, a company that’s already doing pretty good in the compact and subcompact segments. But the Kona wasn’t enough apparently, and the Korean brand is going even lower in this segment. It may have something to do that it didn’t have an alternative to sister company’s Soul, but the Venue might be a good shot at the sizable market the Kicks competes in.

  • Leave it
    • Solid competition
    • Kia Soul has more power

Further reading

2018 Hyundai Kona
- image 748938

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Exterior
- image 771127

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona Electric.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Exterior
- image 775648

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Tucson.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Exterior
- image 807370

Read our full review on the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

Venue is Hyundai’s all-new entry SUV and marks the seventh in Hyundai’s lineup
Modern styling and bold design provide unique character and ignite a fresh alternative in the entry SUV category
Hyundai’s most affordable SUV delivers agility, safety, utility and advanced technologies
NEW YORK, April 17, 2019 – Today at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, Hyundai introduced its all-new 2020 Venue, the latest SUV to join its growing product lineup. Venue is packed with a host of premium driver safety and convenience technologies and is the perfect fit for those seeking a seamless combination of style and versatility. Venue will be the most affordable Hyundai SUV, and joins its larger siblings including the North American Utility of the Year Kona and Kona Electric, Tucson, Santa Fe, the 8-passenger Palisade and NEXO. Venue will be built in Ulsan, Korea and will arrive in Hyundai dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year.

“The all-new Venue might be small in size, but it’s big on practicality and personality,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Its bold and unique character sets it apart from other SUVs on the market, offering a unique, entry-level vehicle for those consumers seeking savvy design with an abundance of standard safety, technology and connectivity features.”

Venue Highlights

Bold, modern design elements with optional two-tone extroverted color options for roof, mirrors and trim
Smartstream Gamma 1.6-liter engine with 6-speed manual or Smartstream IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission)
Venue empowers the urban entrepreneur lifestyle many consumers experience in today’s fast-paced environment
8-inch color screen audio system with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™
Premium Technology Availability
8-inch Navigation System
Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System & Next-generation Blue Link® Connected Car System
Dual Charging USB (USB fast charging and USB 2.0 data reading)
Rear View Monitor
Heated Front Seats and Side Mirrors
Drive modes includes snow mode for FWD driving performance
Advanced Safety Technologies
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW)
Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning (RCCW)

Venue: The SUV Style Maven
Venue conveys a fun, yet functional design in a versatile and modern compact package. For those constantly on-the-go, Venue offers adaptability to the urban entrepreneur lifestyle many consumers experience in today’s fast-paced environment. From everyday workplace activities to weekend fun, Venue is a great fit in accommodating busy lifestyles with an abundance of playful and practical features including seamless safety, versatility and connectivity.

The design of the new Venue exhibits small but confident body forms, delivering a new interpretation of Hyundai’s signature design language. The vehicle side profile showcases a solid and full volume wheel arch and strong character line, while the front cascading grille includes the new Hyundai signature face that’s found on both Kona and NEXO, including composite LED lights and cube shape headlamps. This unique character line continues through the tail lamps. Venue is available with striking 17-inch alloy wheels along with the 15-inch standard wheels.

“The Hyundai SUV lineup can be compared with the pieces on a chess board,” said SangYup Lee, executive vice president of design, Hyundai Motor Group. “Our new Palisade is the King, but we are missing the smaller piece. And that’s where Venue comes in. It may be small, but its unique and bold design sets it apart from the rest of the pack,” he explained. “We can see the Hyundai look in Venue but there is a unique quality that will appeal to individual customer’s tastes and preferences in a way that sets it apart from the other SUVs in our lineup.”

Advanced Safety Technologies
Venue offers a suite of advanced safety technologies evoking a strong sense of protection in an entry level vehicle.

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) uses the car’s front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings automatically steering the car if necessary.
Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) helps detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during highway
Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to help detect driver fatigue or careless
Rear Collision Cross-Traffic Warning (RCCW) helps detect when a vehicle may have entered a car’s rearward path providing a driver
Drive Modes includes a snow mode for improved FWD road
Each of these advanced systems provides a relaxing experience during urban driving adventures.

Advanced Connectivity and Multimedia Systems
Venue introduces advanced technologies that enhance driver confidence and convenience ahead of the competition. Venue’s advanced infotainment system features an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen system and rearview monitor. The 8-inch display includes both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for intuitive operation of the most commonly used smartphone functions, including app-based navigation, streaming audio and voice-controlled search capabilities. For those that opt for navigation, free Real-Time Traffic is provided by HERE and free map updates are included via Hyundai MapCare for 3 years.

For the ultimate level of convenience when it comes to remote-starting a car on a bitterly cold winter morning, Hyundai has its Blue Link® integrations with Amazon Alexa™ and Google Assistant™. These integrations work by a customer simply asking an Alexa or Google Assistant–enabled device, like an Amazon Echo™ or Google Home™, to start their car. Voice commands will be sent to Hyundai vehicles only after Alexa or Google Home prompts owners for their Blue Link Personal Identification Number (PIN). Additionally, Hyundai has enhanced the Remote Start with Climate Control feature to include control of the rear defroster and heated side mirrors (if equipped) into the Blue Link mobile app and the all-new MyHyundai.com.

Efficient Powertrain
Fuel economy is an important consideration for customers who purchase an entry-level vehicle. Venue won’t disappoint thanks to Hyundai’s Smartstream Gamma 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The Dual Port Fuel Injection (DPFI) engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) automatic. Based on internal estimates, Venue is estimated to deliver up to 33 miles per gallon (City/Highway combined).

Numerous design changes were made to the Smartstream Gamma 1.6 engine to realize fuel economy improvements while maintaining power and torque. To improve fuel economy, Venue incorporates a number of design changes including:

High Tumble Combustion System by optimizing the port and valve shapes
Maximized Thermal Efficiency by reducing the surface-to-volume ratio
Cooling System Optimization incorporating a cross-flow configuration and narrow water jacket core to speed up cabin warming
Dual Port Fuel Injection with improved injectors and optimized spray targeting with a sophisticated injection strategy
Integrated Thermal Management System (ITMS) featuring a 2-way rotary control valve, distributing engine coolant to the radiator, transmission warmer and heater core module along with a 6-phase control strategy to prioritize coolant and heat flow for passenger comfort in cold weather and temperature management in hot weather
High Ignition Energy EGR system with an external EGR cooler to expand the EGR-operated region for improved fuel economy

Hyundai’s first and internally developed proprietary IVT offers a shift control strategy which enhances shift response through a continuous range of effective gear ratios. The ability to match a gear ratio with engine operating conditions provides a number of benefits including smooth transition of engine operating speeds and improved fuel efficiency.

SUV Utility
The SUV’s appealing interior space and comfortable cabin provide adequate space for the versatile urban commuter. Venue comes standard with a 60/40 split flat folding backseat to maximize utility for those trips to the farmer’s market or transporting musical instruments. With Venue’s SUV styling cues and utility, it is the ideal alternative to a subcompact car. For reference, the following highlights the size difference between its larger sibling, Kona.

Dimensions (in.)

Venue

Kona

Difference

Overall Length

158.9

164.0

(5.1)

Overall Width

69.7

70.9

(1.2)

Overall Height

61.6

61.0

0.6

Wheelbase

99.2

102.4

(3.2)

Interior (cu.-ft.)

Total Interior Volume

110.6

113.3

(2.7)

Passenger Interior

Volume

91.9

94.1

(2.2)

Cargo Capacity, Rear

Seats Up

18.7

19.2

(0.5)

Cargo Capacity, Rear

Seats Down

31.9

45.8

(13.9)

Venue offers comfort and convenience features. The cargo space features a rear covering shelf for added privacy and can be conveniently stowed along the rear seatback when not being used. While, the dual level cargo floor feature provides flexibility to have the floor of the cargo area in either the top position - level with the seats when folded down, or at a lower position to accommodate taller cargo. Consumers will appreciate available convenience features such as Dual USBs, 3.5” TFT instrument cluster display to illustrate useful information, rearview camera and Bluetooth® hands-free phone. The leather-wrapped steering wheel provides daily comfort for the driver.

Fun, Youthful Colors
To complement the dramatic design, Venue is available with fun, youthful colors. A total of eight exterior colors are available, including Ceramic White, Black Noir, Steller Silver, Galactic Gray, Scarlet Red, Intense Blue, Green Apple and Denim. Denim can be coupled with denim cloth and leatherette interior with a white contrasting roof. Venue offers a choice of gray or black cloth interiors. An all-new two-tone roof, power sunroof and privacy glass contribute further to the head-turning style options.

Venue Naming
Hyundai’s naming theme for SUVs has typically been a city or place. The new entry SUV name references a ‘place’ people want to be seen in. The vehicle embodies the characteristics of ‘the place to be,’ while reaching the final desired destination, wherever that may be. The Venue symbolizes a trendy, unique style, perfect for Hyundai’s newest and smallest SUV. For first time vehicle owners, Venue offers relaxation and protection with its standard safety features at an affordable price.

Peace of Mind with America’s Best Warranty
All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully-transferable new vehicle limited warranty; Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

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