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2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive

The Hyundai Venue is the definition of economical affordability with good looks and a smaller footprint

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The Hyundai Venue isn’t only one of the brand’s newest cars, but it’s also the smallest SUV or crossover the brand currently sells. As a subcompact model, it competes with models like the Mazda CX-30 and Honda HR-V, but there’s a catch, because the Venue is significantly smaller, sitting on the lower border of the subcompact segment. With that in mind, we have been itching to find out if a smaller, more affordable Hyundai can actually hold its own against the larger, more expensive competition. It does have its faults, but you’ll be surprised as to what those faults really are.

Hyundai Venue Powertrain, Performance, and Capability

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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Exterior Design
The Venue is very attractive with Hyundai’s latest grille design and a very down-to-earth style

The Hyundai Venue is, quite literally, the definition of an entry-level crossover, so it’s not only small, but its power output isn’t exactly something to write home about. In fact, its power figures are so low that you’d think it’s powered by a three-cylinder, but it really totes a four-banger around. Care to learn more? Keep reading!

How Much Power Does the Hyundai Venue Have?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Drivetrain
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6-liter four-cylinder engine
121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque pull you down the road through a CVT transmission and FWD

All three trims of the Hyundai Venue are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque.

This is actually one of its faults, however, because the competition – the Mazda CX-30 and the Honda HR-V – come with more power and even better performance. The CX-30, for example, offers up 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder while the Honda HR-V is good for 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. Of course, the Venue is considerably cheaper, but we’ll dive into that a little later.

Does the Hyundai Venue Come With AWD?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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Meet the 2021 Hyundai Venue
The Venue is Hyundai’s smallest crossover, and it’s priced to move into budget friendly garages everywhere

While it might seem odd for a crossover on today’s market to not be offered with AWD, that’s the case with the Hyundai Venue. In fact, it can only be had with front-wheel drive while both the Mazda CX-30 and Honda HR-V can both be optioned with AWD.

Hyundai Venue Fuel Economy

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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The Hyundai Venue’s biggest claim to fame (arguably) is its fuel economy rating of 30 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined. That puts it well above the Mazda CX-30 at 25, 33, and 28, respectively. The Honda HR-V also falls short, but only in the city and combined, with 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined.

City  Highway Combined
Hyundia Venue 30 33 31
Mazda CX-30 25 33 28
Honda HR-V 28 34 30

Can the Hyundai Venue Tow A Trailer?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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Despite the low horsepower and torque output, the Hyundai Venue is actually capable of towing up to 1,760 pounds when properly equipped. The Mazda CX-30 can tow a bit more, with a rating of 2,000 pounds, but the Honda HR-V really loses out as it’s not recommended for towing at all.

How Much Does the Hyundai Venue Weigh?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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The impressive fuel economy of the Hyundai Venue comes courtesy of, at least in part, its low curb weight of 2,612 – 2,738 pounds, which is significantly less than the 3,234-pound Mazda CX-30 and the 2,906-pound Honda Hr-V.

Hyundai Venue Exterior Design

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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You can tow up to 1,760 pounds when properly equipped, which is a bit shy of the Mazda CX-30 at 2,000 pounds

The Hyundai venue is a very attractive vehicle, but it really has some strange Fiat vibes to it, but maybe that’s just me. The frameless grille design of our tester was one of the best parts about the front end, and the super-thin headlights feel a bit futuristic. The off-color of the front fascia does give it a slight “cheap” appearance, but overall it’s nothing bad. The side profile is actually really cool because the main body line is actually concave as opposed to being a sharp crease like you see on 90-percent of the vehicles on the road. Overall, the front and side profile, outside of the weird plastic inserts, really look and feel premium. The rear end, however, is a completely different story as it also has a bit of a Fiat vibe to it. It almost feels like a stretched hatchback (I know, technically it is) while Hyundai could have easily been a little more creative here. The taillights feel uneventful and dated, and the excess plastic on the rear fascia gives off that cheap appearance too. Overall, the Venue is a very attractive vehicle, however, there’s still some room for improvement.

How Big Is the Hyundai Venue?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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Pricing starts and a very affordable $18,750 and maxes out at $22,050 – the starting price of the Mazda CX-30 and a little more than the Honda HR-V

The Hyundai Venue sits very low in the subcompact crossover food chain, measuring 159.1-inches long, 69.7-inches wide, and 64.6-inches tall. It also rides on a 99.2-inch wheelbase. These numbers are significant because this also makes the Venue much smaller than the CX-30 and the Honda HR-V – in fact, it’s more than a foot shorter than the CX-30 and almost a foot shorter than the HR-V.

Hyundai Venue vs competition - exterior dimensions
Hyundai Venue Maxda CX-30 Honda HR-V
Length 159.1 173 170.4
Width 69.7 70.7 69.8
Height 61.6 61.7 63.2
Wheelbase 99.2 104.4 102.8
Front Track 61.2 61.6 60.4
Rear Track 61.6 61.6 60.6

Hyundai Venue Interior Design

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Interior
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Interior Design
The interior makes it very clear that this is an affordable, entry-level model

While some of Hyundai’s larger vehicles feel plush and above their segment, it’s beyond clear that Hyundai started from scratch with the idea to make the Venue as affordable as possible. Because of this, you’ll notice there are very few soft-touch surfaces, even on higher trim levels. Everything else is as basic as basic can be – like the dated thumb controls on the steering wheel or the panel of buttons to the left of the steering wheel – all things that would feel fresh on models from the early 2000s. Even the HVAC controls feel like they were borrowed from somewhere else, however, we can’t exactly recall from where. Even the cut design of the dash – the way it buts up to the concave section in the door panels show that Hyundai was concerned less with design and more with functionality. The infotainment display sits between the central HVAC vents, and the way it is mounted makes it feel like it was added as an afterthought. Overall, the cabin of the Venue is functional, but if you’re into higher-quality materials and better fit and finish, then the Venue might not be for you – unless your budget limits you, of course.

How Big Is The Interior of the Hyundai Venue

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Interior
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Hyundai had to make sure that the Venue was smaller (and cheaper) than the Kona, which means some concessions had to be made if there was going to be anything close to a comfortable cabin. Hyundai did manage to pull it off, though, and despite the fact that the Venue is smaller than the CX-30 and HR-V, it’s interior dimensions are pretty close. Check out the table below to see how they stack up

Hyundai Venue vs competition - interior dimensions
Hyundai Venue Maxda CX-30 Honda HR-V
Front Headroom 39.4 38.1 39.5
Front Shoulder Room 53.9 55.6 56.8
Front Hip Room 52.1 54.6 53.1
Front Leg Room 41.3 36.3 41.2
Rear Headroom 38.6 38.3 38.3
Rear Shoulder Room 53.7 53.6 54.5
Rear Hip Room 43.5 53.2 47.4
Rear Leg Room 34.3 36.3 39.3

How Much Cargo Does the Hyundai Venue Carry?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Interior
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For a model that’s a foot shorter, however, the amount of cargo room is commendable

Remember how I said some concessions to the interior had to be made, well those concessions were made to cargo room, where you’ll get just 18.7 cubic-feet or a maximum of 31.9 cubic-feet if you lay the rear seats down. It’s not bad for a subcompact crossover this size, but if you’re someone who carries a lot, the competition might be a better choice. The Mazda CX-30, for example, can carry around 20.2 cubic-feet in base configuration or 45 cubic-feet if you lay the rear seats down. Meanwhile, the Honda HR-V wears the crown here with 24.3 – 57.6 cubic-feet of cargo room, the latter figure actually approaching small midsize territory.

How is the Hyundai Venue’s Infotainment System?

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Interior
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The infotainment display looks like it was added as an after thought

The Hyundai Venue’s infotainment system might look like it was added as an afterthought, but it’s actually peppy and easy to use. The eight-inch display comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the built-in navigation will feel very familiar if you’re used to either Google Maps or Apple Maps. The menus are easy to recall and understand, and while the system is rather simple, it’s functional and fits in well with the nature of the venue.

Hyundai Venue Pricing

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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It’s a great daily driver and small family hauler, and pretty comfortable too

Pricing is where the Hyundai Venue really shines and it makes its smaller footprint make a little more sense. Pricing for the Venue starts at just $18,750 and goes up to a maximum of $22,050, which is – ironically – the starting price of the Mazda CX-30 and just a little over the starting price of the Honda HR-V. In other words, you can get the best trim of the Venue for the entry price of the CX-30.

Hyundai Venue vs competition - prices
Starting MSRP Max MSRP
Hyundai Venue $18,750 $22,050
Mazda CX-30 $22,050 $28,700
Honda HR-V $21,220 $27,520

Final Thoughts

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Exterior
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Impressive fuel economy
The Venue achieves 30 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined – more than most vehicles in this segment

At the end of our week with the Hyundai Venue, we walked away fairly impressed. Not by the technology, not by the design, and not by the performance, but by the car as a whole and how little it actually takes to own one. Granted, you won’t find a lot of the niceties that you find in other models, but it’s clear from the onset that the Venue is designed, at its core, for people on a budget and at that it excels very, very well.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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