Hyundai’s Venue is surprisingly practical
The starter SUV is refined, hip and bearable to live with, says Phuti Mpyane
The trending SUV craze has truly reached preposterous levels of confusion for buyers. First there was the 4,280mm long Hyundai Creta, then the firm ventured into the smaller SUV sector with its 4,165mm long Kona, and now it's launched the 3,995mm long Venue.
Clearly, Hyundai is reaching deep in creating niches and wants to stack its dealer floors high with SUVs. With this context, the newest member in the company’s expanding crossover not only has rivals in rival dealers but right inside the Hyundai harem.
By stretching the wheelbase to 2,500mm and pushing the wheels to the furthest most points of the corners, it has created interior space in every direction and, as a result, the Venue’s living space is only 100mm less than in the larger Kona and 90mm shorter than in the even larger and higher ranked Creta.
Crucially, the wheelbase is only 51mm shorter than in the car Hyundai is really targeting, which is the VW T-Cross. The market-leading Ford EcoSport is also a rival, while the Venue’s on-road footprint also brings the much cheaper Suzuki Ignis and Renault Sandero Stepway into contention.
The ergonomics of the Venue are spot on, too; the snug confines featuring comfy leather and cloth combination seats and a nicely elevated perch with a range of manual adjustments.
There’s nothing radical in terms of storage for oddments but the glove box and door pockets do hold plenty. Ultimately, it doesn’t need to be the champion of practicality because the odd mishmash of its boxy shape with smoothed-out corners and body paint that contrasts with the roof makes it more a hipster’s delight. Its compact dimensions and jolly face fit perfectly within the urban gaps these individuals mostly play in.
As has become custom with the Hyundai purchase process, the Venue is relatively well-equipped, with the top-line Glide spec getting cruise control, a rear camera to aid with parking, keyless access and start, and a decent infotainment system on a colourful touchscreen, plus more.
Hyundai previously promoted naturally-aspirated engines but recently the strategy has given way to downsizing and turbocharging.
Though there’s a fleeting moment of lag, the eagerness that follows when you throttle up its 88kW and 172Nm 1.0l turbo engine, especially when mated to the smooth shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, is both delightful and efficient for speeding to 100km/h from standstill in 11.5 seconds and on to a decent 187km/h.
Its maker reckons it’ll consume 6.9l/100km on average and this is not ambitious as our test car used 7.4l/100km during its stay. There is also the option of having a cheaper six-speed manual if you want even less consumption and savings but it’s not entirely conducive to effortless zipping through busy cities.
The driving characteristics aren’t clumsy even when you point its cascading grille to the outskirts where the roads are more open and twisty. It’s not a driver’s dream, but there’s more than enough of a secure feel in its suspension setup and grip levels to carry momentum into bends.
Initially the fit and finish of the dashboard gave me doubts but there were no rattles in the car when living with it for a few days. Besides, Hyundai has forged a strong enough reputation for building durable cars, and that’s now backed up by the manufacturer’s excellent seven-year warranty.
With an exceedingly wide array of compact SUVs to choose from, the Venue is an excellent enough option not only for die-hard Hyundai fans but to anyone looking for a vibrant runaround in the bewildering crossover segment that’s dominated by Ford’s cheaper but larger EcoSport.
Type: Three-cylinder turbo
Type: Seven-speed Auto
Type: Front-wheel drive
Top speed: 187km/h
0-100km/h: 11.5 sec
Fuel Consumption: 6.9l/100km (claimed), 7,4l /100km (as tested)
Remote central locking, keyless start, auto on/off lights, daytime driving running lights, cruise control, rear camera for park distance control, electric folding mirrors, full electric windows, multifunction steering wheel controls, climate control, partial cloth + leather seats, USB, Bluetooth connectivity, stability control, six airbags, ABS brakes, stability control
Warranty: Five years/150,000km
Maintenance plan: Three years/45,000km
Lease*: R7,953 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Hyundai Venue 1.0T Glide
Zippy performance, fuel consumption
Not styled to universal tastes
Brilliant but tiny crossover
MOTOR NEWS star rating
***Value For Money
VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline, 85kW/200Nm — R374,500
Hyundai Creta 1.6 Executive auto, 90kW/150Nm — R389,900
Hyundai Kona 1.0T Executive, 88kW/172Nm — R389,900
Kia Seltos 1.6 EX, 90kW/151Nm — R371,995
Ford EcoSport 1.0T Titanium auto, 92kW/170Nm — R360,900
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