What is it?
Venue Go and Active are the first two steps in a four model range.
They sit alongside the Kia Seltos as a new breed of city-suitable SUVs.
Unlike Kia, Hyundai has kept things fairly simple: just the one engine and a choice of manual or auto both with six cogs.
All four Venues are two-wheel drive and both Go and Active ride on 15 inch wheels.
Although ostensibly the same kind of car as the Seltos, there are a couple of notable differences.
What’s it cost?
Get up and Go, and it’s $23,630 driveaway.
Get Active and that figure grows to $25,200 driveaway.
Power comes from a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder petrol engine. There’s no diesel or turbocharged option.
Venue’s 1.6-litre engine produces 90kW of power and 151Nm of torque at a high 4850rpm.
Both test vehicles came with the six speed auto and it’s good enough without being a standout.
Hyundai’s design team has gone for a subdued exterior with an interior to match.
What Seltos and Venue have in common are a steeply raked windscreen, headlights mounted mid-height in the front bumper, and plenty of glasshouse.
The rounded edges of the squared-off headlight surrounds are reflected in the air-vent surrounds.
Unlike Seltos, the LED driving lights are separate, with Venue going for the family look as seen on the Santa Fe.
Go gets steel wheels with hubcaps, Active adds alloys — both shod with 185/65 series rubber.
Venue has a thick C-pillar which leads to a manually operated tailgate.
Hyundai lists cargo space at 355 litres with seats up, but doesn’t mention a figure for seats down.
The colours of the review cars both had a blue hue, with the Active’s uniquely named – The Denim.
Both Go and Venue have a functional looking interior.
The seats are cloth, and the dash design is neither drab nor screams “look at me” — the console layout is also simple.
Venue’s dash plastic is dull to look at and touch, but benefits from being uniform, rather than a mix of wildly different sheens and textures.
A drive mode dial is located behind the gear selector in the console, but lacks spring tension and can be moved — almost literally –with a breath.
Oddly, given the car is front-wheel drive only, it offers Snow, Mud, and Sand drive modes.
Venue stays with traditional dials for the aircon and only rarely was the temperature dial out of kilter with what was required.
Interior room is adequate for four, but going five up isn’t recommended.
There’s enough shoulder room up front, but elbow room in the Go is “compromised” with no storage bin on which to rest left and right arms.
Audio is AM/FM and app linked.
Quality is actually poor and it lacks bass, even with the equaliser setting wound up.
On the safety side, Hyundai hasn’t skimped for the entry level duo.
Go and Active dip out on Blind Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
But they get the same Driver Alert Warning which beeps to advise the car ahead has moved on.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) – City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian (camera type) and Lane Keep Assist are also standard.
What’s it go like?
Performance is not sparkling, but the engine is willing for a non-turbo four.
Throttle response is instant and acceleration while less than rapid is hardly inadequate.
Over the two weeks we “backed to backed” models, it went from being uninspiring to a machine that impressed with its reluctance to give up.
Highway driving, urban driving, hill climbs and descents, are all dealt with in a quiet, unassuming, and better than satisfactory manner.
The auto is like the rest of the Venue.
It goes about its job in a quiet, unobtrusive manner, drawing attention to itself simply by doing what it’s designed to do — without doing anything odd or exceptionally well.
Downhill runs saw it drop a cog and hold, keeping the engine spinning and ready when required.
Get the four banger revving over 3000 rpm and the torque is useable.
Although never thrashy, it exhibits a muffled rort when pushed, adding some enjoyable verve to the overall experience.
Steering is spot on and backs up the advertising. It’s a perfect city vehicle, thanks not just to its size — but also its nimbleness.
The ratio is quick enough to get the front wheels angled quickly without effort, making shopping centre car parks . . . parking . . . unbelievably easy.
Braking is spot on too, allowing precise measurement for pulling up at red lights and stop signs.
Ride quality is the final page in Venue’s book.
Day one had it feeling of overly soft and spongy, but by day 15 we appreciated the tenacious grip, comfort level of the suspension and the outright ability to quietly impress.
Economy is a winner too.
Go was frugal with a best of 5.9L and 7.4L/100km as a final average. The Active meanwhile saw a best of 6.1L/100km and 7.5L/100km.
What we like?
- Design inside and out complements each other
- Driving experience took time but grew on us
- Quiet, unassuming, nature is a winner in the end
What we don’t like?
- Audio quality below par
- Exterior and interior downmarket and lacking appeal
The bottom line?
Compared to the Kia Seltos, the Venue doesn’t draw attention.
It’s the automotive equivalent of a deputy captain; there when needed, steps up when required, but otherwise beavers away in the background — without real appreciation.
It’s only when called upon to step up that the unappreciated part makes itself known.
Venue took its time to impress, but did so by simply getting on with the job and never let the side down.
CHECKOUT: Hyundai Venue: That’s Amore
Hyundai Venue, priced from $23,630 driveaway
- Looks - 7.5/107.5/10
- Performance - 7/107/10
- Safety - 8/108/10
- Thirst - 8.5/108.5/10
- Practicality - 7.5/107.5/10
- Comfort - 8/108/10
- Tech - 6.5/106.5/10
- Value - 8/108/10