2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 8

What is it?

Can’t say I’m a big fan of the styling.

And, based on the same platform as the Accent hatch, the interior feels like a journey back in time.

But Hyundai’s Venue (its smallest SUV offered here) is a likeable enough city runaround.

In fact, it’s not that much smaller than the more expensive Kona, in terms of useable interior space — so if money’s tight it’s worth a look.

2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 1

What’s it cost?

There’s three models from which to choose, priced from $20,690 plus onroads.

It gets going with the Venue, followed by the better-spec’d Active at $22,620 and then top of the line Elite at $26,490.

Metallic paint adds $495. Typhoon silver with a black roof gets you denim-style cloth trim inside — other colours come with black. 

Elite comes with a contrasting two-tone roof as standard, with matching mirrors, painted inserts in lower front and rear bumpers, wheel arch mouldings and side sill mouldings.

A sunroof is also a standard fit with the Elite. The thing is though you can’t have two-tone paint and a sunroof together — it’s one or the other.

All grades come standard with Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite, which includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist and tyre-pressure monitoring.

There’s also an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a reversing camera, 3.5-inch TFT driver multifunction display, six airbags and daytime-running lights.

Also standard is Hyundai Auto Link, a smartphone app that allows the customer to stay connected to their car.

It works by using a pre-installed module that connects the car’s computer to the customer’s mobile phone and can even tell you were you parked the car.

Active adds LED running lights, alloy wheels, a leather-rimmed steering wheel, rear parking sensors and a better audio system.

Elite, the subject of our review, gets two-tone paint, larger 17-inch alloys, faux leather seats, single climate control, a chromed grille, LED tail lights, rear privacy glass,  satellite navigation with live traffic updates, DAB+ digital radio and USB charge port.

Mote this is the only grade that gets blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert too.

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), works in City/Urban/Interurban environments, with Pedestrian detection — from speeds of 8km/h up to 180km/h (not sure the latter is attainable).

2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 4

What’s it go like?

The cabin plastics, chunky controls and analogue dials look like Hyundai circa 2000.

It feels like a throwback to simpler times, apart from the six speed auto and that very modern looking touchscreen perched on the dash.

Some people might find the simple functionality appealing.

Power comes from a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder petrol engine.

With 90kW of power and 151Nm of torque, the latter at a high 4850 rpm — there’s no diesel or turbocharged alternatives.

It’s paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, with Elite available in auto only.

The auto features three drive modes — Eco, Normal and Sport.

Sport simply holds gears longer, to give more revs and more get up and go.

Though front-wheel drive, an all-new Traction Mode system offers unique calibrations for snow, mud or sand driving.

Performance is surprisingly good, especially in third gear with around 4000 revs on the dial.

BUT, it tends to run out of puff at around 110km/h.

Not such a big deal you might think, given that’s the legal speed limit across Australia.

Try looking for an extra 10km/h, however, to facilitate overtaking and times seems to stand still.

It’s a case of waiting, waiting, waiting as the speed edges up — so overtaking is best avoided.

The six-speed auto itself is quiet and unobtrusive, and on downhill runs drops a cog to provide some engine braking.

The engine likes to rev and is almost fun if you get into it in manual mode, changing gears with the transmission lever.

One thing missing from the equation that we have come to appreciate in more recent times is adaptive cruise control.

Ride quality is firmish, but not uncomfortable, though it can become drummy on coarse bitumen.

Smaller vehicles such as this one lack the sound insulation of larger cars.

Steering is sharp and light, and combined with compact dimensions, makes low speed manoeuvring a piece of cake.

The brakes are good too, more than a match for the modest engine outputs.

Nice wheels by the way.

Rated at 7.2L/100km, we were getting 8.5L after about 600km.

We would have expected better, but what you get will depend on how hard you work it.

2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 6

What we like?

  • Price
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to drive
  • Classy two-tone paint

2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 2

What we don’t like?

  • Too thirsty
  • Downmarket interior
  • Average audio quality
  • Spacesaver spare

2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 3

The bottom line?

It wasn’t love at first sight, but the Venue grows on you.

Easy to get in and out of, easy to drive and easy on the pocket, it fills the role of city runaround perfectly.

For many, that’s more than enough.

2021 Hyundai Venue Elite 9

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Hyundai Venue Elite (Denim), priced from $26,740
  • Looks - 6/10
    6/10
  • Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
    7/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Value - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
7.1/10
Hyundai Venue: Denim and space

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.