Hyundai Venue — Good transportation at a great price

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(March 9, 2022) Remember back to the mid 80s when the Yugoslavian-built Yugo was hyped as the least expensive new car on the market? Why buy used, when a new car is within reach at a very affordable price, Yugo dealers argued. That turned out to be very bad advice because the Yugo proved unsafe and unreliable. A five-year-old Civic or Corolla were much better purchases at the same price — hugely more reliable and with a better trade-in value.

What reminded us of those long-gone days is the modern Hyundai Venue. The Venue is also inexpensive, but that's where the comparison ends. While the Venue can save a buyer a load of cash, it's 180-degree opposite of the infamous Yugo — a very reliable and safe little crossover with a significant amount of desirable standard features. And it comes with Hyundai's best-in-the-business five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty.

Just how good the little Venue has been since its inception in 2020 was pointed up to us in a week and 200 miles behind the wheel of a 2022 SEL model, and as an additional reminder it was recently named The Best Value Vehicle by for a second year in a row.

The Venue comes in SE, SEL and Limited trims starting at $20,245 including destination charge. The Limited replaces the Denim trim for 2022. Standard features include automatic headlights, height-adjustable driver's seat, 8-inch touchscreen display, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. In the safety department all Venues get forward collision mitigation, lane departure mitigation and driver attention warning.

An additional $1,750 the SEL trim brings a bundle of good stuff including bigger 17-inch wheels, rear disc brakes, a sunroof, roof rails, automatic climate control, and blindspot monitoring with cross-traffic alert.

The one engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). While 121 horses doesn’t sound like much, it did not disappoint over our week driving the car on highways and in the city.

We were impressed with its maneuverability — "wow, this turns on a dime" one passenger exclaimed after a quick U-turn, — ample visibility, and ease of driving. We had to carefully plan a couple of two-lane passing situations, but slam the pedal to the metal and no problem.  Road noise is minimal for a vehicle is this price class, and braking competent. Hyundai offers three drive modes including one called Snow that allows increased wheel spin for maximum traction.

We put the little crossover in the Sport mode and immediately felt an uptick in perceived performance. We got the feeling that leaving it in Sport, where the tuning is a bit more aggressive, might have cost us a small amount of gas mileage, but it was worth it.

With the Venue the South Korean company is chasing younger buyers, enticing them to buy a new car with a roomy interior, advanced safety features and a great warranty all for about what you’d spend for a three- or four-year-old Toyota or Honda. Don't forget empty nesters and people looking for a reliable and economical second car.

It's the smallest crossover in Hyundai's SUV lineup. It's even dwarfed by the smallish Kona, measuring five inches shorter, but it still seats up to five passengers — and with decent leg and head room for two adult passengers. Even so, calling the Venue a true SUV is a stretch. Instead, the Venue represents an increasing number of vehicles that combine crossover styling with the stance and handling abilities of a traditional hatchback sharing the same platform that also underpins the Accent sedan and hatch.

At just 159 inches long, it is one of the shortest vehicles on sale today, but we found interior space surprisingly ample with easily enough leg, hip, head and shoulder room even for taller passengers. Rear seat passengers won’t be able to stretch their legs out, but they won’t feel cramped either.

At first glance the Venue's design stands out within its segment as you would expect from Hyundai where anonymous styling just doesn't work anymore. The Venue gets a fresh appearance that feels modern from all angles with two-tiered headlights up front bookending the familiar Hyundai hexagonal grille, while flared wheel arches and lower bumper trim give the Venue a pronounced skirt line meant to create an off-road-friendly look.

In back, two small rectangular taillights give the little crossover a sharp and pricey look, and the concave tailgate gives the surface of the rear fascia a sculpted appearance.

Inside, the Venue's layout is attractive, the switchgear is easy to use, and the material quality is excellent considering its modest starting price. All models feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio capability. Fit and finish are a step above the Venue's price point.

Opt for the Limited model starting at $23,495, and you get interior upgrades  such as padded door armrest and leatherette upholstery with contrasting white piping. One head-scratcher is a circular temperature readout on the climate-control panel that appears to be an adjustable knob, but it isn't.

Our Galactic Gray SEL model carried a bottom line of $22,030 including $155 for floor mats and a $1,225 destination charge.

2022 Hyundai Venue


Base price: $20,245; as driven, $22,030
Engine: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 121 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque: 113 foot-pounds @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: continuously variable
Drive: front wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 99.2 inches
Length: 159.1 inches
Curb weight: 2,612 pounds
Turning circle: 35.6 feet
Luggage capacity: 18.7 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 31.9 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 11.9 gallons (regular)
EPA rating: 29 city, 33 highway, 31 combined
0-60: 9.0 seconds (estimated)
Also consider: Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR, Chevrolet Spark

The Good
• Excellent value for the money
• Light and nimble handling
• Excellent array of safety features
• Long warranties

The Bad
• No all-wheel drive option

The Ugly
• One of slowest cars on the road