Affordable, Subcompact Crossover
The 2021 Hyundai Venue is the smallest
crossover in the Hyundai line-up. From largest to smallest it goes Palisade,
Santa Fe/Santa Fe Hybrid, Tucson/Tucson PHEV, Nexo FCEV, Kona/Kona EV and
Venue. Hyundai sees its customers being divided into four lifestyle categories
of Singles/Couples, Early Family, Full Nest Family and Early Eco Adopters. This
means coming out with the small Venue crossover, which is based on the Hyundai
Accent sedan, offers a popular design for those that don’t need a larger
crossover, but want a certain level of versatility for passengers and cargo.
Available in front-wheel drive with one
engine and one transmission choice, the Venue delivers excellent city driving,
but is also capable on the freeway.
Driving Experience: On the
There are three 2021 Venue
trim levels: SE, SE, and Denim. The only engine offered is a 1.6-liter
non-turbo putting out 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel
drive Venue uses a continuous variable transmission (CVT), or in Hyundai speak,
an intelligent variable transmission (IVT), and three driver-selectable
drive modes of Normal, Sport and Snow. Cruising Southern California, we didn’t
need the Snow setting, but we did play around with the other two.
To maximize fuel economy,
selecting the Normal drive mode is key to equaling or besting the EPA rating of
30 mpg city/34 highway/32 combined. In 514 miles of 75-percent
highway/25-percent city driving, we averaged 38 mpg; on one highway run with
the cruise control set at 65 mph and in the Normal drive mode, we achieved 42.9
These are attractive economy
numbers, and if you commute 50 miles daily, you will use about a gallon to a
gallon-and-half of unleaded. Where I live that might be $6.00, but in many
parts of the country it would be far less–a small part of your budget. Our
results show that in typical driving around town and on the open road, the
Venue is a gasoline sipper, not a gulper. Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean
Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving
experience using the dash gauge computer. Your numbers may differ.
The two driver selectable
drive modes that will be used the most are Normal and Sport, offering both
economical and spirited driving options. Maximum torque doesn’t hit until a
relatively high 4,500 rpms, meaning the Venue is not fast off the line and
qualifies as a momentum vehicle. Once you get up to speed, don’t let off the
accelerator as the momentum will be lost, and you need to do it all over again.
A couple of tricks we learned,
and used often, was turning the drive mode wheel to Sport and placing the
transmission in manual and “shifting” through a six-gear simulation. Since
there are no gears on a CVT, what you are doing is holding the CVT in a range
to squeeze-out as much performance as possible. Either of these livens-up
things considerably for acceptable 0-60 times of 8.6 seconds. I spent most of
my in-town driving in Sport and used it whenever entering a freeway.
Regardless of the drive mode,
acceleration and the CVT transmission are smooth and quiet, with the only noise
coming when putting the most demand on the engine. Even then, there never was a
sense the Venue was straining.
The Venue’s handling was
better than expected, agile even, making it a kick to toss around. While the
2,738-pound Venue isn’t a sporty crossover in any sense of the term, the low
weight allowed it to handle corners well. Remember, keep it in Sport drive mode
and there are momentary opportunities for some smiles. The overall ride was
stiff, but composed, where some bumps and potholes were felt through the
chassis, especially when riding in the rear seat. Long highway trips are not
where necessarily shines, but it performs ideally as a city crossover, country
driver and for short highway commuter.
The motor-driven power
steering was light-neutral in its feel, commanding the 205/55 Nexen NPriz
all-season touring tires mounted on 17-inch alloy wheels (standard on our Denim
trim level). The 16.6-inch turning radius was very convenient for pulling U-turns
in tight places. Stopping was through ventilated front discs and drum rears,
with vacuum assist and all-wheel ABS and electronic brake force distribution.
All-new in 2020, the 2021
Hyundai Venue carries-over the upright stance and boxy design. The special
two-tone paint scheme on our Denim model brought on-looker questions asking if
it was a Fiat 500L or Mini Cooper. Exterior colors, in addition to the Denim we
were driving, are Galactic Gray, Green Apple, Intense Blue, Black Noir, Ceramic
White, Scarlet Red and Stellar Silver. Some are solid others have a white roof,
so making a statement will be pretty easy.
In the Denim trim, the front
end gets LED projector head and daytime running lights and LED taillights. The
design is different enough from all other Hyundai crossovers, so it stands out,
with Hyundai adding, the Venue “references a place people want to be seen in”.
Depending on the body color, you can get either a black or a chrome cascading
grille, which is the new signature face already found on the Hyundai Kona and
Nexo crossovers. A strong character line runs front to rear, and the full wheel
arches, with the 17-inch alloy wheels on the Denim, looked sharp and filled the
wheelwells. The plastic body cladding, which is usually reserved for serious
off road all-wheel drive crossovers and SUVs, was used on the Venue for
Driving Experience: Interior
The Venue’s dash has logically laid-out controls,
including simple and easy-to-use volume and channel knobs for the radio, and
distinctly larger wheels for the automatic temperature control. Probably in a
nod to cost savings, hard plastic materials are more prevalent than soft, which
for the most part are fine, but the door and center console arm rests should have
padding. The touches of gloss black were a nice contrast against the brushed
aluminum. The large, round speed and tach gauges, with black backgrounds and
white numbers, are extremely easy to read.
Clean Fleet Report’s 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim had cloth seating surfaces
with leatherette edges to protect against wear. The heated fronts were
supportive and had sliding, reclining and height manual adjustments. The center
armrest is nicely positioned, height wise, and slides so the driver’s hand can
be on the steering wheel and the elbow on the armrest. There is a storage area,
directly under the charge ports, and one on the dash just below the glove box.
Wireless charging is not available, which it isn’t expected on an entry level
model, but the passenger visor not extending, while the driver side does,
should have been.
The Venue is rated as seating five, but best to make
it two adults out back, as three would be tight for more than a short distance.
For rear seat passengers under six feet tall, headroom is good, knee and leg
room adequate, but they don’t get a fold down center arm rest nor any air vents
or power ports. The best use for the 60/40 rear seat is to fold it flat, where
storage is greatly increased from 18.7 to 31.9 cubic feet, making this
crossover a true utility vehicle.
Venue Denim was fully optioned with an 8.0-inch color touchscreen for the
rearview camera that has moving parking guidelines, navigation and the infotainment
system. Our tester had six speakers, including two tweeters, for the audio
system, with AM/FM HD, SiriusXM (90-day trial), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
All of which can be managed by controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Other features of the driver-friendly and easy-to-figure-out and operate system
include USB ports and Bluetooth for voice controls and hands-free telephone
calling. All-in-all, it was a pleasant surprise to find the Venue Denim to be
so highly equipped for an economy car.
Our Venue came with Hyundai’s BlueLink Connected
Services, keyless entry,
proximity key push button start, power and heated side mirrors, a tilt and
telescoping steering column, and optional carpeted floor mats.
The 2021 Hyundai Venue has safety features of six front,
side and curtain airbags, four-wheel power ABS brakes, vehicle stability
management and a tire pressure monitoring system. Some of the advanced driver
assistance systems (ADAS) include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian
detection, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic collision warning,
driver attention warning and lane keep assist.
The 2021 Venue earned a Four
Star overall safety rating (with five
stars being the top rating) by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, gave
it its highest award of a Top
Pricing and Warranties
The 2021 Hyundai Venue comes in three models
with these base prices, including the $1,185 freight charges:
Clean Fleet Report’s Venue Denim, with
the carpeted floor mats option ($155) and the $1,185 freight charge, had a MSRP
The 2021 Venue comes
with these warranties:
- Powertrain – 10 years/100,000 miles
- New Vehicle –
Five years/60,000 miles
- Anti-perforation – Seven years/Unlimited miles
- Roadside Assistance – Five years/Unlimited miles
- Maintenance – Three years/36,000 miles
Observations: 2021 Hyundai
The Venue is in the hot small crossover
category selling against the Kia Soul,
HR-V, and the Toyota
CH-R, among others. So why the Venue? This useful utility vehicle handles
people and their stuff pretty well, with singles and couples drawn to the Venue
for its ease of driving, cargo utility (especially with the rear seat folded
flat), fuel economy and excellent warranty.
Starting under $20,000, and fully loaded just over $23,000, the 2021 Hyundai Venue is an attractive small crossover. If you are considering a pre-owned compact sedan, adding the 2021 Venue to your shopping list would be good decision. You will get the latest driver safety technology in a fun-to-drive utility vehicle that also has an outstanding warranty and superb fuel economy. The three-year maintenance is a nice feature too, making for a low cost of ownership.
Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right
of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.
Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Hyundai.
Stories You Might Enjoy—The Hot Compact Crossover Choices
Test: 2018 Nissan
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles
from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are
based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address
issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition,
we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or
technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation,
lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles
and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in
their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids,
hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that
are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer
reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle
market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to
providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at email@example.com.