The 2021 Hyundai Venue is a subcompact crossover that has surprising interior space and desirable features at an affordable price. The little Hyundai’s small size and agile handling make it perfect for zipping around urban areas. However, its underpowered engine and restless highway behavior make it feel slow and clumsy on Interstates. It gets noisy at highway speeds too. Every model has automated emergency braking and lane-departure warning as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Despite its budget-friendly pricing, Hyundai outfits the tiny ute with an attractive interior that looks and feels more upscale than competitors such as the Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR. All the aforementioned positives make the 2021 Venue a perfect choice for urbanites who aren’t planning on using it for long highway trips.
Every Venue is powered by a 121-hp four-cylinder engine, which delivers sufficient motivation around town but has a complete lack of passing power on the highway. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the only gearbox, now that the previous standard six-speed manual has been discontinued. Shoppers who want all-wheel drive will be disappointed because all models are front-drive only. We recently drove a Venue around Miami and learned that the subcompact SUV is agile in traffic thanks to its small proportions and reactive steering. Unfortunately, that steering was touchy on the highway, and our SEL model often required our attention to stay steady in our lane at highway speeds. That makes us think the tiny Hyundai is better suited for short commutes rather than highway road trips.
Despite its small dimensions, the Venue has a roomy cabin for its size. Both the front and rear seats have ample passenger space, and the cushions in both rows are comfortable. The design isn’t particularly flashy, but the interior is well assembled and bolstered by sturdy switchgear, and an attractive gauge cluster and infotainment system. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are standard and the SEL trim; heated front seats and passive entry with push-button start are optional but standard on the Denim. Too bad there’s no dual-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, heads-up display, power-operated adjustments for the front seats, or wireless phone charging. Also, base models don’t have a center armrest, and the top-of-the-line Denim model isn’t available with a sunroof. Still, the Venue cabin is a pleasant place to spend time, and with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats in use, it has 19 cubic feet of cargo room. That volume increases to 32 cubes when the back seat is folded flat.
Read David Colman review of the 2020 Hyundai Venue at TheAutoChannel.com.