Alex Rae’s Hyundai Venue Review 2019 With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Interior, Ownership, Verdict And Score.

IN A NUTSHELL: Hyundai bravely moves away from what it has done best for decades, offering an SUV instead of a hatch as an entry-level model. While it won’t win over the same volume of buyers as the cheaper, defunct Accent hatch, this better car will convince many that the Venue is a better buy.

Price From $19,990 plus ORCs Warranty 5 years/ unlimited km Engine 1.6L petrol Power 90kW at 6500rpm Torque 151Nm at 4850rpm Transmission 6-speed auto or manual Drive front-wheel-drive Body 4040mm (l); 1770mm (w exc mirrors) 1565mm (h) Kerb weight 1225kg Seats 5 Fuel tank 44 litres Spare Space saver

Hyundai Venue review

The backbone of Hyundai Australia for many years has been hatchbacks; think the old Excel and prolific Getz. Now the South Korean brand is close to going all out on SUVs with its first compact crossover, the Venue, replacing the volume-selling Accent hatch. It seems SUV uptake is so healthy that the traditional light car’s days are numbered. But that’s not really the case.

See, there isn’t a suitable hatchback available to replace the old Accent, so the Venue’s position as the new entry-level car on Hyundai showrooms comes from necessity rather than want. That puts some pressure on this featherweight SUV to punch above its weight – which it does.

What does the Hyundai Venue cost and what do you get?

There are three variants available in the Venue lineup, starting with the entry-level Go, mid-spec Active and top-spec Elite. From Hyundai’s perspective, the Active should be the volume seller, though all are within ball park of each other pricewise.

With an attractive sub $20k starting price of $19,990 the Go comes with a six-speed manual transmission; the six-speed auto adds $2000.

Standard equipment on Go are 15-inch steelies with hub caps, 8.0-inch infotainment system and fabric trim seats. It’s a simple piece of kit but standard safety features are good, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, automatic highbeam, reversing camera and driver attention warning

Active costs $21,490 with a manual and $23,490 with an automatic transmission, adding 15-inch alloy wheels (nicer than the Go’s hub caps), LED daytime running lights, leather appointed steering wheel and gear shifter, power fold side mirrors and rear parking sensors.

The range topping Elite cost $25,490 and comes with an automatic transmission (no manual). It brings 17-inch alloys, satellite navigation with live traffic updates to the infotainment (though that can be mirrored to the other system, more on that later), DAB+, climate control, automatic electric driver’s window, additional fast charge USB port upfront, LED taillights, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The model is also adorned with two-tone paint and matching unique side mirrors and interior trims.

What’s the Hyundai Venue interior like?

The interior is surprisingly spacious and sleek for such an affordable compact SUV, and with a tall roof the glasshouse lets in plenty of light to fill the cabin. The Go and Active variants have fabric trimmed seats that are comfortable, while the Elite adds coloured stitching and trims in the cabin for a more contemporary (if a little funky) look.

As a sharp-priced entry model there are the expected swathes of plastic panels and trims to help cut cost, but they’re smartly hidden behind soft touchpoints, such as the door panels with sculpted armrests and the two-part dash. There are no rear air vents in any model.

Overall, it’s a good cabin, with basic frills and enough persona that it doesn’t feel cheap. And Elite offers some added flair with a certain appeal.

How much space is there in the Hyundai Venue?

It might be a compact SUV, but the cabin feels spacious enough to carry four adults – there are cars a little larger that can’t offer that. Of particular note is rear-seat legroom which helps two adults ride in the back comfortably. Headroom up front is also pretty great, with this six-foot frame sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat for hours. The steering wheel is tilt-and-reach adjustable, but the seat doesn’t give a lot of adjustments for height.

Ingress and egress are good, with a wide door aperture that will make getting in and out helpful. Some will further appreciate the slightly elevated seat position and grab handles that make sliding onto the pews easy.

A tall, boxy glasshouse brings a clear view all-round that some funky-styled compacts miss out on due to raked rear rooflines, and as such the Venue has a clear vision of traffic.

And around the back is a good-sized boot, measuring 355 litres with a space-saver spare underneath the floor – though that can be replaced for a full-sized wheel. That amount of boot space is good for carrying luggage and bags; it’s bigger than the Mazda CX-3 but smaller than the Mitsubishi ASX.

What’s the Hyundai Venue infotainment like?

Hyundai continues to place its infotainment between the centre air vents as a tablet-like addition, but in the Venue, we see a new sleeker, high-definition unit that looks better than most efforts in the South Korean’s current stable. The user interface system is familiar (and a bit bland to look at) and relies on touch input only, with large icons and menu options making it easy to change settings on the move.

The driver gets only a traditional binnacle cluster in the dash with needles and gauges, which again is easy to read with large clear numbers, and in the centre is a small screen for showing things like the lane-keeping assist and trip computer information.

Does the Hyundai Venue have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Yes, it has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all models, which is used by connecting a compatible phone to the USB charging port underneath the screen. There is a pad there to hold the phone and Elite models get an additional fast-charging USB port.

Using either Carplay or Auto brings navigation (via the phone’s GPS and data) to Go and Active grades.

What’s the Hyundai Venue engine like?

All models have the same 1.6-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine. It produces a mild 90kW of power at 6300rpm and 151Nm of torque at 4850rpm.

It needs a good poke to get going with enthusiasm and sounds a touch strained high in the rev range. It runs out of puff up top too, but it does have enough grunt to perform overtakes safely and get up moderate hills without too much fuss.

The six-speed manual is the most fun to drive but the six-speed auto has a sport mode which kicks down a gear regularly (almost too much) and helps get the most from the engine. There are no paddle shifters on the steering wheel, though the auto can be manually driven by moving the gearshift to the right.

What’s the Hyundai Venue like to drive?

It’s called an SUV but like so many compact SUVs the Venue is not really going to venture far off road. Given that, Hyundai has elected to supply the Venue as front-wheel drive only – the potential addition of AWD a burden on price, performance and fuel economy. Interesting, then, is that there are traction modes for mud, gravel and sand, which probably won’t get much use.

But the basic driveline is solid, and the unique Australian suspension tuning Hyundai has given local Venues benefits road manners. Ride comfort is quite good on coarse surfaces and the 15-inch wheels are particularly compliant over rutted corrugations and road markings thanks to 185/65 profile rubber. That said, the 17-inch wheels on the Elite aren’t oversized either and the ride remains absorbent, only big hits from the road unsettling the ride.

With a slow 10-second 0-100km/h acceleration time, you won’t often see a Venue peddling around with gusto, but with momentum through corners the underlying chassis is actually quite predictable and balanced, managing mid-corner bump well and the nicely-weighted and direct steering a highlight for enthusiastic driving. Sport mode sharpens throttle response if you’re up for it, while economy dulls it to feel lethargic. Normal mode is the go for everyday use.

Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) suppression was a focus point on the Venue according to Hyundai and it is reasonably quiet in the cabin for a car in this class, only the revving engine and gravel roads becoming overly noisy. The economy-focused tyres are quiet too, but they squeal and lose confidence when pushing on.

How safe is the Hyundai Venue?

Using a camera-only system without the addition of radar (meaning no adaptive cruise control and cyclist detection for the AEB), Hyundai expects the Venue to score a maximum four-star ANCAP rating out of five. Because the model isn’t on sale in Europe yet we don’t have either an NCAP or ANCAP rating.

However, all models have six airbags, AEB with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, automatic highbeam and a reversing camera.

The Elite gains blind-spot monitoring, front collision warning and rear cross-traffic alert.  

What are the Hyundai Venue alternatives?

Hyundai Venue’s rivals include the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX, Suzuki Ignis and Vitara, SsangYong Tivoli, Renault Captur, Honda HR-V, MG ZS, Toyota C-HR, Jeep Renegade and Nissan Juke.

2019 Hyundai Venue pricing and specifications

Priced from $19,990 plus on-road costs.

Powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 90kW and 151Nm.

Transmissions are a six-speed automatic or manual.

Fuel economy is 7.0L/100km (manual) and 7.2L/100km (auto).

ANCAP has not tested this car yet.


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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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