Hyundai has been hustling to expand both the breadth and quality of its SUV lineup, and it’s now introduced the 2020 Venue, an all-new entry-level crossover at the 2019 New York Auto Show. It’s even smaller than the brand’s subcompact Kona but shares its chunky and chiseled good looks, including—at least in upper trims—having a similar grille, LED lights, and cuboid headlights. The Venue is the seventh model to join Hyundai’s SUV lineup, which was recently topped off by the eight-passenger Palisade.
Under the hood, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine works with a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic. Hyundai predicts as high as 33 mpg on the highway—we’re assuming that’s with the CVT—but no other fuel-economy details have yet been released. Nor, for that matter, has Hyundai stated the engine’s output, but figure it’s not going to be a powerhouse. Similarly, there’s no mention of all-wheel drive; the Venue is front-drive only, with Hyundai touting a Snow powertrain mode to help in inclement weather.
The little ute is fitted with standard (and presumably steel) 15-inch wheels, while optional 17s aluminum wheels are available. It’s available in eight shades: Black Noir, Ceramic White, Steller Silver, Galactic Gray, Scarlet Red, Intense Blue, Green Apple, and Denim. While interior choices are for the most part limited to gray or black cloth, the Denim paint can be paired with a denim-colored cloth and leatherette interior and a white roof. Other options include two-tone color options for the roof, mirrors, and various trim.
The Venue measures 158.9 long, 69.7 wide, and 61.6 inches tall, and has a wheelbase of 99.2 inches. For reference, it’s 5.1 inches shorter in length and 1.2 inches narrower than the Kona. Even so, according to Hyundai, total interior space is 111 cubic feet, only 3 shy of the Kona. With the rear seats up, cargo space is nearly the same at 18.7 versus 19.2 cubic feet, although space is more pinched with the 60/40-split seats folded, at 31.9 cubes against the Kona’s 45.8. A dual-level cargo floor allows for larger items when in the lower position or provides a handy out-of-sight stowage space when placed higher.
The driver grips a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the Venue offers heated front seats and side mirrors, two USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and an 8.0-inch color screen audio system that’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant functionality is part of Hyundai’s Blue Link system, through which app you can now remote start the car including activating the rear-window and side-mirror defrosters, if equipped. Standard safety goodies include forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, driver-attention warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Hyundai Kona starts a hair under $20,000, and the company says the Venue will be its most affordable. Pencil in $18,000 or so to start for the Venue, which arrives at dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year.