One-Day Drive

First Drive Review: 2020 Hyundai Venue is a petite, but loaded package

The Venue is a new subcompact SUV from Hyundai.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

The 2020 Hyundai Venue isn't small. It's petite. And, Hyundai has managed to squeeze a lot in that little package. The kicker is that they've also kept the price low delivering on the "more bang for your buck" sales strategy the automaker successfully championed for at least half a decade.

Venue fits at the end of the Hyundai stable below the Kona. It's about the same size as the Nissan Kicks and Chevrolet Trax. The Nissan Rogue Sport, Kia Seltos, and Chevrolet Trailblazer are closer in size to the Kona. It's not as big as the Hyundai Tucson, Santa Fe, or Palisade.

2020 Hyundai Venue From the side, the Venue is cute and not all that quirky.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

From the outside, the Venue is like its fellow subcompacts though its body styling is a touch like a first-gen Toyota RAV4. It's available in a two-tone paint scheme and its looks aren't too controversial though the grille isn't as attractive as the rest of the vehicle.

The subcompact crossover comes in just three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Denim. All the grades have the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine under their hood. It's paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission in the base model and available with an intelligent variable transmission (IVT). Venue SEL and Denim models have the IVT standard.

The engine delivers 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque. Though the numbers aren't high, the power is sufficient for the Venue to be used as a daily driver. Getting up to speed on the highway doesn't feel like quite the chore it does in the Kicks and there's a good amount of oomph to help the car pass at speed.

Hyundai has given us a front-wheel drive Venue. No all-wheel drive model is available but the company says it has a solution for that – Snow mode. Snow mode uses torque vectoring technology to escape situations that would make a driver want to use their all-wheel drive capability.

2020 Hyundai Venue Hyundai has given the Venue looks that are reminiscent of a first-generation Toyota RAV4.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

Venue's real story is inside. The model is surprisingly spacious for driver and front passenger. Legroom for rear seat occupants is at a premium, but that's not unusual in this size vehicle. The seats are more comfortable than what you'll find in many cars today and deliver just the right amount of bolstering.

Hyundai believes that they've delivered the right technology for their customer in the Venue and it's hard to argue. It comes standard with an 8-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation, dual charging USB ports, a rearview monitor, and heated front seats and side mirrors are available. The screen is responsive, and Apple CarPlay is easy to use on the system- just what you expect from Hyundai.

2020 Hyundai Venue The Venue's seats are surprisingly comfy.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

The automaker has also equipped the car with Blue Link integrations including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Bluetooth is standard.

A good number of safety technologies are available including forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning, driver attention warning, and rear cross traffic alert. Lane keeping assist was hit or miss during testing under the intense sun in Southern Florida. Either it was too sensitive or not sensitive at all. Other than that, all other systems worked as advertised.

2020 Hyundai Venue The Venue's infotainment screen is responsive and easy to use.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

The 2020 Hyundai Venue starts at $17,350 making it one of the least expensive models you can buy. Topping out just over $22,00, the Venue Denim feels like a steal, especially because it comes fully loaded.

Hyundai isn't busy reinventing the wheel with the Venue. They're making a better wheel that is good for the masses and right within their budget guidelines. That's something that should be applauded, and rewarded with sales.

Healthcare workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at the state's first drive-up testing center on March 12, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The testing center is free and available to anyone who has a note from a doctor confirming they meet the criteria to be tested for the virus

Photo by Getty Images

Hyundai Hope on Wheels (HHOW), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by Hyundai Motor America and its U.S. dealers, has announced that it has donated $2 million for COVID-19 drive-thru testing centers in partnership with children's hospitals across the U.S. HHOW has supported health and well-being initiatives for children with cancer since 1998.

"Hyundai is a company committed to improving the well-being of society and the health of children," says Jose Munoz, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America. "In the last few weeks, our society has been challenged with a major pandemic that has had significant consequences to life, safety and well-being. Children who are diagnosed with cancer are particularly at high risk. Through our Hyundai Hope On Wheels program, we are committed to being a strong partner on behalf of children's health and assisting during this time."

The following children's hospitals are the first three of ten to receive a $200,000 donation to support their Drive-Thru Testing Centers (additional hospitals to be announced):

  • CHOC Children's (Orange, CA)
  • UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital (Cleveland, OH)
  • Children's National Hospital (Washington, D.C.)

"This is an unusual time in our nation as we combat the ravages of COVID-19 coronavirus," says Scott Fink, HHOW Board Chair and Hyundai dealer-owner, Hyundai of New Port Richey and Hyundai of Wesley Chapel. "Hyundai dealers across America unite with Hyundai to serve humanity, as we come together in this time of national crisis. Through our involvement with Hyundai Hope On Wheels, we know that children who are fighting cancer have weakened immune systems and are at a high risk for COVID-19. Together, we have directed additional resources to the various hospitals, who are arranging COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Centers at their facilities across the U.S."

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For more information about Hyundai Hope On Wheels COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Centers, and to get the most updated list of partnering hospitals, visit www.hyundaihopeonwheels.org.

Hyundai has revealed a new Elantra, the seventh-generation of the model.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai's Elantra isn't known for being anything more than a competent commuter car. The Korean automaker wants to change that. Enter the completely redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra. It's dynamic, fuel-efficient, and takes the connectivity to a new level.

The seventh-generation Elantra is built on a new vehicle platform with a longer wheelbase, wider stance, and lower roofline than the sixth-generation model. It's the second Hyundai model that features the company's Sensuous Sportiness design identity - the first was the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

Designers have make the Elantra look like a fastback car.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Elantra slots between the larger Sonata and smaller Accent in Hyundai's lineup. It sees direct competition from the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

It's a sedan with a fastback-like roofline, holding true to modern design trends. It has a cascading, jewel-patterned grille; bold fascia; gem-like shapes on the side panels; and available 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheels.

At the rear, there's a wide horizontal line that goes the width of the car. Its "H-Tail Lamp" design creates a Hyundai lying H logo-like shape, which should make the model instantly recognizable at night. Black accents edge the rear glass while the lower bumper has gotten a wing-type treatment.

Hyundai's PR team is using the words "nimble" and "respond quickly" to describe the Elantra's driving dynamics and powertrain. Those aren't two words that would have been associated with the Elantra in the past so it's a clear push in a more engaging direction.

The car has a wing-like rear.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

However, the model comes with the same engine as the last generation and it has the same output. Buyers of the Elantra SE, SEL, and Limited get a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with Hyundai's version of a continuously variable transmission.

Hyundai has added an Elantra Hybrid to its lineup for the 2021 model year. It has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and a 32 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery to generate 139 horsepower and up to 195 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. All in all, that model may be the most efficient and most fun to drive of the lot and Hyundai says that it will get over 50 mpg.

Designers have made the new Elantra what they're calling an "immersive cocoon". It's made to have an airline cockpit-like aesthetic with low, wide structures that span the width of the car and give the feeling of spaciousness.

The design of the car's cabin emphasizes its width.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The tech innovations start right up front where a single interface houses two 10.25-inch screens, one for driver information and the other for traditional infotainment functionality in higher trim levels. Standard equipment includes an 8.0-inch infotainment display, HD radio, and Bluetooth. Drivers can opt for 64 mood lighting color options, a sunroof, Blue Link connected services, wireless charging, voice recognition services, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system.

There's also smartphone as a key functionality, something the Sonata has and one of the features that shown off during the company's Super Bowl "Smaht Pahk" commercial. It does not have the vehicle movability (sans driver) that the Sonata does. Users are able to remote start, unlock, lock, and find their car using the Blue Link app.

The cloud-based navigation system includes a bird's-eye view in navigation maps, and drivers get connected routing. Connected routing provides multiple navigation options and real-time route updates. Server-based routing makes the onboard navigation experience similar to current smartphone navigation apps. Three years of navigation system updates are included.

2021 Hyundai Elantra driver infromation screen Hyundai has made the Elantra available with twin screens that are over 10 inches corner-to-corner.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available through wireless connectivity. Dual Bluetooth support is also available, so two devices can be paired at the same time.

Buyers will get the Elantra with a good list of standard safety technologies including forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, and rearview camera with guidelines.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is slated to begin production in Ulsan, Korea and at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama this autumn. Sales will begin in the fourth quarter. Pricing will be announced closer to the car's on-sale date.