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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.

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New SUV

New Jeep Compass Coming Soon

The Compass gets a major update for 2022.

Stellantis/Jeep

The Chicago Auto Show is happening now, which means we've already seen a few new models and concepts. Just yesterday, Jeep introduced the new 2022 Compass compact SUV. It gets a new design inside and out, updated tech, and a load of new available driver aids. The Compass' refresh comes as new models from Ford, Subaru and others could cut into Jeep's off-road dominance.

As it was in previous model years, the new Compass is powered by a 2.4-liter "Tigershark" four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's good for up to 31 mpg on the highway in 2WD models and can deliver a max towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds in 4WD models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for Compass Sport and Latitude 4X2 models, while all others get a nine-speed automatic transmission that can handle the 20:1 crawl ratio setting in the Trailhawk model.

An all-new Latitude LUX trim joins the Compass lineup for 2022 as well. It features leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat, a seven-inch full-color gauge cluster, and the larger 10.1-inch screen.


2022 Jeep Compass The new Compass is more upscale than its predecessor.Stellantis/Jeep


The Compass comes with a class-leading 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, but higher trims get an even larger 10.1-inch unit. It offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and runs Uconnect 5, a colorful, responsive infotainment system with advanced features and tech.

Several new safety features make an appearance, but most are added-cost options. The highway assist system offers a semi-autonomous driving feature, which Jeep says will become available later. Other tech includes traffic sign recognition, standard pedestrian/cyclist automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, and a long list of more traditional advanced driver aids like blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.

The Compass lineup for 2022 includes five trims: Sport, Latitude, Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk. Pricing for the new Compass starts at $26,490, including a $1,495 destination charge. At the top of the lineup, the Trailhawk and Limited models both start at $32,890. It's expected to start arriving on dealers' lots in fall 2021.


2022 Jeep Compass New color schemes highlight the Compass' interior.Stellantis/Jeep

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New compact pickup truck

Hyundai announces pricing for Santa Cruz pickup

It's small, but the Santa Cruz can do plenty of truck stuff like the big guys.

Hyundai

Looking at American trucks over the years, it's hard to ignore their growing size and price, but 2021 might just be the year that bucks that trend. Earlier in the year, Ford announced the compact Maverick pickup truck, and after months of rumors, Hyundai did the same. The Santa Cruz will be a small unibody pickup designed in California and built in Alabama. Today, the automaker announced pricing for the upcoming vehicle.

Pricing for the Santa Cruz starts at $23,990, which after the $1,185 destination charge comes to $25,175. That reasonable sum buys the base SE trim, which comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Hyundai estimates that the base engine produces 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, while the available turbocharged 2.5-liter engine makes 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

Other standard features include:


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz The Santa Cruz rides on a unibody frame, which gives it a better ride than most trucks.Hyundai


  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • LED taillights
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Driver attention warnings
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Speed limit warnings
  • Leading vehicle departure alerts

Despite its size and unibody construction, the Santa Cruz does offer traditional truck capabilities. With the base engine on board, the vehicle is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, and with the turbocharged engine that number increases to 5,000 pounds. The unibody setup also gives the Santa Cruz a more car-like ride and handling, which improves comfort. It's a configuration that is also used by the Honda Ridgeline and the upcoming Ford Maverick pickups.


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz The Santa Cruz has a useful bed that can be configured a few ways.Hyundai


Hyundai started building the Santa Cruz at its Montgomery, Alabama factory in June. The automaker says that its production will eventually add 1,200 jobs to the facility, and notes that the vehicle will go on sale sometime later this summer. We're heading out to drive the new Santa Cruz in early August, so stay tuned for a first-drive review in a few weeks.

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