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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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The Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group offers factory-backed half-door comfort, style, and safety.
Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep Wrangler owners who want an open-air experience but don't want the complete doors-off look have a new from-the-factory option. Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar have worked together to create new half-doors for the iconic SUV.

The new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group features two factory engineered, tested, and backed half-door options that offer owners the option to have production-level styling, security, and occupancy protection in addition to improved visibility.

Available for both two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler models through the Mopar Custom Shop, as part of an original new-vehicle purchase in the U.S. and Canada, the new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group includes both full and half doors. Full-steel production doors are installed on the vehicle while matching body-color half doors are packaged within the vehicle.

    Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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    With production-level materials and build quality, new half doors are designed to work when equipped with any of the following features: power mirrors, blind-spot detection, passive and non-passive entry handles, and power locks. A quick and easy swap from full doors to half doors can be accomplished within minutes using the existing hinge locations and the exact same wiring connections.

    The newly developed upper-window assemblies are designed to have a weather-tight sealant feature zippered plastic windows. Two materials are offered for the assemblies: base-model vinyl that matches the production soft-top roof or premium acrylic that matches the premium soft-top roof.

    Each upper-door frame section uses an easy, tool-free, dual-guide post feature for easy installation and removal.

    The Dual-Door Group is now available on two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, Rubicon; Sahara, Rubicon 392, and 4xe models. Factory-option pricing for the U.S.s tarts at $2,350 for the two-door's Dual-Door Group with base-model upper-window assembles while the four-door costs $3,995. Checking the box for the more premium version of the upper-window assemblies moves the price tag up to $2,550 for the two-door and $4,395 for the four-door.

    Warranty coverage for each Dual-Door Group option is included as part of the new-vehicle warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

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    The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 comes to a dealership near you later this quarter.

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

    The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is the V8-powered Wrangler y'all have been asking for. Now we know how much 470 horsepower under the hood will cost you - $73,500 - and that's before taxes, fees, and any dealership markup.

    With typical Wrangler Rubicon looks on the outside, the Rubicon 392's big selling point is its engine. The 6.4-liter V8 can get from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    Jeep is equipping the Rubicon 392 with a 21.5-gallon fuel tank to help with the thirsty engine's range. To save on fuel, the Rubicon 392 uses cylinder deactivation to switch into four-cylinder mode when the V8 isn't needed.

    2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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    The noise out back is courtesy of a two-mode performance exhaust. A functional air scoop feeds the engine and keeps it cool.

    All that power requires a stronger frame than the typical Wrangler has. It gets upgraded frame rails, improved cast-iron steering knuckles, and beefier front upper control arms. Stopping power comes from the SUV's larger-than-usual brakes - the Rubicon 392 has 14-inch rotors instead of the Rubicon's typical 13.4-inchers. A 2.0-inch lift is standard.

    Jeep has given the model an Off-Road Plus button that lets you lock the rear of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 while it's in four-wheel drive high gear. This functionality will prove especially helpful to desert trekking enthusiasts who get slippery sand under the tires but have to keep up their forward motion so they don't sink and get stuck.

    It's also Moab-ready. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 doesn't have the Rock-Trac transfer case that's in the typical Rubicon, but it makes up for it with the availability of low-end torque courtesy of the new V8. Add in the standard Select-Trac transfer case, locking rear differentials, and front sway bar disconnect and adventuring on rocks just became more manageable.

    The entire rig rides on 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires that sit at all four corners one 17-inch beadlock-capable tires.

    Jeep has given the SUV 11 features that are normally options on Wrangler, nine color choices for buyers to pick from, and bronze colored accents. At the center of the dashboard is an n8.4-inch infotainment screen that allows Jeep Off-Road Pages to be viewed.

    Mopar will offer factory-based accessories with the model.

    The new Jeep is expected to arrive at dealerships in the first quarter of this year.

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