You’d think that the Hyundai range has every model it could possibly take to fill every niche in the motoring landscape, but you’d be wrong. The new Hyundai Venue, despite being almost as large as the Hyundai Kona, slips in underneath via lower pricing.
The Kona starts at $31,490 while the Venue begins at $27,990 (special launch price, stepping up to $29,990 after the offer expires) which gives Hyundai’s SUV range an entry level step into the range. The idea, as it is with virtually every other car maker, is to retain loyal buyers by giving them a moderately seamless path to buy larger and more expensive models every time the owner decides to trade in their current ride.
And that price point is a major consideration when looking at the Venue. Hyundai has earned a well-regarded reputation for producing high quality cars, but while the Venue is certainly solidly constructed there are a few pointers as to where money has been saved.
There’s no soft touch trim in the cabin, for example, and there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of sound proofing in the vehicle. A ride on the motorway at 100km/h results in a lot of intrusive engine noise, and there’s an annoying amount of road noise when driving on typical New Zealand coarse chip roads.
But get beyond that and the Venue looks like a good little package. There’s a six-speed traditional automatic gearbox rather than the more common, and generally horrific, CVT gearboxes. The suspension has been tuned to Australian tastes, and that translates over to New Zealand well, with a good ride and handling combination.
The range is a simple two spec levels, with the entry level Venue and a top spec Venue Elite. The entry level Venue is priced at $29,990 while the Elite is $33,990. But both cars are also being sold at a “special launch price” of $27,990 and $31,990 respectively. There is effectively no end to the special pricing, with Hyundai NZ General manager Andy Sinclair vowing to keep the pricing “as long as we can.”
The engine is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol, producing 90kW/151Nm and while it feels out of its depths on the open road it’s enough to pull the Venue around in urban areas.
And it’s those urban areas that Hyundai targeted with the car. There were bold claims at the launch that the Venue was the first small SUV designed for city life, which is debatable, but the Venue is good in built up areas.
There’s good visibility out of the car thanks to large windows and reasonably thin A pillars, although the view from the centre rear view mirror reveals a letter box sized and shaped rear view. There’s a standard reversing camera that cures that and the standard safety package includes forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and driver alert warning. The Elite gains blind spot collision warning and rear cross traffic collision warning.
Inside, the driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive and there’s a good amount of interior room up front. The rear seat passengers have a harder time of it, with cramped leg room when the front seats are slid all the way back but there is a fair amount of head room and the seat cushions are high enough so children can see out the windows and not get quite so car sick.
One annoying piece of cost saving is that the mirror on the passenger’s sun visor has no cover, so that when the visor folded down it causes reflections and distractions for the driver.
Both specs get an 8.0-inch with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and reversing camera, as well as a 3.5-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster that can display a wide range of data.
The entry level Venue gets manual air conditioning and a four-speaker sound system, while the Elite gains single zone climate control and an extra two speaker. Strangely, although the Venue does not have heated seats, the Elite has a heated steering wheel. An option on the Elite is a roof with a two-tone roof that really does improve the look of the Venue’s body shape.
The Hyundai venue is a good low rice entry level model for Hyundai, but some features point out just how hard Hyundai had to work to get the price down to that level. Many prospective owners will no doubt care about these though, and what they will get is a manoeuvrable reasonably peppy SUV with a respected badge on the front of it.