What stands out?

The bold-looking Hyundai Venue is the Korean carmaker’s smallest SUV and one of most affordable crossovers on the market. It seats five (just) and is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine. All Venues are equipped with autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

What might bug me?

Wincing when you accelerate; the Venue’s 1.6 litre petrol engine is suited to city driving, however it’s a little lacklustre on open roads and revs like mad when you put the foot down.

That there are bigger and more powreful SUVs that consume less fuel than the Venue, whose 1.6-litre engine has an official combined fuel economy of about 7.0 litres/100km.

Knowing that a gutsier 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine is offered in Venues sold overseas. It reaches peak power much lower in the rev range, which helps improve performance and fuel economy.

Having to drive no faster than 80km/h after replacing a flat tyre. The Venue is equipped with a narrow space-saving spare wheel that’s designed to get you to a tyre repairer.

What body styles are there?

Five-door SUV-style wagon only.

All Venues drive only their front wheels. The Venue is classed as a small SUV, lower priced.

What features do all Venues have?

An 8.0-inch touchscreen from which you can control the six-speaker audio system. Sound sources include an AM/FM radio, aux and USB input, and Bluetooth phone calls and audio streaming. Controls on the steering wheel for the audio system.

Support for Android Auto and Apple Carplay that let you display apps from your smartphone, including maps, on the car’s touchscreen and operate them from there.

Autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist and driver attention alert, which are all part of Hyundai’s SmartSense active safety package.

Cruise control, air conditioning and a reversing camera.

Headlights that turn on automatically when it’s getting dark, high-beam assist that dips the lights when it senses another vehicle ahead, and halogen daytime running lights.

Roof rails, which make it easier to fit rooftop luggage systems.

Hill-start assist, which operates the brakes automatically to make take-offs on steep hills easier, and downhill brake control.

A temporary space-saving spare tyre, and a tyre pressure monitor that warns you if a tyre has lost air (this can give you extra time to get a slow-leaking puncture seen to).

Six airbags. Electronic stability control, which can help you control a skidding car. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Venue safety features, please open the Safety section below.)

Every Hyundai Venue carries a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

There is only one engine available in the Hyundai Venue range, a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol available with a choice of six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions.

The manual and automatic versions consume 7.0 litres/100km and 7.2 litres/100km on the official test (city and country combined) respectively. As well as being slightly more efficient (on paper at least), the manual is $1500 cheaper than the auto and feels a little zippier.

A reason you wouldn’t choose the manual version is you prefer the convenience of the automatic transmission.

Another reason is you want all the features available in the Venue Elite, which is only available with the automatic.

(Power outputs and all other Venue specifications are available from the Cars Covered menu, under the main image on this page.)

What key features do I get if I spend more?

The Venue comes in three equipment levels; Go, Active and Elite, which are each powered by the 1.6-litre petrol engine.

The least costly Go specification includes 15-inch streel wheels with plastic hubcaps, cloth seat trim, manual gearbox, four-speaker audio system and the features available in all Konas. Spending about $1500 more will bring the more convenient automatic transmission.

Upgrading to the Active brings 15-inch aluminium alloy wheels, rear parking sensors (that help you judge how far the bumper is from obstacles), longer-lasting LED indicators and daytime running lights, power folding external mirrors, centre console armrest, leather-appointed steering wheel and gear knob, and six-speaker audio.

Like the Go, the Active comes with the manual gearbox as standard, with the auto costing about $1500 extra.

The Elite comes with the automatic gearbox as standard and gains premium cloth seats with side bolsters that better support your hips, rear privacy glass, LED headlights, and climate control air-conditioning that lets you set a temperature for the cabin.

The infotainment system gains inbuilt sat-nav so you don’t have to rely on your phone’s navigation apps, and an extra USB charging socket. Blind-spot monitor, and rear-cross traffic alert are added to the active safety package.

Wheel diameter grows to 17 inches, and the correspondingly lower profile tyres look sportier and sharpen the steering slightly.

The Elite also differs externally with two-tone paint and side mirrors, and you can choose between three no-cost interior trim colour options.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

The Venue Go and Active versions ride more comfortably on their 15-inch wheels than the Elite on its 17s, because the lower profile tyres on the bigger wheels have less rubber and air to cushion the wheels from the road.

Polar White is the only standard colour. The other six hues cost extra.

How comfortable is it?

The Hyundai Venue is reasonably spacious for a car of this size. There's adequate legroom as long as the front seats aren't pushed all the way back and there is decent headroom.

The cabin is similar to the Hyundai i30, but even the top-spec Elite lacks some of the hatchback’s creature comforts.

Noise and vibration levels can get high due to wind and tyre noise, while the ride quality on the Australian-tuned suspension is surprisingly comfortable.

What about safety in a Venue?

Anti-lock brakes, stability control, six airbags, a reversing camera, and seatbelt reminders for all positions are solid safety fundamentals in all Hyundai Venues.

The airbags are in the usual places: two directly in front of the driver and front passenger; one alongside each front occupant at chest level to protect from side impacts; and a curtain airbag down each side protecting the heads of front and rear occupants.

The Venue has ISOFIX child seat anchor points in each of the outboard rear seats, and three top tethers.

All Venues have active safety as part of the Hyundai SmartSense package, including lane keeping assist, which acts on the steering to help you stay within lane marking. Autonomous-emergency-braking (AEB) warns you of obstacles in front of the car, such as a slower vehicle, and applies the brakes automatically if you do not react. The Venue’s AEB system will bring it to stop from speeds up to 75km/h, and mitigates the impact of a collision at higher speeds.

Hyundai SmartSense in the most expensive Venue, the Elite, also includes blind spot warning detection that alerts you if a vehicle in an adjacent lane is approaching from behind. Rear cross-traffic alert warns that something is crossing your path while you’re reversing, which could save you from car-park bingles.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is to assess the Hyundai Venue

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

The Venue handles well for a compact SUV but doesn’t exactly offer a spirited driving experience, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine best suited to city driving.

Its timid performance means you won’t be getting anywhere in a great hurry on the open road. The transmission needs to rev pretty high to get the most power from the engine, which makes it feel thrashy when accelerating.

As is now traditional for Hyundai, the Venue has been given a specific Australian suspension tune to make it better suited to local roads. The ride is surprisingly well sorted, and absorbent of bigger bumps. Steering is weightier than you would expect in a small vehicle like this and feels direct when you turn into corners.

There are a trio of drive modes (normal, eco, and sport), that change the throttle and transmission mapping as desired. You’re best keeping the Venue in normal though, as sport results in the gearbox becoming hyperactive, while eco makes the Venue feel like it’s driving through honey. Three traction modes of snow, mud, and sand are also standard, which seems a tad redundant for a low-riding front-drive soft-roader.

How is life in the rear seats?

The Venue is reasonably spacious for such a small car. Legroom is adequate as long as the front seats aren’t pushed all the way back and there’s enough headroom for all but the tallest passengers.

The rear bench seats five, but it would be a very tight squeeze for three adults. If you have small children there ISOFIX anchor points in each of the outboard seats, and three top tethers.

There are bottle holders in each rear door, and map pockets behind both front seats. Front and side vision is very good even for little people.

How is it for carrying stuff?

With the second-row seats upright, the Venue’s cargo bay holds 355-litres with cover in place, which is just 6.0-litres less than its bigger Kona sibling. Boot capacity is helped by the two-stage boot floor which can be lowered. The parcel shelf can be tucked away neatly behind the rear seats with ease to accommodate taller items.

Manual Venues have a handy 1100kg braked towing capacity that's suitable to haul a medium-sized trailer, while the automatic versions can tow an 800kg trailer with brakes. Maximum towball weight is 50kg with either transmission.

Where does Hyundai make the Venue?

Hyundai Venues sold in Australia are built in South Korea.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

The Venue is almost in a class of its own being smaller and more affordable than all its compact-SUV rivals, except for the little Suzuki Ignis.

That said you’d probably appreciate a more powerful turbocharged petrol engine as available in the Hyundai Kona, Citroen C3 Aircross, Ford Focus Active, MG ZS, Peugeot 2008 and Suzuki S Cross.

Other small crossovers you may want to consider include the Mazda CX-3 and Subaru XV.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

One of the key reasons to choose the Hyundai Venue is it’s low pricing, so you’re not gaining too much of an advantage by opting for the range-topping Elite version. The entry-level Venue Go is a bit too Spartan for our liking however, which makes the mid-spec Active with the automatic gearbox the value buy of the range.

Are there plans to update this model soon?

The Hyundai Venue went on sale in Australia in September 2019 for the 2020 model year.

Apart from minor equipment upgrades and special editions we’re unlikely we’ll see any significant changes before 2021.