New Hyundai Venue driven extensively by Double Apex over the past few weeks.
Hyundai SA launched an all-new nameplate into the local market late in 2019. The small crossover has the slightly odd name of Venue. You can read our launch report at this link. Thanks to the kind folks at the local subsidiary, we spent the better part of the summer break piloting the Hyundai Venue all over the Cape. We covered over 1 400 km behind the wheel, comprising a good mix of urban and open-road driving as we zig-zagged the Cape, mostly acting like tourists in our own town.
Compact dimensions and boxy appearance
Visiting friends, families and tourists to the Cape in the Venue resulted in a barrage of questions: How much does it cost?, how big is the boot? and what’s the drive like? There were also compliments about the car’s appearance. It seems that Hyundai’s decision to apply a squared-off/boxy treatment to the Venue has brought with it interest from guys and girls alike. Well played Hyundai.
The unit in our care was a mid-level Fluid derivative (differentiated by alloy wheels and halogen driving lamps), in manual guise so it costs R309 900. That’s quite competitive by current new car prices. At that price it gives many buyers the option to buy into a crossover rather than a hatchback. Measuring under four metres in length and under 1,8 metres wide, coupled with a tight turning circle, means the Venue can be slotted into tight spots, especially parking spaces, with ease. The standard rear-facing camera was a real help, too.
On the question of the boot size: Hyundai says the Venue has 350 litres carrying capacity. That’s larger than most hatches in the same price bracket and even more voluminous than cars in a size category above. In real terms the boot will swallow a weekend’s worth of luggage for two at a self-catering spot, without the need to fold down the rear seat. Which is just as well because there is no split in the rear bench, it folds down as a single piece.
Forcing the wheels out to the extremities of the car means that there is a plenty of room in the cabin. The space is welcome, as is the standard level of specification. Cloth-covered seats are easy to clean, say if you spill your drink while driving (whoops) and the driver’s seat is height adjustable. Sight lines from the captain’s chair are clear in all directions thanks to the range of adjustments.
An extremely effective (manual) air-conditioning system kept us chilled when temps were high in December. An infotainment system with full mobile phone connectivity (incl CarPlay) ensured that we could stay connected while remaining safe on the road. The sound provided by the six-speaker system was surprisingly boomy, nice if you like your tunes loud.
On the road
All variants in the Venue range are powered by a 1,0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The all-aluminium unit delivers 88 kW of power with peak torque of 172 N.m. Depending on the grade you choose, you can have the engine mated with a six-speed manual (as in our test unit) or a seven-speed automatic transmission. Over the three week review period, the small engine was quite frugal. We averaged 7,1 L/100 km, that’s just a fraction higher than Hyundai’s claim of 6,5.
That power output doesn’t sound very impressive, but the Venue is a relatively light vehicle and the gear ratios in the manual ’box are well suited to exploit the torque on offer. One didn’t have to make too many downshifts on the open road, unless we were trying to make a really speedy overtake. The gear lever is lightly sprung action making it easy to use. However, the clutch action takes a while to master, especially modulation at low revs.
Ride quality through the suspension and plump wheels is admirable. Large road imperfections are easily ironed out making the ride pleasant for all occupants. The short-ish wheelbase was only really felt when taking speed bumps a little too quickly. A light steering action is almost completely devoid of feel, but that’s expected in this class of vehicle.
The small SUV/crossover segment has plenty of options for buyers: Ford EcoSport, Reno Duster, VW T-Cross, Honda BR-V, Toyota CH-R and, now, the Hyundai Venue. It seems that whatever your brand preference/price point there is an option for you. Hyundai SA has ensured that we will see many Venues on the roads as it keenly priced and offers lots as standard.
Would we recommend you buy one? After three weeks and 1 400 km, we can safely say yes. We may opt for an automatic version, particularly as we have to deal with traffic daily, but other than that, there is very little to fault in the Korean newcomer.
Model: Hyundai Venue 1,0T Fluid (man)
Price: R309 900
Engine: 1,0-litre turbocharged inline three
Transmission: six-speed manual, FWD
Max power: 88 kW
Max torque: 172 N.m
Top speed: 183 km/h
0-100 km/h: 11,3 sec
Fuel consumption: 6,5 L/100 km (claimed)/ 7,1 L/100 km (test period)