An all-new small SUV, the Hyundai Venue launched into the SA new car market earlier this week. Double Apex attended the national media ride and drive event hosted in the Western Cape.

Hyundai SA has capitalised on the recent popularity of SUVs by offering one in just about every segment, and to suit most budgets. The latest model to join the family is a new offering, called the Venue. This is an all-new model for the brand and fits in below the B-segment Kona and Creta.

Click here to learn more about the Hyundai Kona.

Family looks

The Hyundai Venue (a strange name, I know) has been designed to convey a bold appearance. Squared-off panels and chunky lines, help create the impression of solidity. Two-part lights, with the indicator on the bonnet edges and main headlamps on the bumper, are similar in design execution to the Kona.

At nearly four metres in length and 1 770 mm wide the newcomer is compact in nature, certainly on the outside. 195 mm of ground clearance ensure that the Venue will tackle the harshest of kerbs outside the local mall or on the school run. Hyundai paid particular attention to interior space, so despite those pert exterior dimensions, there is space in the cabin for five. Small details, such as sculpting the front seatbacks and contouring the rear bench seat have all helped created a bit more space for occupants. Hyundai also claims boot volume of 350 litres.

Three variants

For the SA market Hyundai has opted to launch three Venue derivatives titled Motion, Fluid, and Glide. With each successive model specification levels increase. The entry-level Motion is fitted with 15-inch steel wheels while the higher-spec siblings ride on 16-inch alloys. At the very least, all Venues comes with air-conditioning, electric windows, anti-lock brakes, an electronic stability program, hill-holder with hill-start assist, dual front airbags, remote controls on the steering wheel and keyless entry among others.

One engine, two transmissions

All Venue derivatives are powered by the same, inline three-cylinder engine. The small turbocharged mill develops 88 kW along with 172 N.m of torque. This unit can be mated with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. You can choose either transmission in Motion or Fluid trim, but the Glide model is exclusively an automatic. Hyundai quotes combined cycle fuel consumption of 6,5 L/100 km for the manual-equipped cars and 6,9 for the DCT versions.

Hitting the road

Hyundai chose the Western Cape for the national introduction of its newest model. Our first steer was a manual-equipped Fluid derivative. We headed up the N2 and over Sir Lowry’s pass for the first leg of the trip. First impressions of the cabin were favourable, though both front occupants would have preferred seats that dropped lower (the passenger side isn’t heught adjustable).

On the motorway we were pleasantly surprised by the small car’s grown-up ride quality. The small engine does need lots of coaxing to make quick progress, particularly when heading uphill. That means there is plenty of rowing of the manual shifter. After a lunch stop in the idyllic Franshhoek area we hopped into a top-spec derivative, equipped with the automated transmission. Form the moment we set off I knew that this is the combination to have. A more closely spaced set of gear ratios, and a smooth shift action are ideally suited to the character and intended usage patterns of this car. It will also be far more user-friendly/less stressful in traffic.

Summary

Hyundai has made no secret of the fact that it is targetting the likes of VW’s recently launched T-Cross with the Venue. Others in its sights include the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport. As a rival for those models, the Venue delivers. It’s modern, chunky aesthetic combined with good standard specification, comprehensive warranty and service plan makes it an extremely attractive alternative in the segment.

Pricing

Hyundai Venue 1,0 Motion (man) R274 900

Hyundai Venue 1,0 (DCT) R304 900

Hyundai Venue 1,0 Fluid (man) R309 900

Hyundai Venue 1,0 (DCT) R339 900

Hyundai Venue 1,0 Glide (DCT) R369 900

Prices include a three-year/45 000 km service plan, five-year/150 000 km manufacturer’s warranty with an additional two years/50 000 km on the powertrain.