Venue that can handle all crowds
Australians, take a look at your new Holden Commodore. Or Ford Falcon if you have blue blood in the veins.
Crossovers, the combination of faux four-wheel drives and mainstream hatches, are dominating driveways across the nation.
The Hyundai Venue is the perfect example of a changing automotive landscape.
This month we saw Holden knife the Commodore and announce its portfolio will be exclusively SUVs and utes. Apart from stocking the Mirage hatch, Mitsubishi has done the same. The Venue will ultimately replace the Accent as Hyundai’s entry to the brand.
It starts from $23,634 drive-away for the base model Go variant, but our experience was in the top-spec derivative which requires another $6000.
Sitting atop the range ensures the Elite gets the best of what’s on offer, with 17-inch alloys (up from 15), two-tone roof and climate control, as well as an eight-inch touchscreen armed with smartphone mirroring apps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Currently Hyundai is offering a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty, which matches the benchmark first set by sister company Kia. The standard warranty is five years.
Pre-paid servicing is now available, with options for three ($884), four ($1358) or five years ($1623). Those prices are low in comparison to competitors, but it’s always best to check the list of inclusions to avoid nasty surprises as some fluids and filters are not included.
The only standard colour is white, with the likes silver, blue, grey, red, yellow, denim and black costing an extra $510. Depending on the primary colour, there are corresponding roof options which vary between white, black and yellow.
Australia’s safety gurus ANCAP are yet to release official crash test results, but Hyundai believes it will only gain four stars as it falls short on some technical criteria.
Rest assured it is still a far better proposition than the Accent (which still carries a five-star rating from back in 2011), being armed with blind spot warning, high beam assist, rear cross traffic alert and lane keeping assist, as well as the life-saving autonomous emergency braking that can help the driver avoid or lessen the impact of a frontal collision.
The key item missing from the repertoire is radar cruise control.
Sitting high is a key reason many buyers want a SUV. Combine that with a high roof and the Venue feels roomier than the dimensions dictate.
The liberal use of plastics is a reminder of the Venue’s showroom positioning.
Having the smartphone mirroring apps partnered to the touchscreen plays a pivotal role in delivering an easy-to-navigate dash and console.
There’s nothing too complicated, along with spaces for phones in front of the gear shifter and two USB points. Big ticks there from the younger brigade.
Those in the back will find headroom fine but space for the long-legged is restricted. There’s also an absence of rear air vents.
Before lurching onto the accelerator it’s important to remember the Venue’s intentions.
An urbanite by nature, it’s configured to a price with the primary goals of being frugal on the juice, manoeuvrable and easy to park.
Averaging just over seven litres for 100km the Venue is no miser, and there are plenty of others around which sip less fuel, but being a non-turbo four-cylinder ensures the upkeep cost is low.
Even the tightest of carparks are handled with ease courtesy of light steering and the Venue’s small footprint — it’s just over four metres long and weighs about 1200kg.
At home around town, the Venue battles to keep pace on the highway. Geared to provide strong performance at low speeds, it struggles when you extend the ankle and ask for a speedy response.
When the going gets twisty it responds well while feeling capable and composed during rapid changes in direction.
There is a traction control button for snow, mud or sand driving … this is really for illustration purposes only as the Venue’s best left on bitumen.
There is a reasonable size boot that can easily swallow a large suitcase plus some extra bags. The 355 litres is not far off the capacity of its bigger Kona (361) sibling and better than a CX-3 (264).
Riding high is my aim, and the Venue has all the space I need.
Funky looks won me over, the performance may not be scintillating but I look good sitting in traffic
MITSUBISHI ASX ES ADAS $29,240 D/A
Just updated, the latest changes are small but the value proposition remains. This variant currently comes with a seven-year warranty and free servicing for two years. Also no performance star, powered by a 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre 4-cyl.
MAZDA CX-3 STOURING $30,335 D/A
Among the top-selling SUVs in Australia, runs a 110kW/195 2.0-litre 4-cyl six-speed auto. Stylish and safe, with low speed AEB and great fuel economy. Biggest bugbear is a small boot, but a slightly larger CX-30 is coming soon.
Brimming with style and modern appeal, the Venue will find favour with a wide audience. Good looks and solid tech inclusions tick the vital boxes. Those who like a rapid under-bonnet response would be best to step up into the turbocharged Kona realm.
AT A GLANCE
HYUNDAI VENUE ELITE
PRICE $29,600 drive-away (not bad)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 7 yrs/u’ltd km (until Dec 31), $1575 for 5 yrs (good)
ENGINE 1.6-litre 4-cyl, 90kW/ 151Nm (no firecracker)
THIRST 7.2L/100km (little thirsty)
SPARE Space-saver (standard for size)
BOOT 355L (reasonable)
SAFETY 6 airbags, AEB, rear camera and sensors, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert (good)