Our Rides: The Right SUV/Crossover For City Living?
What is the biggest challenge when you’re a city dweller? If you’re a car owner, it’s the limited amount of parking available to you.
Anywhere in Minneapolis and St. Paul, you may drive for hours finding an on-street spot that is near your home, your favorite grocery store, or your favorite dining spot.
Let’s not forget about the off-street spot you coveted – and, sometimes, pay extra for – in a building that was built to handle a few Ford Model T’s or Chevrolets from the 1920s.
Over time, there had been plenty of solutions for urban vehicular ownership. Small hatchbacks that may accommodate the weekly grocery run, but they fall short at the furniture store. Rather, small vehicles that make the run to the nightclub or concert one for a trip to the chiropractor afterwards.
There must be a solution. One that not only fit your parking space, but it won’t break the bank.
Over the years, I presented several of them to you in these pages. Some of which are no longer available as new vehicles – not because of supply chain issues and production pauses. You can find them as used cars.
However, if you insist on a new vehicle with a fresh warranty, there is something g you can put on your shopping list: The Hyundai Venue.
Introduced just over two years ago, the smallest SUV sold in this country found homes where parking is a premium. The Venue also became great first new vehicles for all ages – even those of us who just got their driver’s license.
Hyundai found serendipity in their cheerful Venue. So much so, I had to reacquaint myself with one and put it through its paces – work, included.
A quick synopsis of what the 2022 Hyundai Venue is all about: It is seven inches longer than a MINI Cooper 2-door Hardtop, has four doors and a generous cargo hold for its size.
Under the hood is a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, connected to an Intelligent Variable Transmission driving the front wheels. While all-wheel drive is not available on the Venue, opting for the SEL and Limited trims adds a Snow mode to get you through those days where the plows have not come down your block.
The tester I worked with is the Limited model in a medium-dark gray paint job and a black contrasting roof. The Limited replaced the Denim model, which was a launch trim a couple of years ago. It is really a no-nonsense design with a huge grille up front, lighting units to the side and just a simple, daily-use approach all around the exterior.
This Limited model is well-equipped, offering heated front seats and upgraded infotainment system, an upgraded Front Collision-Avoidance Assist feature with added Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, and complete LED lighting.
For a vehicle of its size and price, the Venue offers plenty of amenities for the consumer. This Limited model has Automatic Temperature Control, making things livable year-round. It has a nice analog instrument cluster for easy reading and easy-to-use switches and controls. Overall interior quality is quite good, too.
One should not expect a host of advanced features that would spoil you and might cost thousands of dollars more. You drive a Hyundai Venue for the necessities of life – and, then some.
How it drives is just, well, fine. Around town, the Venue is quite zippy. There may be more powerful vehicles sharing the road, but the Venue will hold its own. Acceleration is fine on city streets, as well as braking and steering. It can handle the hazards just fine – such as maneuvering through construction zones, getting around potholes, and just plain parking – on and off the street.
What if you have to do some serious mileage? The Venue certainly can get up to highway speeds, and the IVT is quite responsive to enable good acceleration while passing and changing lanes. While cruising, the steering will need some control to stay in the lane. You also have just cruise control and not a fancy adaptive system that paces you behind slower drivers.
While I hustled the Venue across town and all around, I averaged 32.2 MPG. That’s just above the Environmental Protection Agency’s stated average for this vehicle.
No matter where you go, the cloth seating surfaces frame a very supportive seat that is fatigue-free. You sink in-between the bolsters while shagging the Venue wherever you need to go. Rear seat room is better suited for two people. There is ample headroom, but leg room can be limited if you’re a taller person.
The one thing you’ll love is the expandable cargo space. There is 18.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats. You can remove the cargo cover and slide it behind those seats, as well as lower the floor for more depth. If you do lower the seats, your cargo volume will grow to 31.9 cubic feet. However, the load floor is not completely flat to manage longer items.
With three trim levels to choose from, the 2022 Hyundai venue lineup starts at $19,000. Our Limited tester came with a sticker price of $23,530.
Where the Venue makes sense to the consumer is its value. According to Kelley Blue Book, it has a low ownership cost. Cars.com points out that the Venue’s value is among the best in the marketplace. These are just a couple of examples of the praise the Hyundai Venue received.
Because of the positive feedback, sales of the Hyundai Venue are trending upwards. Granted, it does not sell in volumes along the lines of its larger siblings – namely, the brand-leading Tucson SUV. It does have a solid following of owners that see the value and cost of ownership as their justification in buying one.
This is all you get in a 2022 Hyundai Venue – an SUV made for city living. Perhaps, suburban or small town life, too.