First Drive: Small, Affordable 2020 Hyundai Venue SUV

A touch of style helps this little SUV stand out

2020 Hyundai Venue front driving

Update: Since this first drive was originally published in December 2019, we have purchased and evaluated our own Venue.

See the complete Hyundai Venue road test. 

The all-new Hyundai Venue SUV is one of the smallest, most affordable SUVs on the market. Based on the subcompact Accent sedan, the Venue gets clever design cues that help it cut a more attractive profile than most models in its class.

Prices for the Venue span from $17,250 for an SE with a six-speed manual transmission up to $22,050 for a well-equipped SEL, before a $1,095 destination charge. Those who live where snow tends to fall should know that the Venue doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. The Venue’s closest competitor is the Nissan Kicks.

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Before we bought and tested our own, we rented a Venue from Hyundai to learn a little more about this diminutive car. 

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What we rented: 2020 Hyundai Venue Denim
Powertrain: 121-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine; continuously variable transmission; front-wheel drive
MSRP: $21,950
Options: $135 for floor mats.
Destination fee: $1,095
Total cost: $23,180

CR's Take

At first glance, it’s obvious that the Venue has more presence than you’d expect from such a small vehicle and more style than expected from such an inexpensive one.

Our rented Venue was a Denim Edition, which means it came with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as standard, larger wheels, blue-and-white exterior accents, blue interior trim, and leatherette-and-cloth upholstery that looks like a classic pair of Levi’s.

As with slim-fit jeans, the Venue is aimed at younger buyers who care about fashion, fun, and frugality. But the little Hyundai also promises the practicality and comfort of a pair of old work dungarees. We predict that blend will make it popular with drivers of all ages. 

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