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What is it?

Do I love Hyundai’s new Venue?

I ask, because every time I thought of the name, Dean Martin’s That’s Amore entered my mind: ‘Venue valk in a dream, but you know you’re not dreaming, signore . . .’ and so on.

Oh dear.

Love might be a bit strong, but there’s certainly a lot to like in the subcompact SUV, which is likely to find favour with young and old alike.

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What’s it cost?

Good looking, with chunky lines and sold in three models, it’s attractively priced from $19,990.

 For that money you get the Go.The upspec Active is $21,490 and the top model, the Elite, costs $25,490.

All come standard with Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite, which includes  Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist and tyre-pressure monitoring.

As well, all get an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a reversing camera, a 3.5-inch TFT driver’s multifunction display, six airbags, and daytime-running lights.

That’s decent kit but if you want LED running lights, alloy wheels, a leather-rimmed steering wheel, rear parking sensors and a better audio system, you need to go the the Active.

The Elite, which runs on bigger (17-inch) and particularly attractive alloys, has even more: two-tone paint, 17-inch alloys, a chrome grille, LED taillights, rear privacy glass, leather-like bolstered seats,  satellite navigation with live traffic updates, DAB+ digital radio, climate control, a USB charge outlet, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

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What’s it go like?

All have the same powertrain, a 90kW/151Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, as used in the outgoing Accent hatch, and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission in Go and Active. The Elite, as reviewed. is an auto-only.

It’s a slightly smaller car than the Kona and also has a suspension system, Macstrut front and torsion beam tail, tuned for Australian conditions.

One of the big attractions is the ease of getting in and out of the cutie, something older folk appreciate, and once inside it has a lot of headroom too, so you can wear your hat in it, with space to spare.

It’s just 4m in length and has a tight turning circle, so it easily slots into parking bays or suburban garages – and it’s a tad taller than the bigger Kona.

There’s ample room front and rear for four adults and it has more cargo space (355 litres) than most, plus the rear backrests can be folded down to extend the luggage area.

It’s super-easy to drive.

Instrumentation is good and clear, visibility is excellent all round and you don’t need a course in IT to to navigate the tablet-style multifunction display.

The power output looks pretty ordinary, but the Venue has a mass of only about 1200kg, so it has no hassle keeping up with the traffic.

In fact, while it doesn’t exactly scorch off the line, it builds up to camera-tripping speed in a remarkably short time — and does so quietly.

The interior is actually quieter than in many bigger and more expensive vehicles.

While it will probably be used mainly in urban conditions, where its auto shifter does a fine job, it’s more than happy to cruise the highways, loping along contentedly and economically at the state limit.

The more adventurous can select from Normal, Eco and Sport transmission modes, and it also has a traction control feature should you feel inclined to tackle some mud or sand.

I’ve no doubt the Venue can handle that sort of stuff, but think of the muck that will cling to those nice alloy wheels. 

The official average fuel consumption figures are 7.0L/100km for the manual and 7.2 for the auto.

We averaged 7.8 in seven days of  mainly suburban driving, with one run to the airport. Can’t complain about that.

Another carrot for buyers is the upgraded warranty: seven years, unlimited distance.

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What we like?

  • Classy two-tone paint
  • Economy
  • Standard features
  • Huge warranty
  • Comfort
  • Quiet interior

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What we don’t like?

  • Spacesaver spare

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The bottom line?

Easy to live with, and promising of a Dean Martin-like ‘vita bella’. 

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CHECKOUT: Small Venue larger inside than it looks

CHECKOUT: More airbags to come — Hyundai

 

Hyundai Venue, priced from $19,990
  • 8/10
    Looks - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Performance - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Safety - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Thirst - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Comfort - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Tech - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Value - 8.5/10
8.1/10

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.