Bookending the Hyundai Palisade full-size SUV introduced a few months ago, the Korean automaker filled in the slot at the other end of the SUV market with the world debut of the subcompact Venue, today at the New York International Auto Show.
The entry-level SUV wears Hyundai's new face, first seen on the Kona, and the rest of the vehicle has a strong family resemblance to the other six SUVs the company offers, with accented wheel arches and a character line that extends into the rear tail lamps. Steel 15-inch wheels are standard, with optional 17-inch alloy rims available.
Riding on a 99.2-inch wheelbase, the Venue is 158.9 inches long, about five inches shorter than the next-smallest Hyundai SUV, the Kona. Cargo capacity is 18.7 cubic feet, which opens up to 31.9 cubic feet with the 60/40 split and flat-folding rear seat folded down. A dual level cargo floor can accommodate taller items when needed.
Recognizing that many small businesses use SUVs, Hyundai is hyping the Venue as “empower(ing) urban entrepreneur lifestyles,” with references to farmers' markets and musicians' equipment. Small business owners or not, consumers today expect the latest technology and connectivity features. The Venue comes with an 8-inch color touch screen for controlling the infotainment system that features standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Optional tech features include navigation for that 8-inch screen with real time traffic information, Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation, and the Blue Link Connected Car System integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can use your Amazon Echo or Google Home device to start your car from home with a voice command. Other tech options are dual USB ports with fast charging, a rear camera, heated front seats and side mirrors, and a 3.5-inch TFT digital instrument cluster display.
Advanced safety and driver assist systems include camera-based forward collision avoidance assist, lane keep assist that senses road markings, blind spot collision warning, driver attention warning that monitors for driver fatigue and inattention, rear cross traffic alert, and drive modes with a new snow mode.
The Venue will be powered by Hyundai's 1.6-liter four-cylinder that has been upgraded for improved fuel economy and reduced NVH. Changes include optimized port and valve shapes, a cross-flow cooling system, dual-port electronic fuel injection, Integrated Thermal Management System that prioritizes coolant flow for better passenger warming in cold weather and better engine cooling in hot weather, and a High Ignition Energy EGR system with external cooler for better gas mileage.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard while Hyundai's first in-house-developed CVT is optional. Hyundai estimates 33 miles per gallon on the EPA combined cycle. Power and performance data has not yet been released.
The Venue will be available in eight “fun, youthful colors,” including Denim, which can be matched with a leatherette and denim fabric interior. Shades of the Levi's Edition Gremlin. Other interior choices are gray or black cloth. Privacy glass, a power sunroof, and a two-tone roof are also optional.
If you're wondering about the Venue's name, other Hyundai SUVs have had place names, like Tucson, Santa Fe, Kona, and Palisade. Hyundai named its new little crossover “Venue” to reference a place where people want to be, no matter where they are.