2020 Hyundai Venue SEL in Stellar Silver

The Hyundai Venue entry level SUV is technically a sub-compact SUV – the smallest in the lineup.  Expecting big things from this small package, Hyundai refers to it as an “Urban Small SUV with Big City Hustle”. 

Just 5-inches shorter than its more versatile Kona compact SUV sibling, Hyundai is targeting urban dwellers directly with Venue.  Offering a starting price under $20,000,  Venue has an array of features and amenities desired by today’s active city lifestyles.

We think they got it mostly right.  For the person or persons who spend most of their time in and around urban environs with an occasional foray onto the highway, it appears to work.

Hyundai recently loaned us a new 2020 Hyunidai Venue SEL trim level for a week to see what we thought.

Our test Venue came in a Stellar Silver exterior with Gray on Gray interior.  Not the most exciting color for an ‘Urban’ SUV, but colors like Scarlett Red Pearl, Green Apple, Intense Blue and even a Denim are available.



There are two packages available for the SEL – Convenience and Premium.  Together, they contain elements and features we would want on a Venue.

The Venue SEL MSRP is $19,250.  Adding the two packages we mentioned plus some Carpeted Floor mats, our test vehicle delivered for $23,405.

Let’s take a look.


Under the hood of the front-wheel-drive Venue is the standard 1.6L Dual Port Fuel Injected 4-cylinder delivering 121 horsepower with 113 lb.-ft. of torque. It is mated to a Hyundai developed Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) with gate-type Shiftronic and Hill Start Assist Control.

To enhance performance, Venue is equipped also with Drive Mode Select settings: Normal, Sport and Snow.  Normal was a bit light for our taste. Sport is much better – but do not look for sport coupe performance from this powertrain.

You are not paying for it and are not getting it.

However, for everyday local and occasional highway driving, the compact ‘Urban’ Venue SUV confidently gets you there and back.  Actually, quite comfortably as well.

NOTE:  When merging onto the freeway or changing lanes at speed, remember to give that 18-wheeler next to you an extra couple of truck lengths for you to get up to merging speed. Same goes for passing on the highway.  At 70 mph, Venue does not have a lot of reserve power.  Plan to be out in the passing lane for a while.


Mechanical features include Column Mounted Motor Driven Power Steering, ABS Brakes w/11-inch ventilated disc front and 10.3-inch rear. Suspension is MacPherson Strut w/Coil Springs and Stabilizer Bar front and Coupled Torsion Beam Axle w/Twin Tube Shock Absorbers rear.

Standard wheels on the SEL are 15-inch alloy.  Our SEL came with the optional 17-inch alloy mounted w/205/55R17 all-season tires.

Supporting systems included Electronic Stability w/Traction Control, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution w/Brake Assist and Vehicle Stability Management.

NOTE:  We found our Venue SEL firmly planted on the road under all conditions we tested.  It drives bigger than it appears.  It holds the road nicely with firm braking and stable cornering.

Those who know our Lake Travis area near Austin, are familiar with the Lime Creek Road hill climb (8.8 road miles) from Volente on the lake to FM 1431 above.  Posted speeds are 15 mph switchbacks, 20 mph curves and ‘up to’ 45 mph straight stretches. 

Driving the hill in Sport Mode, we comfortably ran the switchbacks above 20 mph, curves above 30 mph – all while fairly easily maintaining 45 mph on straight stretches.

Not a sport sedan, but still nicely done.


The all-new Venue features a ‘Palisade’ looking Cascading Chrome Grille that caused us to refer to it as ‘mini-Palisade’ at our first look.

Distinctive features include Black Window Mount Moldings, Roof Side Rails, Body Color Bumpers and Door Handles, Automatic Headlight Control, Cube Shaped LED Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights and LED Taillights, Body Color Heated Side Mirrors, Tinted Glass and Intermittent Windshield Wipers.


Venue has a reasonably ‘roomy’ cabin that is rated for five.  Headroom front and rear is right around 39-inches with Shoulder room front/rear just shy of 54-inches.  Legroom up front is decent at 41.3-inches but only 34.3-inches in the rear seats. 

Long rides in the back seat for tall people not recommended.

NOTE: Tall and/or larger folks will find the ‘B-pillar’ impedes easy entry and exit of the front row seating in Venue. It is a bit annoying until you figure out a ‘twist and drop’ maneuver that works for you to make entry and exit easier. A couple of days to finesse your moves should be sufficient.

Interior materials are basic hard surface as you might expect.  But their clever use of varying surface textures and color shading gives it a nice overall look.

Seating up front is not exceptional, but plenty sufficient for an everyday driver. The seating surfaces are a good quality cloth and comfortable.  Only the driver seat is adjustable (6-way manual) but both seats are heated.  Rear seating is 60/40 folding.

Other features include a Tilt and Telescoping Steering Wheel w/Audio and Cruise Controls, Center Front Console w/Dual Cupholders, Sliding Armrest Storage Box, Automatic Temperature Control w/Cabin Filter and Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel and Shift Knob.

A plus is a nice sized Power Tilt/Slide Sunroof.

A manual hatch reveals a pretty decent sized cargo space behind the second row. It has a two-stage cargo floor and offers a surprising 18.7 cubic feet of space. With rear seats down, the cargo space is 31.9 cubic feet.

Technology / Infotainment

A bright and crisp 8-inch touchscreen w/Navigation anchored the Technology/Infotainment system in our Venue SEL.  A 6-speaker audio system delivered the infotainment in the cabin.

Features included AM/FM/HD and SiriusXM radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, Smartphone USB input jacks, Dual USB Charging, 12-volt Power Point and Bluetooth Hands-Free w/Voice Recognition phone.

Other elements were a Digital Clock, Remote Keyless Entry, Proximity Key w/Push Button Start and Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car Services.


Hyundai Smart Sense safety systems of note in Venue are Forward Collision Avoidance Assist w/Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear View Camera and Tire Pressure Monitoring.

The optional packages added Blind-Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Warning.

NOTE: To our surprise – standard on this entry level vehicle – Driver Attention Warning.


Venue is covered by the Hyundai Assurance program that includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile (fully transferable) new vehicle limited warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

Plus, Venue comes with a 3-year/ 36,000-mile Complimentary Maintenance program.

2020 Hyundai Venue Lineup

The entry level Venue SE has an MSRP of $17,350 and comes with a 6-speed manual transmission.  The SE is available with the IVT transmission for (MSRP) $18,550.

Next is the SEL trim – likely the volume seller – starting at MSRP $19,250.   Two packages are available for the SEL, Convenience ($1,150) and Premium ($1,750).  As noted, our test Venue was so equipped.  We think they will be popular adds to the SEL. 

The top-of-the-line is the Venue Denim with an MSRP $22,050.  It includes all of the SEL plus an exclusive Denim color, contrasting White Roof and Denim cloth/leatherette interior.

Check out the new 2020 Hyundai Venue here: https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en/vehicles/venue

KEY DATA:   2020 Hyundai Venue SEL   

  • Model:                              Venue
  • Trim                                  SEL
  • Class:                               Sub-Compact SUV
  • Seating:                             Five
  • MSRP:                               $19,250          
  • As Tested:                         $23,405
  • Engine:                              1.6L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower:                     121 @ 6,300 rpm
  • Torque:                             113 lb.-ft. @4,500 rpm
  • Transmission:                   IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission)
  • Drive System:                    FWD
  • Wheel size                        17-inch
  • Fuel Economy                   30/34/32 mpg    city/highway/combined
  • Fuel Tank                           11.9 gallons
  • Range                                Just under 400 miles Combined