Still Mum on Venue Pricing, Hyundai Opens Up About Its Baby Crossover

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
still mum on venue pricing hyundai opens up about its baby crossover

Amid splashy introductions like that of the resurrected Toyota Supra, the 2020 Hyundai Venue‘s debut at the New York Auto Show was a different kind of affair. It’s an entry-level vehicle, at least as far as crossovers are concerned, and its lack of all-wheel drive might have some saying it doesn’t even belong in the crossover camp.

In going smaller, slotting an A-segment vehicle below its still-new subcompact Kona, Hyundai says it’s staking a claim in a segment it expects other to populate. Not losing sight of what the Venue is supposed to be meant avoiding AWD like the plague.

Speaking to Automotive News, Michael O’Brien, vice president for product, corporate and digital planning at Hyundai Motor America, said the Venue could easily have bowed with AWD capability.

“We have all the parts,” he said. “We know how to do it.”

Adding AWD would have increased the Venue’s price, causing the model to overlap with its larger Kona stablemate and potentially cannibalize sales. The vehicle would grow in weight, too, lowering the improved fuel economy that serves as a perk for entry-level buyers. Hyundai predicts significant MPGs from its smallest CUV offering (33 mpg combined), and boffo sales, too.

Undoubtedly, Hyundai’s recent sales drubbing has company brass crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. It seems they know the Venue’s appeal will lie in its price, which is why AWD was left off the table.

“The easiest thing for product planners to do is to add. Nobody resists you. ‘Oh, add it, add it, add it.’ And then you have to pay for it, and then the product becomes difficult to afford,” O’Brien said, adding. “Our speculation is that the Venue is going to really take off. I think the idea is just right for the market now.”

In the U.S., Hyundai buyers can have a base Accent sedan for $15,915 after destination, with Canadian buyers getting their hands on a five-door model that’s actually cheaper than the sedan. The Kona starts just above $21k U.S.

As Hyundai spokespersons on both sides of the border tell TTAC that the Venue is not a replacement for a current model, the idea seems to be to find buyers in that middle ground — those who want a little more cargo room and ground clearance, but aren’t willing to move up to the already small Kona.

They’re also not willing to drive a bare-bones stripper, which is why the Venue comes with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. When courting young, cash-strapped buyers, amenities like these seem to hold more weight than off-road capability.

While O’Brien didn’t state a starting price, he did say the Venue will sticker “at a little bit of a premium but not much” more than the Accent. “Remember, we’re competing against used cars in many cases,” he added.

[Image: Hyundai]

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2 of 19 comments
  • MKizzy MKizzy on May 13, 2019

    The Venue's not terrible looking--at least not in pictures. However, given its assumed price point, buyer demographic, and delicate looking front end; there's going to be a lot of totaled Venues in junkyards with busted grills.

  • Oldowl Oldowl on May 14, 2019

    Second car errand runner.

  • Bobbysirhan A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage. He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car. I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.
  • MrIcky I think the Shakedown is more my speed of the last call editions- but this is impressive.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
  • Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
  • Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.