By on May 13, 2019

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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19 Comments on “Still Mum on Venue Pricing, Hyundai Opens Up About Its Baby Crossover...”

  • avatar

    So, they took a Kia Soul, tried to change a few body panels, and then gave up half way through?

    Seriously, the belt and roof lines are very similar. I mean, they inverted the triangle on the DLO fail but that’s about it…

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe I’m not seeing the Soul in there you are, but honestly this is about a million percent better looking than the Soul.
      Badge engineering gets too bad a rap if you ask me. There have been any number of GM cars over the years that had something I couldn’t stand, that another marquee of GM did exactly right that I’ve bought.

    • 0 avatar

      Personally, think the new Soul looks better (not exactly a fan of the grille treatment on the Venue), but the Venue is no re-worked Soul (just b/c they both have a “box”-shape doesn’t make them the same).

      The Soul has 3+ inches on the Venue at the WB and 5+ in overall length.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I think it’s a very attractive design. Let’s see the final pricing and crash results – the kid will need a car next summer…

  • avatar

    Ok, I understand why, but not offering AWD is still a mistake, unless the proof is in the pricing, we’ll see

    • 0 avatar

      Makes sense not to have included AWD as the Venue is to be the gate-way for new buyers and fitting the Venue to have available AWD would have jacked up the price.

      It’s important to keep in mind that the Venue was developed for numerous markets (including India) so pricing is key and AWD is not a need (really isn’t a need here if people weren’t too lazy to change to snow tires).

      • 0 avatar

        AWD would be an option not effecting 2WD pricing

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Not so. With AWD as an option, the FWD model still has to be engineered to support the AWD option.

          This means altered suspension components, computer controls, allowance along the length of the car for the components that aren’t there, and different interior switchgear. A lot of engineering and tooling goes into providing the AWD option, and each vehicle’s price has to pay for it.

        • 0 avatar

          I suspect that AWD would eat into interior space in the 2WD version too. Engineering a different body for each version would definitely cost more.

          A hybrid version would be appreciated.

  • avatar

    I think this will do very well. I am impressed with the overall interior “quality” of the latest Hyundai SUV offerings. I previously had a Genesis on lease, and almost leased the new Santa Fe 2.0T this month. (Issue I had was the $$ with all the bells and whistles. It crossed over into more upscale brands in cost.) It looked good, drove well and the interior seemed of good quality. If they don’t cheap out too much on this new Venue, I think there is a good size market out there.

  • avatar

    I don’t know who the market is. The Kona seems to have the younger female demographic covered and the Soul has the older folks…I guess the only people left are the die-hard Hyundai fans who would’ve bought an Accent hatch but can’t anymore, and don’t like the space inefficiency of the Kona.

    I can’t believe how scot-free Hyundai is getting away here on the blatant XC40 ripoff. It’s almost Chinese levels of copyright infringement.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mr O’Brien gets it. Slapping AWD on everything is not the answer. Having lived in the Pittsburgh area all my life, I’ve still never owned an AWD vehicle. It adds cost and complexity while hurting fuel economy, and most consumers don’t need it.

    This vehicle is meant to compete with the Nissan Kicks, which is a very nice ride that I would have bought last October if only the trade-in manager had been in the store. Alas, I left, and the Optima Hybrid got a reprieve.

    • 0 avatar

      If AWD is offered as an option what difference does it make on 2WD pricing? You don’t need A/C either, but…

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      SCE to AUX

      Utah does a FANTASTIC JOB of plowing roads. It’s the parking lots that are an issue. While not required-AWD/4WD can be a real game changer where you least expect to use it.

  • avatar

    Well its ugly, and not offering AWD seems like a mistake.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    Second car errand runner.

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