By on September 30, 2019


The Hyundai Venue, a bottom-rung, A-segment crossover of such a diminutive size that you’d be forgiven for thinking it showed up in the wrong market by accident, has undergone testing by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Stretching one inch less than a Kia Rio hatch when measured stem to stern, the Venue is part of Hyundai’s effort to eliminate white space in its U.S. lineup while providing young car buyers with an attainable place to start climbing the Hyundai product ladder. These buyers, the EPA confirms, will not have to worry about lofty fuel bills.

Offered only as a front-drive runabout (can you hear the Venue’s siren song, urban Millennials?), the Venue’s fuel economy is pretty much what Hyundai engineers predicted when the Venue rolled into this year’s New York Auto Show.

When equipped with a continuously variable automatic (which Hyundai calls an “intelligent variable transmission”), the Venue earns a rating of 30 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined. Outfitted with a six-speed manual (yes, you read that right), MPGs fall to 27 city, 35 highway, and 30 combined. The Venue’s EPA numbers were first noticed by Autoblog.

Overall, the Venue is clearly Hyundai’s answer to the low-priced, FWD-only Nissan Kicks, which landed on the scene last year with a starting price under $18,000. Well-appointed and offering all the tech goodies and niceties a twentysomething iPhone devotee could desire, the Venue draws its motivation from a Smartstream 1.6-liter four-cylinder that’s good for an estimated 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque.

A powerhouse it ain’t, but Hyundai engineers have spend a great deal of time optimizing this mill for greater efficiency. The same goes for the IVT gearbox. In base SE trim, the Venue tips the scales at 2,557 pounds, rising to just over 2,700 lbs in uplevel SEL guise, so there isn’t a massive amount of bulk to haul around.

Indeed, the Venue only suffers in terms of aerodynamics when compared to low-end Hyundai vehicles. Its combined fuel economy is actually 2 mpg higher (when equipped with IVT) than a manual-transmission Elantra, and only 1 mpg less than a stick-shift Accent. While the larger Kicks earns a 33 mpg combined rating, other import subcompact crossovers can’t match the Venue’s thriftiness.

We now know what to expect from the Venue in terms of efficiency, but its pricing remains a mystery. Not for long, though. First-drive reviews are coming out, and details on dollar figures should arrive in advance of the model’s late-2019 on-sale date.

[Images: Hyundai]

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16 Comments on “Hyundai’s Smallest CUV Probably out-MPGs Your Car...”

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I don’t know how good of a comparison it is to rate the Venue w/IVT against the Elantra w/6MT. I imagine most people cross-shopping those two would at least pick like transmissions. And in that case, the base 2020 Elantra SE w/IVT’s maximum of 31 city, 41 highway and 35 combined mpg handily trounces this Venue. The thriftiest 2020 Elantra, the Eco, does even better, at 33, 41, and 36, respectively. What’s more, the IVT is standard on the Elantra SE, so you don’t have to pay extra not to have a manual transmission and access that first set of mpg figures.

    I think that entry-level subcompact crossovers are utterly silly for anyone not looking for a taller H-point, and—with discounts all day long—my dollars would go toward an Elantra SE or (especially) Eco, over the Venue. It’s a more substantial car with a better powertrain. Forget about the CUV tax.

    It’s usually the subcompact sedans that manage to somehow underperform in terms of fuel economy—probably because they come with ~120 horsepower engines that you have to ring the p*ss out of, and they aren’t necessarily lightweight, like an old CRX, because of modern safety standards. And in that regard, the Venue looks good. BUT even then, the Accent got a big old mpg boost for 2020, thanks to the addition of that same IVT in place of a conventional torque-converter automatic. It went from 28, 38, and 32 mpg in 2019 with the 6AT to 33, 41 and 36 in 2020 with the IVT…exactly the same as the Elantra Eco.

  • avatar


    more like a hatchback w/relatively poor mileage

    • 0 avatar

      @Thorn…shhhhhhhh, don’t tell anybody it’s actually a hatchback! It’ll never sell that way. Say it with me…C-U-V! That said, it’d at least be interesting with the manual trans.

    • 0 avatar

      At 2500-2700 lbs with a CVT and 120hp, I sort of think it should be a bit more frugal. I would say impressive on the weight, but I think the dimensions of this vehicle are such that nobody should be surprised.

      Its sort of a neat little runabout but Crossover it is not. This is a hatchback. I think we need to come up with some sort of classification system sort of like how astronomers kicked Pluto out of the planet club. Not offered in AWD equals hatchback. Doesnt have minimum amount of ground clearance equals hatchback. Has absolutely zero offroad chops or pretensions equals hatchback.

      Personally though, I certainly dont mind newer vehicles skewing toward the hatchback and wagon side of crossover.

  • avatar

    Old guy learned something today:

    At I can get the ‘restated’ fuel economy for my current daily driver, which should be more directly comparable to these figures. (I’ve been a little unfair up to now with my ‘mental math’ based on the “Original EPA MPG” figures for my car.)

    But – my fuel cost is ~50% higher (I could save ~33%) for double the displacement, over 2X the horsepower, and a lot more comfort/room. I’ll stick with mine.

  • avatar

    The difference between 30mpg (Kona) and 32mpg (Venue) with 10k miles a year and $4/gal is $83 a year. At $2.50/gal it is $52.
    There are reasons to go for a super-duper small Hyundai over a super-small Hyundai, but fuel savings likely wouldn’t be a major one.

  • avatar

    “Hyundai’s Smallest CUV Probably out-MPGs Your Car”

    Especially since my car is a “CUV” (wagon) with a 300HP turbo06, yes.

    It’s surprising to nobody much that a tiny CUV with a tiny engine is fuel-economical.

    (And 30/34 for a compact isn’t exactly impressive.

    It’s worse than a Corolla or non-R Civic. Nothing special at all.)

    • 0 avatar


      Excellent point. My Civic EX can routinely knock out 43 MPG on a road trip, but if I only go around town, that “magical” CVT gives me a 23-24 MPG. That’s a heck of a swing, but not too hard to swallow with gas at about $2.39 per gallon.

      It still irks me, I even turn on the “ECO” mode, a 50% swing in using is a bit much.

  • avatar

    Some years back, Hyundai got in big trouble with the EPA for overstating MPG numbers. Paid big fines and sent all Hyundai owners gasoline debit cards. I think that Hyundai now deliberately understates MPG figures to avoid further scrutiny from the Feds.

    As for the Venue, it’s not much more than a replacement for the dearly departed Accent hatchback. A little taller, perhaps, but more along the lines of a 1G Scion xB or KIA Soul than an actual CUV. I’d certainly entertain the thoughts of buying one, and kudos to Hyundai for making a manual transmission available.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, and a manual transmission is something you can’t get on a kicks. That’s actually too bad because the 3 pedal setup on my Nissan Micra is very good.

      Unfortunately if you want a Venue with a stick you should probably act quickly because I’m sure once Hyundai sees the take rate it won’t be around for long.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    IIRC, my 05 xB1 was rated for 31/35 with the 5-speed, and it had a lot more interior room than many other vehicles. But it certainly wasn’t as clean or safe as today’s cars.

    On the other hand, a Kia Niro has MPG numbers in the upper 40s, and the Hyundai Ioniq is in the 50s. Both are hybrids, however.

    So I guess if you don’t want a CVT (Kicks), or a hybrid, this could be a good choice. I like its looks.

  • avatar

    My 2019 Camry gets over 35mpg combined, and has a hell of a lot more useability than this roller skate, er, CUV!

  • avatar

    Shrug. The primary reason to get a subcompact CUV is to have a cheap-to-operate car with a SUV image. I don’t care about a SUV image, so I don’t care about this class.

    I own a bigger CUV, and the reason I have it instead of a sedan is entirely about interior space, of which you don’t get much in the subcompact class.

    • 0 avatar

      The one thing I’ll say for the subcompact CUV class is that it manages to combine decent-for-2019 rear headroom with a short overall length. That’s a rare combination in the present market. I’d rather sit in the back of a (subcompact) Mazda CX-3 than the (compact) 3, for example.

      There still are some non-CUVs that buck that trend, though. The Jetta and Golf have nice rear headroom, and (surprisingly) I found the 3 sedan to be acceptable whereas the 3 hatch was not.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of Volvo XC40. I like it.

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