Ace of Base: 2020 Hyundai Venue SE

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2020 hyundai venue se

Unless you’ve been living under an especially virulent rock, it’ll not have escaped your notice that most manufacturers are building crossovers and mini-utes (apologies to our readers in Oz for the loose usage of “ute”) to either replace or supplement the cars at the entry-level end of their lineup. After all, customers have to start somewhere, and if an affordable rig exists for young or first time buyers, the company stands a better chance of selling that customer their second car. And third. And so forth.

Priced at $17,250, the entry level Hyundai Venue SE definitely fits the bill. Known for packing its cars to the gunwales with standard features not generally found at instant ramen price levels, has Hyundai taken the same approach with this Venue?

First, your author would like to applaud the italicized H for continuing to imbue its cars with real names instead of calling this the iBX450eDrive. All Venues, regardless of trim, are powered by the same 1.6-liter four-banger making 121 horsepower. The boffins from Korea are doing their part to Save the Manuals by offering this base trim with a six-speed stick (it’s your author’s belief that while snazzy dual-clutch units are arguably faster to 60 mph in slick sports cars, entry level units like the Venue are infinitely more fun with a manual transmission). The automatic is a $1,200 proposition if you’re interested. You shouldn’t be.

Cloth seating surfaces are standard in all trims, so spending more on Venue doesn’t earn customers any peeled cows on which to sit. The infotainment touchscreen is also the same size regardless of trim, though the SEL gets nav. You’ll be fine without it; use your phone. Everything gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are USB ports as one would expect in this day and age, plus Bluetooth and a steering wheel peppered with buttons. Air conditioning is standard equipment.

The new Venue adopts Hyundai’s recent design language for its crossovers and SUVs, one which plops a pair of narrow lamps above the actual headlights, giving them the appearance of a stern school headmaster who’s caught all hands smoking under the bleachers. These frame a large eggcrate grille, painted black on the SE. Side mirrors are body color on the base car but are not heated, sadly. Seven colors are available gratis, including the delightfully extroverted Green Apple shown here. Wheels are 15-inch steelies, helping to keep a lid on replacement costs.

Hyundai gives this sub-$18,000 rig a yaffle of driver aids as well, including the likes of forward collision avoidance and lane-keeping assist. This is a signature Hyundai play, putting gee-whiz features on its cheapest cars — a move that will likely help them achieve their goal of hooking customers for not just this car but the next one.

[Images: Hyundai]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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2 of 33 comments
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged