IT may not be a show stopper, but if you are looking for a compact SUV that has it all, without too much ‘flash’, the 2021 Hyundai Venue Active is the car for you. Before you read on though, a confession has to be made.
The car this reviewer drove before climbing into this Hyundai was the newest Range Rover Evoque. So it’s safe to say expectations were high, and that we realise the transition of jumping from a $100,000 car to a $20,000 vehicle can be difficult.
That’s why a conscious effort was made to come back to reality before being seated in the Hyundai Venue Active for the first time. And it is pleasing to say that after five minutes of driving the Venue, there was a part that preferred it over the Range Rover.
Sure, they are aimed at entirely different target markets. But the no-fuss, simple set up of this car does the job. Boxy, convenient and unassuming, the Hyundai Venue Active is good for your everyday road car.
The automatic transmission and 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine which delivers 90kW of power and 151Nm of torque mean its not fast, but all you would need for the everyday. It’s practical and travels smoothly on the road. There’s even the option of a manual gearbox.
Even though it’s front-wheel drive, it does come with driving modes, including Eco, Normal and Sport, giving you control over your steering style. As usual, you get more oomph in Sport (which is completely artificial).
That said, we preferred to stay there for most of our driving. Eco and normal are good but don’t expect to be going anywhere in a hurry. There are three traction modes as well (snow, mud and sand), to give more control over engine braking on loose terrain.
This feature didn’t see much action during our test, but it seemed to do okay on a dirt road. Its 46-litre tank will give you rough fuel economy of around 7.2-litres/100km. Its exterior design is well, unique.
Hyundai says that’s the “result of being open to exploring boundaries, going beyond conventional thinking, and having the desire to create something fresh and memorable.”
They definitely weren’t lying when they said it’s memorable. Hyundai’s signature cascading front grille seems overly large on the Venue, and its boxy shape makes it look a little different to your average SUV. But is that really a bad thing.
Outside features include roof racks, a rear spoiler, cube-shaped headlights with daytime running LEDs, and throwing star style 17-inch alloy wheels. We found the Venue easy to get in and out of, and not too high for children.
That’s thanks to it having a minimum ground clearance height of 170mm. The boxy design comes in handy when turning and parking too. Due to its snub nose bonnet, the Hyundai Venue has an excellent turning circle.
It takes corners easily and does not create too much roll.
Inside, the first thing you notice is the fact it’s compact yet comfortable. Manual adjustments are easy, which can make you feel quite snug in the seat. It comes in cloth black trim. That’s it. No choices. It feels like it could handle anything though.
There’s an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen display in the middle of the dashboard, which comes with DAB+, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, and satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic updates. It has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In addition, the Venue Active comes with six speakers, a front centre console armrest, rear parking sensors and rear-view camera display, power-folding side mirrors with LED side repeaters, and a leather-appointed steering wheel and gear knob.
The dashboard display offers the usual information such as driving data, cruise control, fuel efficiency and the like. There is enough room in the back seats to fit three small children comfortably, with the 60:40 splitting seats making it suitable for storage.
The 355-litre boot space you get with the seats down is enough to hold a bicycle or pram, or a tent and fold up mattress – all dependent on what you are using it for. It’s a skinny spot with the seats up, but deep enough to hold a decent amount of shopping.
Front, side and curtain airbags are fitted, as is electronic stability control, ABS, hill start assist, EBD and vehicle stability control. Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite adds driver attention warning, forward collision-avoidance assist and high beam assist.
It also includes lane-keeping assist. The latter feature was a little annoying as it could be quite direct and demanding, so it was turned off for most journeys.
The 2021 Hyundai Venue Active starts at $26,268 drive away. Our test vehicle came in Fiery Red, which we loved. Other colours include Intense Blue, Typhoon Silver, Phantom Black, Polar White, The Demin, and Cosmic Grey.
Our test vehicle was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Hyundai Venue Active, contact your local Hyundai dealer.