Buddy Review: Did Hyundai Make The New Venue One Of The Best Tiny Cars You Can Buy?

This small crossover starts under $20,000

Is it worth looking into this tiny car?

Over the past few years, big SUVs, family crossovers and trucks have been the champions of automakers’ lineups. Indeed, truck sales are still fairly strong even accounting for the current situation, but many automakers are still making small cars. What’s more, they’re jumping into small crossovers. That leaves some bastion for the buyer who wants some practicality in a small package, even as hatchbacks slowly fade into relative obscurity for certain (i.e. American) brands.

However, even Hyundai lacks a small hatchback since the Accent went sedan-only — you’ll have to go to the Kia Rio for a true small hatch. Now, though, the 2020 Hyundai Venue aims to redress that lack of balance by offering a small, inexpensive crossover that still offers some practicality, along with a crossover-like driving position. And it even looks pretty quirky, which is a nice touch against some of the competition.

Is the 2020 Hyundai Venue truly one of the best small cars you can buy, though? To find out, Roman and Tommy take Hyundai’s newest model out for a TFL buddy review.

We took the Venue “off-road” in Australia last year.

Getting to know the Venue by the numbers

The 2020 Hyundai Venue slots in below the fairly tiny Kona. This tiny crossover actually sports a wheelbase under 100 inches (it’s at 99.2 inches), and it’s five inches shorter in length at 159 inches. Total cargo capacity with the seats folded is 31.9 cubic feet — virtually identical to a subcompact hatchback like the Kia Rio. Passenger space is tight for four adult occupants, but bear in mind the Venue also doesn’t pack the price of its larger siblings and rivals.

The 2020 Hyundai Venue starts off a full $2,950 less expensive than the Kona, at $18,470 including Hyundai’s $1,120 destination fee. Step up from the base SE to the top-spec SEL trim, and the price rises to $23,405 with the available Premium and Convenience Packages. That includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, heated front seats and mirrors, LED headlights and taillights and a power sunroof.

Unlike some of its rivals, the city-focused Venue is a front-wheel drive only model. Under the hood is a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter engine with 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to get propel the car to 60 mph in just over 12 seconds at a mile above sea level — not fast, but adequate for daily driving. Even better for some enthusiasts, though, is the option of a manual transmission. That is only available on the SE trim, while Hyundai’s continuously variable transmission is an option there and the only transmission on the SEL and special ‘Denim’ trims.

Buy it, lease it, rent it, or forget it?

For less than $20,000, the 2020 Hyundai Venue offers solid value for buyers looking on the entry-level side of the market. Is it worth buying? We at the TFL office just prefer a manual transmission over the CVT, but that option does return 30 City / 34 Highway / 32 Combined mpg.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!