Year, Make, Model: 2020 Hyundai Venue
Topline: Hyundai's newly revealed Venue crossover is its smallest and, in many ways, squarest, which will make it one of the most distinctive vehicles on the market when it launches later this year.
What's New: Soon to be Hyundai's teensiest crossover, the Venue debuts an almost-new, quadrangular look, one halfway between the bigger Hyundai Kona and larger-still Hyundai Palisade. Four-cornered shapes are everywhere, from the daytime running lights to the grille, taillights, and even interior components. Squareness is pervasive to a degree not often seen on modern cars.
Being the smallest, of course, means people have the highest expectations for efficiency, and the Venue doesn't come up short here. Its 1.6-liter "Gamma" four-cylinder engine can be paired either with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a six-speed manual for hands-on drivers who know it's good to have their focus on the road.
And speaking of driver focus, it's but one of several conditions that the Venue's onboard safety systems monitor. Driver focus, blind spots, lane position, rear cross traffic, and the risk of a forward collision are all watched by the Venue's automated safety tech, but it's not safety alone where Hyundai has gone the whole nine yards.
The Venue's eight-inch infotainment screen is compatible with both the ever-popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, whose associated phones can charge from one of two USB ports located within. Those who don't lean on their phones for navigation will benefit from free map updates for the first three years.
Links can be established between the Venue and home technology systems like Google Home or Amazon Echo to allow voice-controlled remote starting in unfavorable climates, like the peak of summer or blizzard conditions, bringing the Venue's climate in line with what's comfortable before passengers even get in. In the winter, this also means the Venue will, when remote-started, activate its rear defroster and its heated side mirrors (if equipped) to minimize everyone's least favorite winter activity: scraping ice.
There's a 60:40 second row, which can of course fold flat for maximum cargo room. You get 18.7 cubic feet of load space with the rear seats up, almost even with the larger Kona, but it's no contest with the rears folded; Venues have a maximum of 31.9 cubic feet for cargo versus the Kona's 45.8.
Quotable: "The all-new Venue might be small in size, but it's big on practicality and personality," says Mike O'Brien, Hyundai Motor America's vice president of product, corporate, and digital planning. "Its bold and unique character sets it apart from other SUVs on the market, offering a unique, entry-level vehicle for those consumers seeking savvy design with an abundance of standard safety, technology, and connectivity features."
What You Need to Know: If you're in need of size in addition to quirkiness, the similar, but bigger Hyundai Kona may be your ticket, though both are equally as blessed when it comes to warranties. Hyundai promises a five-year, 60,000-mile limited warranty, and an equal amount of free roadside assistance, plus a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty to boot. Pricing hasn't been announced, but an ETA has: expect the Hyundai Venue to hit American showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2019.