Easy on the wallet.Hyundai’s certainly made a name for itself as one of the more value-oriented brands on the market. Pricing for the 2021 Hyundai Venue starts at $19,925 including destination, making the subcompact crossover – or medium-sized wagon – the second-most affordable vehicle from the automaker behind the Accent.

Despite the affordable price tag, the Venue comes well equipped. Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a four-speaker audio system, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

For roughly $1,000 more, the SEL trim adds more niceties, like LED exterior lights, six audio speakers, and automatic climate control. Additionally, it opens the door to add a sunroof, heated front seats, and navigation.

Beyond coming with a lengthy list of standard equipment, the Venue is backed by one of the longest warranties on the market. It comes with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That coverage handily beats the majority of options in the class.

Spacious where it counts. Part tall hatchback, part subcompact crossover, the Venue’s odd design results in a spacious cabin. Head room is especially noteworthy for the segment, as passengers in the back get 38.6 inches, which is among the highest. Unfortunately, leg room isn’t as generous – passengers only get 34.3 inches in the back.

As one of the smaller options in the subcompact segment, the Venue is down on cargo space. With the rear seats in place, the Venue only offers 18.7 cubic feet. In total, it offers 31.9. Nearly every competitor offers more cargo space than the Venue.

Where the Venue really stands out in the class is with its upscale cabin. While it has a lot of plastics, they all feel high-end and feature a design that’s well above average for the class. Fit and finish is also remarkable for the segment, as rivals feel every bit as cheap as their starting price tags.

Hyundai Venue

Loads of safety features. In testing conducted by the NHTSA, the Venue earned a four-star overall safety rating, which is average for the class. The IIHS named last year’s model a Top Safety Pick, which should carry over for the new model year. While the results are mixed, the Venue does come with all sorts of standard tech features.

The base trim comes with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and driver drowsiness monitoring. The only available features include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The list of equipment is impressive for a small, affordable vehicle, especially considering the only thing that’s missing is adaptive cruise control.

Performance takes a back seat. Subcompact crossovers aren’t known for having high-performance powertrains, but the Venue falls even further. The only engine offered is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 121 horsepower.

The engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that helps route power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive isn’t available, which is a negative as nearly every other option in the segment is offered with it.

While the Venue isn’t meant to feel quick, it feels unnaturally slow – it takes about 10 seconds to get to 60 mph from a standstill. Urbanites won’t mind the lack of performance, but if you spend a lot of time driving on the highway, merging and overtaking take some patience.

The flip side to the underpowered engine is good fuel economy. The Venue is rated by the EPA at up to 31 miles per gallon combined, making it one of the more efficient vehicles in the class.

Final thoughts. Depending on how you classify the 2021 Hyundai Venue – a medium wagon or a subcompact crossover – the vehicle stands out as being a fresh take in a packed class. Offering an efficient powertrain, a spacious cabin, and advanced tech features at an affordable price, the Venue gets a lot right.

Sure, it isn’t supposed to be a sports car, but it could use a turbocharger or a more powerful engine. While not a huge deal, consumers are looking for all-wheel drive as a safety net to tackle inclement weather, and the Venue’s front-wheel-drive platform could be seen as a downside.

There’s plenty of competition in the subcompact crossover class. The Kia Soul is another funky crossover that’s similarly sized to a large hatchback. The Soul has more powerful engines, a more spacious cargo area, and similar convenience features, but lacks the same standard safety features.

The Nissan Kicks, just like the Venue, is front-wheel drive only. It’s more efficient, has a more spacious cargo area, has one more horsepower, and comes with more standard safety features. The warranty coverage for the Kicks isn’t nearly as generous and it has a more traditional body.

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