2024 Hyundai Venue Limited - Review by David Colman
Zigging, zagging, and zipping
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
By adapting a Denim look for their top echelon 2024 Venue Limited, Hyundai stylists took a leaf out of a 50-year-old American Motors playbook. Back in 1973, AMC introduced a Hornet Hatchback with a Levi's interior that provided "The look of jeans, copper buttons, orange stitching...even a Levi's tab." That Hornet served as the precursor to a line of unforgettable Levi's Gremlins. While the new blue Hyundai does not pay homage to a specific brand of dungarees like the AMC did, the generic reference to jeans - both inside and out - is unmistakable. The petite four-door hatchback Venue is painted an unmistakable shade of Denim blue. But Hyundai took pains to counterpoint the blue with subtle white bumper inserts front and rear, white rocker panel stripes, and a stark white roof. The net result is a sort of dress shirt/jeans look that adds unexpected wow to an otherwise Plain Jane sedan.
The interior treatment is equally meticulous. The entire upper half of the dash is Denim blue, highlighted by four satin silver ventilation outlets. Cream-colored door armrests and lower dash reinforce the contrast motif. Heated front seats are upholstered in two shades of Denim with white piping on the edges and white horizontal stripes across the backrest. The front seats heaters accelerate from zero-to-toast in less time than it takes to back out of your garage. I found the seat architecture exceptionally comfortable while my longer-legged wife complained that the lower squabs were too short to suit her.
I really loved the simplistic design of the Venue's interior. Hyundai has brought back useful features that have recently disappeared from more upmarket cars. The fly-off mechanical handbrake is one such item, as are manual adjustors for seat position, backrest rake and steering wheel height. These simple comfort operations do not require the expense, complexity and extra weight required by electric motors and control modules. Even the design of the steering wheel is a throwback. Covered in Denim blue leather and fitted with prominent thumb cutouts, it's reminiscent of the kind of aftermarket 'racing' wheel you could buy back in the 1970's with a signature on the spoke from Jackie Stewart or Emerson Fittipaldi.
Now that we know about its captivating visuals, what's the Venue like to drive? After all, its 1600cc four banger is only producing 121hp and 113lb.-ft. of torque. Because this tidy tiny package weighs just 2,645lbs. the Venue manages to acquit itself with comparative honors in the 0-60mph run, achieved in a very respectable 8.5 seconds. Likewise, the standing start quarter mile requires a reasonable 16.7 seconds with a trap speed of 83mph. Push it to top speed on the Salt Flats at Bonneville and the littlest Hyundai of them all will turn 115mph.
The normally aspirated engine drives only the front wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission that allows you to adjust engine speed with a number of preordained steps that emulate gear ratios. While the Venue lacks paddles for shift operation, its "Intelligent Variable Transmission" does provide a manual operation gate parallel to the normal PRND array. In the manual mode, you simply bump the stick forward for upshifts or pull it rearward for downshifts. This scheme works quickly and well, though the motor issues a disconcerting blast of noise if you downshift at an engine speed higher than 2500rpm. The tachometer Hyundai supplies is quite unique. Rather than reading in increments from 0 to 7000rpm, the digital unit here reads "2.5" at 2500rpm or "5.0" at 5000rpm. It takes some getting used to, but after awhile you get the hang of its shorthand.
Every periodic New Cars issue from Consumer Reports prints a synopsis of the comparative specifications for roughly 300 currently available vehicles. As near as I could tell, only two other cars are shorter than the 159" Venue: the 153" Mini Cooper and the 154" Mazda MX-5 Miata. When it comes to weight, only one car weighs less than the 2,645lb four-seat Venue: the 2,335lbtwo seat Miata. So if you are looking for the most affordable, nimble, and easy to park car of them all, this Hyundai is it. Venue Vidi Vici.
2024 HYUNDAI VENUE LIMITED
• ENGINE: 1.6 liter inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection
• HORSEPOWER: 121hp@6300rpm
• TORQUE: 113lb.-ft.@6300rpm
• FUEL CONSUMPTION: 29MPG CITY/33MPG Highway
• PRICE AS TESTED: $24,595
HYPES: Agility, Creative Exterior and Interior
GRIPES: Would Love to See a Venue RS
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2024 David E Colman