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Cheapest SUV is well equipped

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In recent years, the city SUV market has seen a massive influx of new models, including Hyundai’s baby Venue, which effectively replaced the Accent as the brand’s cheapest car. How does it stack up against the more recent competition?

VALUE

It may be the cheapest car in Hyundai’s range, but if you’re expecting a circa $20,000 drive-away deal, you’re headed for disappointment. Drive-away prices start from about $24,300 for a basic manual version (an auto is roughly $2000 more) and top out at about $30,250 for the Elite model we drove.

The cheapest model is pretty well equipped for the price, with a decent 8-inch center screen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 15-inch alloys, cruise control, and roof rails. The Active grade is $2000 more and adds 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, and a leather steering wheel and gear knob.

Top-spec Elite is another $2000 again and has a satnav, digital radio, premium cloth on the seats, a two-tone roof with colored side mirrors, an extra USB power outlet, and a bright entry/start. If you forgo the two-tone roof, you get a sunroof. In another strange quirk of product planning, you don’t get the wireless CarPlay of the cheaper model. Servicing costs a reasonable $1632 for five years.

COMFORT

Although it has all the SUV styling cues, the Venue is a hatchback on stilts, so don’t expect acres of leg and knee room in the back pews. However, the tall roof does endow the little Hyundai with decent headroom, and the doors open wide for easy entry.

Rear air vents are missing — they are available on some rivals at this price — but the cabin has a lovely airy feel, with good vision for the driver.

You sit high on comfortable and supportive seats, and the suspension takes the sharp edges off pockmarked city streets, although things can get a little bouncy at speed on country roads. The rear load area is significant for the class, which reduces the likelihood of rear passengers having to nurse items on their lap.

SAFETY

The Venue received a four-star crash test rating in 2019, scoring 91 percent for adult protection and 81 percent for child protection. There were some concerns about rear whiplash protection, but overall it was a pretty solid result. The car was marked down in the pedestrian and safety assist criteria.

For an entry-level vehicle, though, the Venue has an impressive array of driver assistance features, including auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, auto hi-beam dipping, and driver attention warning. The Elite model adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as rear parking sensors.

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Tristan McCue is a 26-year-old junior programmer who enjoys reading, binge-watching boxed sets, and appearing in the background on TV. He is smart and friendly, but can also be very evil and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian. He has a post-graduate degree in computing.
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