I've just driven the Hyundai Apartment. Sorry, I mean the Hyundai Venue. South Africa is in fact the international launch venue of the Hyundai Venue, a South Korean rival to the VW T-Cross.
A fierce rival indeed, having targeted the people’s car specifically in its campaign. And I’d say that the Hyundai Location, sorry I mean Hyundai Venue has every right to feel confident in its ability to challenge not just the VW, but rivals such as the Renault Captur, Suzuki Jimny, Ford Ecosport and Mazda CX3. It looks European, in fact that narrow-eyed visage especially looks like something out of the Citroen catalogue. It has the stocky stance of a pit bull, ornate lampwork fore and aft and comes in eight colours. Three of them are grey.
Some hard plastics, and a class-leading 8-inch touchscreen
And you’ll encounter a pleasant cabin dominated by an eight-inch colour screen - the largest in its segment. Naturally it comes with Android Auto and Apple Carplay screen sharing plus the usual host of connectivity options. The rest of the cabin is decent enough, dark plastics that will scratch after time, but I appreciate the amount of sunlight it lets in.
Hyundai have deployed a number of design and engineering tricks to ensure you have maximum living space, such as a slim backboard enabling more legroom at the rear. The leather and fabric seats are a nice touch but that’s only in the range-topping Glide trim, more on that later. The helm feels great in the palms and weight up nicely when under load from that one litre turbo GDI petrol engine, good for 88kW and 172Nm. It comes in seven-speed DCT auto and six-speed manual options and provides a decent amount of shunt for a little cricket like the Hyundai Venue, I honestly can’t fault it. The suspension is on the soft side, rolling as you’d expect (but no more) on winding tarmac and then there’s the diminutive footprint it has - resulting in its ‘busy’ handling dynamics. It isn’t a problem, I probably shouldn’t have been going that quickly, officer.
Look. Hyundai have a winner on their hands
They just do, with this - their fifth SUV after the Santa Fe, Tucson, Kona and Creta. Next year there’ll be a sixth, their Palisade full sized SUV. But we like what we see here at the smaller end of their off-road options, with its cascade grille and those separated front lamps, DRLs and projection-style fog lamps.
We like its chunky stance, that Volvo XC40-like profile and its 350l luggage space. There’s a wealth of airbags here, especially in the Fluid and Glide trim levels, less so in the entry level Motion models. Those have no rear ventilation or glovebox cooling, nor cruise control. They must make do with ye olde radio head unit (over the touchscreen infotainment), a black grille and 15-inch blackened steel wheels where the Motion and Fluid models have chrome and 16-inch hoops.
They all come with ABS, ESC and hill assist plus Hyundai’s 7year/200 000km warranty and 3year/45 000km service plan. While the entry-level Motion 1.0 can be had as cheaply as R274,990 - it really isn’t the one you want. We’d opt for the manual Fluid at R309,900 where the Venue is its most competitive against its rivals.
As for the range-topping Venue 1.0T Glide DCT at R369,900 - that’s R5k dearer than the similar VW T-Cross with its R-Line style pack. And that’s a tough car to beat at that price. But that isn’t a putdown, many consumers have migrated to the flock of South Korean cars on sale in Mzansi and there is more than enough reason to do so with the Venue. The Venue, it’s where it’s at.
|1.0T Motion MT ||R274,900.00|
|1.0T Motion DCT ||R304,900.00|
|1.0T Fluid MT||R309,900.00|
|1.0T Fluid DCT ||R339,900.00|
|1.0T Glide DCT ||R369,900.00|