Hyundai’s Venue will compete with the Mazda CX-3 for buyers. Picture: Supplied.
Hyundai’s Venue will compete with the Mazda CX-3 for buyers. Picture: Supplied.

Honey I shrunk the SUV: New baby Hyundai

HYUNDAI has shrunk the SUV.

The brand plans to introduce a mini-SUV priced below $20,000, undercutting some of the best-selling nameplates by up to $5000.

The Hyundai Venue will sit beneath the Kona in the brand's line-up and will appeal to younger buyers with a choice of eight exterior colours including Green Apple, Denim and Scarlet Red. There's even the option of a yellow roof.

Details are scant regarding the new model, which was unveiled at the New York motor show, but it is being fast-tracked to Australia and is expected to arrive in the second half of this year.

The Hyundai Venue is likely to cost less than $20,000. Picture: Supplied.
The Hyundai Venue is likely to cost less than $20,000. Picture: Supplied.

As with a growing number of small SUVs, the Venue won't have off-road pretensions. It will be available only as a front-drive model and will be powered by a non-turbo 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine matched to either manual or auto six-speed transmissions.

The Venue will be built in Korea but its steering and suspension will be tuned specifically for the local market by Hyundai Australia engineers.

The Venue will be customisable, with a choice of different trim and roof colours. Picture: Supplied.
The Venue will be customisable, with a choice of different trim and roof colours. Picture: Supplied.

It's likely that the low price will come with sacrifices, as automated emergency braking and other driving assistance tech are expected to be extra-cost options. AEB, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, driver attention warning and rear cross traffic alert are likely to be part of an extra cost safety pack, as they are with the i30 hatchback.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard though, as will an eight-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, a leather trimmed steering wheel and a rear camera.

The Venue is smaller than the Hyundai Kona. Picture: Supplied.
The Venue is smaller than the Hyundai Kona. Picture: Supplied.

Hyundai says the Venue will be a unique product not offered by other manufacturers, although Suzuki's high-riding Ignis hatch is a similar concept.

"The all-new Venue might be small in size but its big on practicality and personality," says Hyundai head of product planning Mike O'Brien.

The personality he is referring to comes courtesy of three choices of roof colour - black, white and yellow - as well as the option of a denim imitation leather and cloth trim interior.

The styling is similar to the Kona, with the brand's new front grille, composite LEDs and cube-shaped headlights. Standard wheels will be 15-inch, while more expensive models will wear 17s.

The two-tone interior can be ordered with denim and leather seats. Picture: Supplied.
The two-tone interior can be ordered with denim and leather seats. Picture: Supplied.

It is 130mm shorter and 31mm narrower than a Kona, with a much smaller, dual level luggage area that allows for valuables to be stored out of sight.

While the Kona shares underpinnings with the Hyundai i30 hatch, the Venue is a smaller car. It's a formula that has been a huge success for the Mazda CX-3, which is based on the smaller and cheaper Mazda2.

The move has allowed the Mazda to undercut rivals based on larger, more expensive cars such as the Subaru XV and Kona.

The Hyundai is likely to compete head-on with cheaper versions of the popular Mazda CX-3. Picture: Supplied.
The Hyundai is likely to compete head-on with cheaper versions of the popular Mazda CX-3. Picture: Supplied.

The arrival of a new, sharply priced baby SUV will give Hyundai a well-needed boost this year. As with the rest of the market, the brand is suffering from softer sales. In the first three months of this year it has slipped to fourth on the sales ladder behind Mitsubishi, which is flying high on the back of its well-priced SUVs and the new Triton ute.


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