Base Camp: 2020 Hyundai Venue Essential
It's always tough to argue against a Hyundai for value.
For the last couple of weeks, wheels.ca has been taking a look at base model trims of selected new vehicles on sale in Canada today. Our aim is to walk you through the features one gets at the Mr. Noodles end of a particular model range. If it doesn’t meet our increasingly fussy standards, we’ll recommend one that does.
Hyundai built its brand by selling vehicles packed with features not generally found in its price bracket. The 2020 Venue is a subcompact-sized vehicle sharing many bones with the little Accent, but in deference to customer preferences these days it has a higher ride height and looks more like an all-wheel drive crossover than a front-wheel drive economy car.
Venue is front-wheel drive, however, powered by a 1.6L inline-four making 121 horsepower and 113lb.-ft of torque. Only the entry-level Essential trim is offered with an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual transmission. An automatic is a $1300 option here. Sensible shoes measuring just fifteen inches in diameter keep a lid on replacement costs when it comes time to buy new tires. Side mirrors and door handles are color-keyed, helping to hide your flinty buying decisions from the neighbours.
Despite swimming in the cheap end of the pool, a base Venue has several features that are either optional or not available on vehicles costing thousands more. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system plays well with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, for example, while the front seats have heaters under their cloth upholstery. The power-operated side mirrors are also heated and the steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake. Economies of scale ensure that windows and locks are of the powered variety. Most importantly, air conditioning is standard equipment.
Gripes? Well, despite being offered in six different colours, only the Polar White shown here is a $0 option. Everything else costs an extra $200. This is the case for most trims of the Venue, not just the base model. Also, its rear brakes are low-tech drums, as they are on all Venue trims save for the top dog Ultimate. Hyundai is not alone in this penny-pinching detail. Cruise control is absent on the cheapest Venue as well.
What We’d Pick
It’s always tough to argue against a Hyundai for value. The likes of air conditioning, heated seats, and a well-equipped infotainment system are all included here for $17,099. Its six-speed manual transmission, a rarity these days, and an estimated fuel economy of just 6.8L/100km serve to earn the 2020 Hyundai Venue Essential a place in the Base Camp trophy room.