If you’ve been keeping up with automotive news lately, it’s easy to think that automakers like Hyundai are shifting to make only electric vehicles. Although it’s certainly true that most automakers are making major commitments to electrification, a significant all-electric shift won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, Hyundai has been busy refining and improving its internal combustion vehicles, and I recently had the opportunity to test the 2022 Hyundai Venue to see the fruits of the automaker’s efforts.
2022 Hyundai Venue Review
Just weeks before the world fell apart due to COVID-19, I was fortunate to travel to Miami in early 2020 to drive the Hyundai Venue before its release. I came away from the experience impressed. Hyundai created a package that offers a seriously strong value proposition, great features, and a level of refinement that I had not expected from such a small, affordable vehicle.
Since no changes were made for the new model year, my experience with the 2022 Hyundai Venue has been largely the same, though I was able to test it in several inches of fresh snow that Miami didn’t offer on the initial drive.
Keeping Up With the Competition
Hyundai ditched the top Denim trim for 2022, opting instead for a three-trim lineup that includes SE, SEL, and Limited. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the Venue’s main competition comes from within the Hyundai-Kia empire.
The Kia Soul, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Seltos are all strong options sold in the same class as the Venue. The 2022 Hyundai Venue beats all of them on price, but the Kia Soul offers a more engaging driving experience and an optional turbocharged powertrain.
Modest but Adequate Powertrain
All Venue trims get a 1.6L inline-4 that produces 121 hp and 113 lb.-ft. of torque. Unlike on some of its other vehicles, Hyundai does not offer a turbocharged upgrade or more powerful engine option for the Venue, so middling horsepower and torque are your only choice.
Around town, that’s not a problem, as the Venue was more than capable of sliding through traffic, but what little fizz the engine had completely fizzled at highway speeds. It’s not so much the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s the problem here, as is the case in so many other vehicles.
The Venue’s issue is power and torque, and as a result of their shortcomings, it takes planning and effort to pass on the highway. The engine, which is otherwise an unobtrusive passenger, wakes up and screams, but much like a bad horror movie star’s acting — nothing comes out.
The ride and handling were both responsive and comfortable, especially around town. The Venue’s size and short wheelbase give it the ability to dart and weave as needed, and parking was a breeze. The ride remained smooth at highway speeds, though there was more wind and road noise than in comparable vehicles, such as the Mazda CX-30.
Still, the Venue’s visibility and fuel economy are strong enough to keep it competitive. In the city, the 2022 Hyundai Venue returns up to 29 mpg, and on the highway, the number improves to 33 mpg.
Surprisingly Comfortable and Accommodating Inside
Hyundai advertises the Venue as a 5-seater, but with just 34.3 inches of legroom and 43.5 inches of hip room in the back seat, the situation is much more comfortable with four passengers. The front buckets are wide and well-padded but flatter than most and could offer better support.
That said, the straightforward cabin offers good front headroom and legroom, at 39.4 inches and 41.3 inches, respectively. The manually adjustable front seats offer a decent range of movement to dial in a comfortable driving position, and visibility is good in all directions.
The 2022 Hyundai Venue has a surprising amount of cargo space for such a small vehicle, with 19 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and up to 32 cubic feet with the 60/40 folding seats down.
Great Standard Tech
The Venue’s standard features list reads like one from a premium vehicle manufacturer. The base SE and midrange SEL trims come with an 8-inch touchscreen running wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The top Limited trim adds navigation, HD radio, and SiriusXM radio, but loses wireless capability and requires wired CarPlay and Android Auto. Bluetooth, auxiliary inputs, four speakers, USB inputs, and steering wheel audio controls are also standard.
Hyundai’s infotainment software looks and feels simplistic compared to the more elaborate systems from Ford and Stellantis, but that’s a benefit for drivers. Hyundai’s interface offers all the functionality of its rivals’ systems but does so in a way that is easy to use and understand — especially when driving. Menus and settings take one or two taps at most, and the responsive software is snappy.
The 2021 Venue picked up a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but only for trims equipped with LED projector headlights. Since there are no changes to the 2022 model, we would expect similar ratings, however, the LED headlights are now only available for the top Limited trim. That doesn’t mean that other Venue trims are unsafe. In fact, the opposite is true. All trims achieved “Good” ratings in IIHS crash testing and all scored “Superior” for vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention.
The standard safety kit includes forward collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, a driver attention warning system, and high beam assist. The SEL trim adds blind-spot warnings and rear cross-traffic alerts, while the top Limited trim gets cyclist detection.
Value, Bursting from the Seams
Value is the 2022 Hyundai Venue’s strongest feature, by a long shot. The subcompact cruiser starts at around $20,000 and reaches just $23, 375 fully loaded. Hyundai made some concessions to reach those price points, sure, but not enough to make the Venue feel like a penalty box.
The generous standard tech, safety, and comfort features, along with strong crash test scores should be enough to place the Venue fairly high on most peoples’ shopping lists. Additionally, the car’s maneuverability and spacious-but-compact design make it an excellent companion for city dwellers and urbanites.
The 2022 Hyundai Venue feels like a distillation of Hyundai’s values and offers many of the characteristics that have endeared people to the brand in recent years. And a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and good projected safety scores deepen its appeal. Its price point and standard feature list are both great for buyers wanting to spend less and get more.