In 2016, car designer SangYup Lee was recruited into the Hyundai family.
Formerly Head of Exterior and Advanced Design at Bentley, he became Vice President of Styling at Hyundai Design Center in June of that year.
For mere mortals, Mr. Lee’s name could not ring any bells.
However, for car buffs and enthusiast, he is a god walking among men.
He is the most successful Korean designer in the global automotive industry, being the key designer behind several top-notch luxury cars around the world.
If you like this segment, there is possible that you have driven a car designed by Mr. Lee.
When he arrived at Hyundai, he was quoted by saying: “The innovative design and surprising growth of Hyundai Motor has always made me proud as a Korean while I worked overseas. Now, I want to contribute in creating world-leading automobile designs for both Hyundai Motor and the Genesis brand”… and he SO accomplished this.
One of his most recent creations is the 2020 Hyundai Venue.
Unique, compact and distinct looking, it is one of the most innovative vehicles that I have had the opportunity to drive this year.
The best of two worlds
The 2020 Hyundai Venue combines the best of two worlds: Its look reflect character, as American drivers like; and it has several details in its interior and screen, just as Asian drivers love.
In addition, no matter the fact that this is a very compact vehicle, it has presence and poise.
Its unique grille pattern can be recognized from afar: You will just know when the Venue is approaching.
It has a unique identity, just as Mr. Lee likes it, differentiating it from other Hyundai SUVs: Its own face, its own identity.
A ‘gigantic’ small engine
There are three trims available: SE, SEL and Denim.
In addition, being a petite car, it also has a small, fuel-efficient engine; we are talking about a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that reaches 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque.
The base model have a six-speed manual transmission.
Al trims are front-wheel-drive; and it can be equipped with a Continuously Variable automatic Transmission (or CVT).
With the manual, fuel economy is estimated at 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg at the highway; numbers change to 30/34 with the automatic transmission.
Tech is the name of the game
I insist: This is a cute, little SUV. However, this does not mean that it lacks features.
Inside its cabin, you will find features such as an 8-inch color touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and safety aids such as frontal collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines and more.
Behind the wheel
Thanks to its size, you will find a parking spot for the Hyundai Venue anywhere.
It should be noted that this is technically still a 5-passenger car, ladies and gentleman.
I enjoyed driving it around town, doing errands and getting back home comfortably and quickly.
If you get it to the highways, it is a slightly different story.
It takes its time to accelerate, so you have to plan ahead a lane change or passing another vehicle.
Nevertheless, this is still a very fun, agile little car to drive for long trips.
With its practical, compact size, plethora of tech stuff, classy and well-designed interior and exterior and huge gas savings, the 2020 Hyundai Venue has it all, if you want elegance, practicality and fun, all at once.