In a decade of choosing Wards 10 Best Interiors, eight Hyundai models have made the grade, but only two have checked in with a sticker price lower than this year’s Venue Denim Edition. And if you adjust for inflation, only the 2012 Accent came in cheaper.
As the lowest-priced model cracking this year’s list at $23,305, we could forgive the Venue if it didn’t come with a big, full-color navigation screen, keyless ignition, heated front seats, automatic climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. We wouldn’t be surprised if safety technology didn’t include lane-keeping assistance, pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning or rear cross-traffic alert.
The Venue not only includes those features but adds, also as standard equipment, a complimentary 3-year subscription to Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Services, a 3-month trial of SiriusXM satellite radio and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Venue Denim Edition’s exclusive color palette, with the subtle blue tint touching nearly every surface, inside and out. We’re focused on the interior, where the unique denim tones give the Venue a handsome and rugged appearance, offset by splashes of white on the seat piping, doors, lower instrument panel and upper pillars. Light use of piano black and satin chrome accents completes the ensemble.
“Amazing how a simple change in color makes all the difference,” notes judge Christie Schweinsberg. “I think this interior totally sells this grade of the vehicle.”
We’re particularly pleased with the integration of the denim color into every surface area. We’d expect the color to be imbued into the seat fabric, but nearly every touch point and trim piece carries a rich bluish hue, with matte-finish plastic parts carrying a technical grain.
“The blue denim theme is a nice touch,” says editor Dave Zoia. “It’s cool that the blue is carried through on dials and switches and that there’s some texture to the plastic.”
In addition, judge Tom Murphy points out color matching is flawless, regardless of whether the blue appears on the jeans-like seat covers or their leatherette edging, the leather steering-wheel trim or the molded plastic upper-dashboard.
Colors and textures aside, as noted earlier the Venue offers a surprising level of technology for this price point, highlighted by an 8.0-in. (20-cm) floating center touchscreen, backed by redundant steering-wheel controls and an excellent voice interface. Whether via Apple’s Siri, Android’s Google Voice or the Venue’s own navigation system, the Hyundai responds with prompt and accurate results, with few extra steps required to activate a route.
Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car system is the icing on the cake, allowing remote-control operation of a variety of vehicle functions, including locking and unlocking doors, remote starting, location service and vehicle status information.
Finally, space for four passengers – five in a pinch – is reasonable for such a small CUV, and the rear cargo area handles varying loads with a cargo cover that easily stows into the seatbacks and a load floor that can be lowered to allow for taller items.
Good fit and finish, loads of technology, innovative features and the perfect application of a comforting color put the value-priced Venue on our 2020 list.