2021 Hyundai Venue SEL

August 24, 2021 - Crossover/SUV, Features -

It’s that Good!

by Paul Herrold

Most families go through it: that moment when your teenager turns 16 and starts hinting at wanting a car. As a parent, what should you buy with a realistic budget of $25,000?

This is a real question that many people face when shopping for a vehicle. Do you buy a brand-new entry-level car with a full warranty, no wear and tear, and a new car smell, or—for the same money—do you get a 3- to 4-year-old used luxury car with a shortened warranty, some wear and tear, and heavy hints of pizza and air freshener? Well, Korean car giant Hyundai is betting that you will want the former—and they have just the vehicle to sell you: the 2021 Venue SEL.

Introduced in 2020, the 2021 Hyundai Venue SEL is the mid-trim level in the Venue line-up. When optioned with the Premium package, however, you are able to get every option available—including all the latest safety tech—for an as-tested MSRP of $23,335.00, including destination. The price covers a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and—as of 2021—3 year/36,000 miles of free maintenance. The warranty is important to mention as it is one of the biggest factors for buyers when comparing a new car to a used one.

Now let’s find a comparable 3- to 4-year-old, entry-level luxury small SUV that comes in front-wheel-drive and costs around the same price. Well, with a similar body style and many identical features, a 32,500-mile 2017 Mercedes Benz GLA250FWD comes in at a pre-owned price of $23,110.00 and still has some warranty left.

Come on, a Hyundai versus a Mercedes? Yes, this little Venue manages to punch well above its weight-class. The small, subcompact crossover delivers the interior room of a midsize sedan. From the 8-inch touch screen infotainment center stack, to the texture on the buttons and knobs, the Hyundai Venue certainly has a class-leading interior despite its inexpensive materials. Good at handling with a short wheelbase and quick turn-in, the Venue is actually quite fun to drive. Its suspension is on the firmer side, but not harsh, and the SUV possesses great straight-line stability. It has good traction for a front-wheel drive vehicle, too—you won’t miss the AWD! 

Of course, the Venue does have a few downsides. With only 121 horsepower from a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine, highway passing does take a bit of planning. Additionally, the seats are not comfortable for long trips, the armrests have zero padding and trunk space is a little limited.

So, how does the Venue stack up to that pre-owned Mercedes GLA250FWD? Both vehicles feature similar options including emergency call-center connectivity, a leather wrap steering wheel, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry with push button start, a power sunroof, heated front seats, and more. But where the Mercedes’ list eventually stops, the Hyundai’s bag of goodies keeps giving: forward collision avoidance and pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, tire pressure monitoring, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay… need I go on? Sure, the Benz may have more power, more luxury touches, a killer stereo system, and the prestige of a three-pointed star bolted to the front grill, but for roughly the same $23,000.00, it really comes down to your priorities—do you want to drive a “nameplate” that gets respect from complete strangers, but lacks all of today’s newest safety tech, or do you want to drive a vehicle that has it all and gets respect from you, the owner? I think I speak for most people when I say that the 2021 Hyundai Venue SEL makes a great case for choosing a new car. It’s that good!

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