YONGIN, Gyeonggi Province -- Hyundai Motor’s latest sports utility vehicle Venue targets a specific group of people -- those in their 20s and 30s pursuing a single and minimalist lifestyle.
Well, as its name indicates, the vehicle can literally take you anywhere, but the driving experience of Venue, which simply is just a small SUV, is short of enthralling.
Let’s admit it. One should not expect too much from an entry-level car with a price range between $13,000 and $18,000. But the lack of insulation inside the car to control the noise or a lackluster sound system may come as a “thumbs-down” factor for the 20-something driver, the model’s main target.
Hyundai Motor's Venue (Hyundai Motor)
The thinness of windows, noticeably thinner than others, seems to be a part to blame. They appear to have been applied to Venue to reduce the car’s weight, thus to increase fuel efficiency, and most importantly, to cut down the cost.
Aside from that, Venue has its own upside, particularly in terms of driving safety, fuel efficiency and price.
It includes forward collision-avoidance assist, driver attention warning and lane-keeping assist, as basic safety features –- something you might have to pay extra as options with other vehicles in the same category.
Its lane-keeping assist system is so strong, meaning that you might have to fight against the resistant power of the steering wheel when you step on lanes.
Fuel efficiency is higher than its competitor, namely SsangYong’s Tivoli. Venue runs 13.7 kilometer per liter while Tivoli has an official fuel efficiency record of 12.1 kilometer per liter. Hyundai said it has worked on not only reducing the entire weight of the vehicle but also reducing air resistance to achieve the highest fuel efficiency in the category.
The vehicle also features a two-wheel drive mode that ensures driving safety on wet and snowy roads.
Color variation of the vehicle, 21 in total, is also noticeable along with the modern design of rear lamp and cascading grille, which gives one an idea that the biggest strength of Venue perhaps is its design. The box-car has its modern and unique appeal, portraying the lifestyle of 20-something singletons who cherish their own happiness over having a bigger family.
The proportion of single-member households relative to all households in the country jumped to 29 percent last year, from 16 percent in 2000, said Hyundai Motor Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk. It is expected to reach 36 percent by 2030.
The company plans to set up pop-up stores, publish magazines and run commercials to promote public awareness on enjoying “hon (meaning single, alone in Korean) life” with Venue.
For Hyundai, Venue holds a significant meaning. It completes the carmaker’s SUV lineup, in which it has invested heavily in recent years, defying market criticism of its reliance on midsized sedans. This latest addition to its SUV lineup takes its place alongside the flagship Palisade, the Santa Fe compact, the Tucson subcompact and Kona.
It remains to be seen whether Hyundai’s specific emphasis on affordability can appeal to singletons today who may value quality and uniqueness over price.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Korea Herald Ratings
Design: 3 stars
Fuel economy: 3 stars
Safety: 3 stars
Price: 3 stars