2020 Hyundai Venue/2019 Nissan Kicks: Identical Cousins?
The North American-market version of the 2020 Hyundai Venue has finally washed ashore, trimmed and spec’d to meet Yankee Doodle expectations. Detroit editor Alisa Priddle recently flew halfway around the world to drive a global version with the steering wheel in the wrong place and had nice things to say about it, but now it’s time to find out how the Venue fares in the hands of a well-rested evaluator on familiar roads with all the controls where they belong.
Billed as a new-vehicle alternative for folks on a used-car budget, the new Venue really seems aimed squarely at the Nissan Kicks. Both are tall hatchbacks posing as tiny SUVs, though neither offers all-wheel drive. Both offer 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines with horsepower and torque figures that are within a digit, and each bolts up to a continuously variable transmission (Hyundai also offers a six-speed manual). Another peculiar coincidence: Each of those 1.6-liter engines offers dual-port injection, meaning that each of the eight intake ports gets its very own injector. This technology is new to Hyundai, though Nissan introduced it on the Japan-market Juke a decade ago to improve combustion efficiency and reduce the amount of precious metals required in the catalyst. Hyundai attributes a 1.3 percent improvement in fuel economy to this tech, but in the fuel economy race, it’s the slightly larger Kicks that leads with a 31/36/33 mpg EPA city/highway/combined rating, as compared to 30/34/32 for the Venue CVT (the manual earns 27/35/30).
Both offer all the modern conveniences many used cars are missing: bright screens that can mirror your Android or Apple smartphone and show what you’re about to back over, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and charging, and a full suite of modern safety systems including automatic emergency braking and available blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alerts. (Hyundai goes further with standard lane keep assist, driver attention warning, and pedestrian recognition with its forward collision avoidance system.) The cherry on top: Each can have its roof painted in a contrast color for max curb appeal.
American buyers should be amply impressed by the level of equipment and fit/finish in the new Venue. The seat upholstery looks snazzy, with fun patterns embossed into the black cloth center cushion sections flanked by vinyl bolsters that are attached via white welting and contrast white stitching. More white trim surrounds the shifter and rings the air vents and climate control knobs. Very upscale. Of course, Nissan also offers vents ringed in white and contrast stitching on both the seats and the dash. There’s plenty of hard plastic on both vehicles’ dash and door panels, but a technical grain and low gloss on the Venue’s upper dash sell it as pricier than it probably is.
The Venue offers reasonable storage space inside, with a nice tray above the roomy glove compartment, door cubbies, and a decent little bin between the seats, but there’s no escaping the fact that a 3.9-inch-longer wheelbase and 10.1-inch-longer bodywork afford the Kicks more passenger and cargo space (2.0 cubic feet of the former, 21.2 cubes of the latter). The wider Venue offers better shoulder room, but it otherwise feels more intimate than the Kicks inside. Conversely the Kicks’ low, flat rear cushion is less comfortable to sit on. The Venue’s cargo compartment offers two load-floor heights and slightly better finishing than the Kicks.
Out on the road, the CVTs make the most of each small engine’s modest power. Driven hard, both offer simulated gear ratios that disappear when accelerating more gently. Neither is particularly quiet at full boil, either. Acceleration from a stop seems hearty enough to meet expectations for vehicles in this class, though it’s attended by a pretty raucous engine note in both vehicles.
During a stop at one intersection, while waiting to turn right and looking around the Venue’s interior, the collision-alert sensors ordered up a friendly beep to let me know that the car ahead of me had left. That’s certainly an unexpected feature in the used-car class (and more enjoyable than a horn-honk from behind).
This brief drive in an early U.S.-spec Venue didn’t afford much opportunity to judge handling, but there does appear to be a fair amount of body roll. This is probably part and parcel of a suspension tuned to prioritize pleasant ride quality over gymkhana prowess.
We’ll need to round these two cars up—and maybe add a Ford EcoSport and Kia Soul—for a lengthier, more rigorous evaluation before we assign an official MotorTrend endorsement, but during this brief encounter the Venue validated Priddle’s jet-lagged assessment of its Aussie cousin as a “strong value and a worthy first new car purchase.”
|2020 Hyundai Venue||2019 Nissan Kicks|
|BASE PRICE||$18,000-$24,000 (est)||$19,735-$22,065|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||1.6L/121-hp/113-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4||1.6L/122-hp/114-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed manual, cont. variable auto||Cont variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||2,550-2,750 lb (mfr)||2,655 lb (61/39%)*|
|WHEELBASE||99.2 in||103.1 in|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||159.0 x 69.7 x 61.6 in||169.1 x 69.3 x 62.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||9.0-9.2 sec (MT est)||9.9 sec*|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||27-30/34-35/30-32 mpg||31/36/33 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||112-125/96-99 kW-hr/100 miles||109/94 kW-hr/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.61-0.64 lb/mile||0.59 lb/mile|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||December, 2019||Currently|
|*2018 Nissan Kicks SR model tested and weighed|
Source : Erika Pizano Link