Winner: 2022 Hyundai Venue
The 2022 Hyundai Venue plays the same hand as the rival Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks — small front-wheel-drive hatchbacks with SUV-like stances and higher seating positions than their subcompact platforms would normally prescribe, but no all-wheel drive or serious ground clearance. Laugh all you want, but the poseurdom pays off: Median list pricing at Cars.com dealers hovered below $22,000 for these trucklets in 2020 and most of 2021. That’s thousands below median pricing for traditional entry-level SUVs. In a market gone SUV, these are the undisputed value players, and no model embodies that more than the Venue.
Consider the evidence. For $20,125 (all prices include MSRP plus destination charges), the base Venue SE has requisite power accessories, an automatic transmission, alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, keyless entry, well-rated automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, and Hyundai’s excellent warranty plus three years’ free maintenance. That’s a boatload of features, given that some rivals charge extra for automatic braking or an 8-inch screen, and most lack wireless phone integration in any trim level.
The SE is no phantom trim, either, comprising about one-fifth of new Venue inventory at Cars.com dealers as of this writing. At the other end, even a factory-loaded Venue Limited comes to around $23,000 with extras like keyless access, push-button start, automatic climate control and heated seats. That’s as much of a factor in the Venue’s agreeable median list pricing — around $22,000 brand-new from Cars.com dealers as of this writing. That’s 43% below the median list price for all new cars.
The Venue presents a pile of value, no doubt, but it wins this award by doing so without being a pile of you-know-what. As our full review notes, Hyundai’s quasi-SUV is a pleasant, if basic, runabout with spacious front seating, must-have tech and user-friendly controls. The Venue’s tiny four-cylinder delivers gradual acceleration and an unremarkable EPA-rated 31 mpg combined, but it retains a substantial, planted composure even at highway speeds. The Venue won Cars.com’s inaugural Best Value award one model year ago. For 2022, make it two in a row: This trucklet remains the undefeated, undisputed champ.
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