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2021 Hyundai Venue Denim

a dark blue 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim, parked in a parking log in Seal Beach, California

A Compact SUV For Life In The City

LACar squeezes into the Hyundai Venue Denim - snug as a pair of skinny jeans, with hipster cred to match.

By John Owens

Wed, Nov 3, 2021 01:26 PM PST

I’ll admit, when the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim arrived for me to take for a spin, I was confused. Why did they send me a Mini Cooper? Their exteriors are shockingly similar, down to the white roof and mirror accents. But the signature "H" and grated, cascading Hyundai grill told me I was indeed getting the correct vehicle. Clearly, the emphasis on this compact SUV is its size.

But the denim interior and clever safety features are what sets the Hyundai Venue Denim apart. It’s a smart city car for beatnik borough dwellers, not quite meant for the families on the open road, but one of the best compact SUVs for couples taking quick trips around town.

A denim blue 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim with both side doors open, showing the interior.
Yeah, the Hyundai Venue is small, but it never claimed anything else.

The Hyundai Venue Denim Interior - Comfy As A Pair Of Jeans

If you’re getting the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim edition, you were drawn to the interior. It’s hard to call denim "sophisticated", but this interior sure is classic and cool. The contrasting blue and white accents of the denim/leatherette combo are a winner. It’s stylish without being snobby with understated accents and a harmonious blend of simple and high-tech.

image of the interior of the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim, with the two front seats and their denim upholstery in clear sight.
They weren't kidding when they said "denim".

The denim doesn’t cook and didn’t light my butt on fire after being sat in the California sun for a few hours. The Venue Denim is well-suited to windows-down driving and a tank-and-boardies climate. A "sweatpants" edition would be overdoing it, but denim is just right.

The 8-inch color touchscreen with navigation and steering wheel controls give you everything you need at just a short arm’s length. Or, use Bluetooth® hands-free phone system with Apple CarPlay® or Android Auto™ integration, offering connectivity no matter where your mobile loyalties lie.

How Does The Hyundai Venue Drive?

The Venue might look sleek but it won’t dazzle with its power. With just 121 horsepower in its 1.6L DPI 4-cylinder engine, it isn’t fast and can’t keep up with Southern California highway traffic, but is perfect for scooting light to light and squeezing through the tight spaces of urban areas. It’s a cute little turtle with street cred - think function over fun.

an image of the front and right side of the 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim on a parking lot in Southern California.
The denim color carries over to the exterior of the Hyundai Venue "Denim", completing the "jeans-look" nicely.

Consistent SoCal dryness and sunshine meant I didn’t get to test out the "Snow" drive mode, and felt no difference between "Normal" and "Sport". However, the traction control overall seemed a bit odd. It kicked in seemingly at random and the car really didn’t seem to have a ton of grip. Granted, our roads suck, but I did find it odd.

Small and nimble in city streets, the Venue can pull a quick U-ie when needed. You’ll be thankful for its size, sensors, and cameras when you can cram it into that one available tiny space at your destination. Perhaps the best thing about driving the Venue is that you can park it anywhere.

Smart Safety Features 

What the Hyundai Venue lacks in power, it makes up for with a strong emphasis on safety. With the best safety rating in class, it boasts a bevy of tech features that can help detect any obstacles life in the city might throw your way. The hard-to-see cyclists, rogue shopping carts, and even changing road conditions are no match for the Venue.

As I left Trader Joe’s, the rear cross-traffic collision warning alerted me to a minivan passing behind. When pulling out of an alleyway onto a street packed with parked cars, the forward collision avoidance-assist picked up an oncoming Mustang before I could even see it. Out to dinner with my wife, the many cameras and contact detection features prevented any scratches and dings when making a tight squeeze in the parking garage. The Venue is right at home in a "compact" space.

a close-up shot of the center dashboard in a 2021 Hyundai Venue.
Classic compact Hyundai interior, but with a good-sized touchscreen.

Other features emerge in the dark. The 405 South is an absolute mess through Huntington Beach, and the Venue firmly reminded me to adhere to the serpentine lane lines. Highbeam assist lit up a hazy, dark early morning commute to my workout as Rock the Bells thumped on SiriusXM Satelite radio. I didn’t even have to look down to check my speed on PCH - it’s projected onto the lower portion of the windshield. It even picked up and displayed a little stop sign - neat!

The Venue’s Driver Attention Warning could sense my fatigue as I drove home from a late hockey game. It keeps tabs on your driving patterns, and when it notices drowsy or inattentive driving, it lets you know. You’ll hear an alert and a warning message to help prevent potential accidents. You might even give it a “thank you” as I did.

A 2021 Hyundai Venue parked in Southern California, displaying the very blue exterior of the Denim-trim.
She'll fit nicely anywhere you need to park, the Hyundai Venue.

What Is Wrong With The Hyundai Venue?

Well, maybe wrong isn’t fair, but the big thing to note about the Hyundai Venue is its size - it is small! For some, that will be perfect, but for others, it could be a drawback.

The Hyundai Venue is not a family vehicle, nor does it claim to be. It has a backseat, but any passengers you bring along will be crammed in there. Our 50-lb. Labrador enjoyed how accessible we were to her, but more space would be preferable to a growing family. A car seat? Forget about it.

a photo of the trunk space of the 2021 Hyundai Venue showing the deep, yet not so wide, space available for your gear.
For a compact, the Hyundai Venue does have a decent amount of space in the trunk.

If you’ve got gear to load, the trunk is quite deep - easily fitting my hockey bag while a full load of groceries nestled nicely into the trunk and didn’t topple over during the drive home.

Who Should Buy The 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim?

This little whip is perfect for hipster city dwellers looking to scoot to their favorite coffee shop or anyone with a quick commute. It’s date night and weekend brunch ready. The Venue can fit anywhere, with plenty of tools to assist even the worst parallel parkers. Fast-moving tech and standout style make the Venue pop from uptown to downtown and anywhere in between.

the interior of a 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim, as seen from the driver's perspective if they turn around.
The driver's view of the rear seat.
the rear seats of a 2021 Hyundai Venue Denim, in the very blue Denim trim.
The actual rear seats.

The 2021 Hyundai Venue takes to the streets not quite like a boss, but more a quality, reliable worker who shows up on time and gets the job done. Get to your meetings and meet-ups with confidence and ease with safety features that look out for you when distractions abound. Your urban adventures await.

About The Author

John Owens's profile picture

John Owens

Based in Seal Beach, California, John is a former bicycle commuter turned work-from-home-non-commuter, an anomaly for a car reviewer. He dearly misses Bertha, his clunky yet indestructible 1992 Volvo 240, who taught him that a car, like an old dog, can provide unconditional love as long as you love them back and don’t expect them to climb hills.

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