“WELL THAT’S bloody annoying,” I thought to myself. I’d just tried to put my Keep Cup into one of the Venue’s central cup holders. Frustratingly, the cork band on my environmentally conscious caffeine receptacle fouled the edges, and it wouldn’t fit.

Turns out only smaller cups and bottles will fit in the central holders. As I spend more time with the Venue, it’s little quirks (both good and bad) like this that have become more prominent. One of the positive surprises has been the rear window wiper, which automatically activates if you select reverse gear while the front wipers are also on.

At this price point, value for money is one of the biggest customer priorities, and for a sub-$30K SUV, the Venue remains a compelling option.

However, I’ve begun to ponder if paying for the flagship Elite is worth the extra coin compared to its more affordable variants.

Costing an extra $2020 compared to the mid-spec Active auto, the Elite offers some mild styling upgrades and boosts the wheel size to 17-inches (up from 15). But while the larger wheels look sharper, the trade-off is a small reduction in ride quality. Personally, I’d prefer the cushier ride.

Inside, there are more worthwhile additions. Elite versions gain sat-nav with live traffic updates, DAB+ radio, single-zone climate control and an extra fast-charging USB socket.

I like to have the temperature ‘just so’ in a car, so the climate control has been appreciated, while the fastcharging has been helpful on plenty of occasions when I’ve left the house with a phone on low battery.

Your extra outlay also nets you some extra active safety gear. Elite versions gain blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert, which go a long way to justifying the higher price tag. The blind-spot monitoring can be a tad over-cautious, but I prefer this to a safety system that keeps quiet when it shouldn’t.

What isn’t worth the money, is the inbuilt sat-nav system. I’ve opted not to use Android Auto to better understand the inbuilt system and, well, you’re much better off using smartphone mirroring. That is, unless you enjoy taking the long, slow way home. Hyundai’s sat-nav can’t hold a candle to Google Maps or Waze.

So is the Elite an over-priced flagship? Far from it. Sat-nav aside, its visual, tech and safety additions justify its higher price. Yet for me, the mid-spec Active (which Hyundai predicts will be the volume seller) is the smarter buy. It drives just as well, rides a little better, and I can make do without a few bells and whistles.




Price as tested: $25,940 

This month: 318km @ 9.4L/100km