INFECTIOUS PERSONALITY

Garage

FELIPE UBILLA

PANDEMIC OPS IN THE PINT-SIZED HYUNDAI

T HERE ARE A FEW things that I have planned for which a selection of cars would be preferable: a ute for grabbing building supplies; a wagon to shift a bunch of boxes with kids’ toys; something large and comfortable for a much-needed holiday.

But we reside in inner Melbourne and right now our beloved city is under Stage Four restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. So all of those plans are just pipe dreams until the lockdown begins to ease.

Our new reality sees me darting off to the local shops after work to grab supplies in the Venue before our 8pm curfew. Having had little previous time with the car, thus far it has been a pleasant surprise.

Walking away from the Acid Green SUV, I’m reminded of the toxic goo Jack Nicholson fell into in Batman – except I haven’t had the urge to wear eccentric purple suits coming out of it. Bad jokes aside, I am a fan of the paint, especially as it helps with trying to spot the Venue when returning to shopping centre car parks.

Having only seen the Venue in images, I initially thought the grille was overdone and oversized. But in the metal it’s a different story – the grille and overall design feel cohesive and fresh. The light signature and general shape has shades of the Citroen C4 Cactus in it, but with crease lines and no questionable ‘AirBumps’.

Heading back home I muse over how well the Venue handles, even if the ride is a touch firm. Previously we’ve touted the mid-spec Active as the pick of the bunch for being cheaper and riding on 15-inch wheels, but Hyundai has just announced the MY21 update for the Active and topspec Elite. So while the entry-level Go remains untouched, the Active now comes with 17-inch alloys and a price hike of $420, resulting in the manual costing $22,120 and the auto $24,140.

The auto-only Elite jumps by $250 to clock in at $25,990 and it now includes keyless entry and start – welcome additions to bring it on par with some of its rivals. But if ride comfort is near the top of your check-list, the Go (which rolls on 15-inch hoops) is definitely worth a look.

Arriving home in a shroud of darkness, the bright and plucky Hyundai strikes me as the perfect car for these dark times. Small and nimble, it’s ideal for the daily dash. Dare I say, I’m finding the Venue infectious.

FELIPE UBILLA

REPORT FIVE

HYUNDAI VENUE ELITE

Price as tested: $26,385 

This month: 306km @ 9.5L/100km

GETTING SQUEEZY

Lockdown negates the chance to get the tribe into the Venue to test it as a family car. Its stature is great for getting around town, but if regular four-up family trips are on the cards, I’d recommend spending an extra $4K to upsize to the Tucson for its greater cabin and boot space.