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Hyundai’s new entry-level Venue crossover targets used car buyers

At first glance, the Hyundai Venue looks like yet another entry in the bloated subcompact crossover segment. But Hyundai hopes to fill a different niche than most competitors, reports Automotive News. The Korean automaker will reportedly position the Venue as an ultra-value proposition aimed at wooing used-car buyers.

The Venue will be priced so low that it will be “competing against used cars in many cases,” Michael O’Brien, vice president for product, corporate, and digital planning at Hyundai Motor America, said in an interview with Automotive News. He said about one-third of the 40 million used-car transactions in 2018 started with a buyer looking for a new vehicle but not finding what they wanted.

Lowering the price point to reach that target market was behind Hyundai’s decision to forgo all-wheel drive and make the Venue front-wheel drive only, O’Brien said. Hyundai could have “easily” added all-wheel drive, but it would have made the Venue too expensive, he said. All-wheel drive is generally considered a prerequisite for a crossover, but not all vehicles have it. The Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR — which, like the Venue, are positioned as entry-level models — are front-wheel drive only. Nissan and Toyota have bet that distinct exterior styling and slightly taller driving positions will be enough to distinguish these vehicles from regular hatchbacks.

Hyundai hasn’t disclosed pricing for the Venue, but O’Brien told Automotive News that it will start below the Hyundai Kona. With a base price of $21,035, the Kona is currently the cheapest crossover in Hyundai’s lineup. O’Brien also told Automotive News that the Venue will start “at a bit of a premium, but not much,” over the entry-level Hyundai Accent sedan, which has a base price $15,915.

The Venue is Hyundai’s seventh crossover, and its smallest. It’s about five inches shorter than the Kona, but Hyundai still promises comfortable seating for four adults and a respectable amount of cargo space. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard, with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration available as well. The sole available engine will be a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder unit, coupled to a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Venue hits showrooms later this year.

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