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Sibling Rivalry: 2021 Hyundai Kona vs. 2021 Hyundai Venue

Is the Kona or the Venue the right small Hyundai SUV for you?

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Once known primarily for its cost-conscious small sedans like the Pony, Accent and Elantra, Hyundai now offers one of the most complete roster of SUVs in the market. While the larger Hyundai Palisade, Santa Fe and Tucson offer more room, power and features, the 2021 Hyundai Kona and Venue siblings offer SUV-like characteristics in a sub-compact package.

The 5-passenger Hyundai Kona has become one of the best-selling sub-compact SUVs in Canada since its arrival for 2018. One of the main reasons for the small Hyundai SUV's popularity is its wide range of choices for buyers. The Kona can be had with front- or all-wheel-drive (AWD), a pair of gas engines or the choice of an all-electric version.

The Venue debuted in Canada last year and is Hyundai’s least-expensive SUV. Hyundai refers to it as an “urban compact SUV.” That emphasizes that the 5-passenger Venue is front-wheel drive (FWD) only and is at its best shuffling around town in an efficient and practical manner.

Read on to find out which of these Hyundai small SUV siblings is just right for you.

 

Price

The base, FWD $21,299 CDN 2021 Kona Essential is well-equipped. A 7-inch infotainment touchscreen that includes Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay plus heated front seats are standard. AWD is a $2,000 CDN add-on. The topline Ultimate AWD trim includes Hyundai SmartSense active safety suite, 8-inch colour touchscreen navigation system with Infinity premium audio system, LED headlights (low and high beam) with high beam assist, and wireless device charging. If you don't want a gas engine powering your small SUV, the $44,999 CDN Kona Electric is unique in this segment. 

With a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $17,599 CDN for the base Essential trim with a 6-speed manual transmission, the 2021 Hyundai Venue is one of the most affordable new vehicles you can buy. Key standard features include an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen, wireless Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay, front 3-stage heated seats, and heated/power adjustable side mirrors. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is a $1,300 CDN option. The topline $24,999 CDN Ultimate trim adds such features as front collision avoidance assist, high beam assist, lane keep assist, BlueLink Connected Car Services, navigation with MapCare support, and Automatic Temperature Control.

Also note: Both the Kona and Venue come with Hyundai’s stellar 5-year/100,000-kilomtre comprehensive warranty. 

Winner: 2021 Hyundai Venue

 

Interior 

Overall, the Kona offers more room than its Venue sibling. The Kona’s front seats are perfectly comfortable, and the controls are easy to see and use, with physical buttons that complement the standard touchscreen. The Kona also offers slightly more cargo space behind its rear seats: 544 litres compared to the venue’s 528. It too has an adjustable load floor with hidden storage—a smart inclusion. The Kona Electric has its own twists, such as replacing the transmission lever with buttons for Drive, Reverse, Neutral and Park.

Hyundai produces some of our favorite interiors. The Venue’s cabin, in black or gray, features the relative simplicity typical of a sub-$20,000 interior, but with touches of the rugged personality established by the exterior. Because the Venue’s rear roofline is more upright than the Kona’s, it offers slightly more headroom for rear occupants. The Venue does offers a convenient dual-level cargo floor. 

Winner: 2021 Hyundai Kona

 

Performance & Fuel Economy

All three of the Kona’s powerplants offer more power than the Venue’s lone 4-cylinder, starting with the base 2.0-litre 4-cylinder gas engine that makes 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque matched exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The optional turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder puts out a healthy 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque and uses a 7-speed automatic. Both gas engines can be had with either FWD or AWD. Boasting an estimated range of 415 kilometres between charges, the Kona Electric uses a powerful 201 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque electric motor and single-gear automatic transmission to send power to the front wheels.

The 2021 Hyundai Venue’s 1.6-litre 4-cylinger making 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a CVT. Power goes to the front wheels only. With combined city and highway estimates of 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 m) for the manual gearbox and 7.5 for the CVT, the Venue betters the most fuel-efficient gas powered Kona, the FWD base trim, rated at 7.9 L/100 km.

Winner: 2021 Hyundai Kona

 

Ride and Handling

Given the modest distance between its front and rear axles, the Hyundai Kona is remarkably supple and stable. As well as providing optimum traction, AWD Konas get an independent rear suspension, which is a more sophisticated setup and improves both the ride and the dynamics. The Kona Electric can feel a bit choppier than its regular counterpart, due to the weight of its battery pack. Yet it feels more planted, because of the lower center of gravity. Like other electric vehicles, acceleration comes on like flipping a light switch, accompanied by an eerie almost-silence (no engine or exhaust noise).

Even though the Venue’s engine puts out less power, Hyundai’s smallest crossover feels reasonably peppy. Its CVT is well-tuned to “shift” like a traditional automatic transmission. In the Normal Drive mode, the Venue powertrain responds in typical fashion to throttle inputs. In Sport mode, Hyundai, by keeping the CVT in lower ratios and the engine at higher rpm, makes the Venue responds more crisply, aided further by sharper throttle tuning. The ride quality of the Venue is comfortable but slightly firm. Unlike the AWD Kona’s independent rear suspension, the Venue comes with a torsion-beam rear axle only. 

Winner: 2021 Hyundai Kona

 

Overall Winner: 2021 Hyundai Kona

Despite both the 2021 Hyundai Kona and Venue siblings are classified as 5-pasesnger sub-compact SUVs, Hyundai product planners have done an excellent job offering enough differences to give consumers a definitive choice.

If a low initial purchase price and fuel economy are at the top of your list, the 2021 Venue is the Hyundai small SUV to get. Drawbacks are few: a smaller cabin (expect for rear headroom), a single engine choice, a less sophisticated ride and handling package, and no available AWD.

Yet, despite its higher pricing, the 2021 Hyundai Kona offers so much more. More powertrain choices, more interior space, and more traction with available AWD. It’s the Hyundai sub-compact SUV sibling we’d recommend.

 

Specs

2021 Hyundai Kona

2021 Hyundai Venue

 

Engine(s)

2.0-litre I4

Turbocharged 1.6-litre I4

Electric Motor

 

1.6-litre I4

Horsepower

2.0- 146 hp @ 6,200 rpm

T1.6- 175 hp @ 5,500 rpm

EV-  201 hp

 

121 hp @ 5,600 rpm

 

Torque

2.0-132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm

T1.6- 195 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,500 rpm

EV- 290 lb-ft

 

113 hp @ 2,000-4,000 rpm

Transmission(s)

2.0- 6-speed automatic

T1.6- 7-speed automatic

EV- Single Speed Reduction Gear

 

6-speed manual

Continuously variable automatic

Fuel Economy

FWD 2.0- 7.9 L/100 km (8.6 city, 7.0 hwy)

AWD 2.0- 8.6 L/100 km (9.2 city, 7.8 hwy)

AWD T1.6- 8.6 L/100 km (9.2 city, 7.8 hwy)

EV- 2.0 L/100 km (1.8 city, 2.2 hwy)

 

6M- 7.8 L/100 km (8.6 city, 6.8 hwy)

CVT- 7.5 L/100 km (7.9 city, 7.0 hwy)

 

 

Warranty

5 years/100,000 km

5 years/100,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

5

5

Curb Weight

1,311-1,478 kgs

1,156-1,251 kgs

Wheelbase

2,600 mm

2,520 mm

Overall Length

4,165 mm

4,040 mm

Width

1,800 mm

1,770 mm

Height

1,565 mm

1,592 mm

Headroom, Front

1,005 mm

1,000 mm

Headroom, Rear

961 mm

980 mm

Legroom, Front

1,054 mm

1,050 mm

Legroom, Rear

880 mm

870 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,410 mm

1,370 mm

Shoulder Room, Rear

1,385 mm

1,365 mm

Cargo Volume, Behind Rear seats

544 L

528 L

 

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