Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Cover Story

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Cover Story

Article excerpt

baby buggy Hyundai's cute, cut-price Venue shows the pros and cons of budget buying IAIN CURRY Stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap. A simple concept but, when it comes to our insatiable appetite for small SUVs, Hyundai's new $19,990 Venue looks like sales gold.

The starting price should lure punters into showrooms before the good salesfolk talk them into the pricier variants.

These days if you show SUV shoppers a price starting with "1" - once common for small hatchbacks - they may go into a Boxing Day-style sales frenzy.

It makes good business sense. Hyundai's new baby SUV is giving the people what they want: good value urban transport, desirable SUV body, high ride for those with dodgy knees or hips, enough safety and features, plus assuring five-year warranty. All boxes ticked.

I know what you're thinking. Hyundai already has a small SUV with its funky Kona.

This one's even smaller, best seen as a replacement for the brand's titchy Accent city car. The Accent will be dropped from Hyundai's line-up by year's end, even though it's the country's best-selling light car, last year's sales tally exceeding 15,000.

Are they mad? Probably not. The Accent costs just $15,490 - meaning very little profit margin - and our buying habits are changing rapidly. In just five years, sales of light cars (think Mazda2, Toyota Yaris) have dropped by 37 per cent, while small SUV sales have grown by 58 per cent.

It's certainly cute but the stacked headlight front-end and pumped out wheel arches suggest some ruggedness, even if off-roading in this front-wheel drive is a strict no-no.

And what of kerb appeal? Pick the top grade Elite ($25,490 plus on-roads) and you get edgy 17-inch alloys, two-tone paint, contrast colour body inserts, chrome grille and LED tail-lights.

Despite the awkwardly skinny rear, these Elites look superb - especially if you're bold enough to option Acid Yellow with black roof.

The lesser Go (from $19,990) and Active (from $21,490) on 15-inch wheels and plainer hues look a bit daggy in profile. …

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