Hyundai Venue is a headlight upgrade away from a Top Safety Pick Plus award

Hyundai's smallest crossover earns an IIHS Top Safety Pick award, but lackluster headlights keep it from earning the extra Plus designation.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read
2021 Hyundai Venue

The Venue is Hyundai's newest and smallest crossover.


new Venue crossover was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety this week, but only when equipped with specific headlights. In fact, this headlight caveat is what kept the Venue from earning the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus award, according to IIHS.

In order to be named a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to earn a "good" rating in six crash tests, "advanced" or "superior" ratings for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention and either an "acceptable" or "good" headlight score. The Venue easily passed the first two, and while its optional LED headlights earned a rating of acceptable, the base halogen lights only warranted a "marginal" score.

"The base headlights -- halogen projectors -- rate marginal due to inadequate illumination on curves," IIHS said in a statement Thursday.

2020 Hyundai Venue is a big ball o' value

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The added burn here is that the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award is given to vehicles that have headlight ratings of good or acceptable across the board, in addition to other Top Safety Pick criteria. If Hyundai fitted the Venue with LED headlights as standard equipment -- which is kind of a curious cost-cutting omission, to be honest -- it would be a Top Safety Pick Plus winner.

Still, credit where credit's due, the earns stellar crash test ratings, bucking the common misconception that small vehicles aren't as safe as larger ones. We're fans of the little Venue here at Roadshow, but we're also big believers in adequate headlights. Here's hoping LEDs will come standard soon.

Read more: Best headlight restoration kits in 2020

Watch this: 5 things you need to know about the 2020 Hyundai Venue