Singapore, Jan. 25 -- With a car named Venue, is Hyundai Motor saying it has arrived? If it is, it is not entirely groundless.

In three decades, the South Korean group's cars have risen from obscurity to match many of its Japanese rivals' and, in some cases, overtake them in areas such as ride and handling, innovation and packaging.

The Venue is another fine example. This subcompact urban crossover is at first glance another variation of the Hyundai Kona. But it is quite different.

It has a smaller footprint, but is taller. So cabin space is better than the Kona's, with the impression reinforced by a higher ceiling, a slim dash and narrower seat cushions.

The interior is cheerfully young. A two-tone hard plastic fascia dominates, wi...