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Photo: Hyundai

This week I'm driving the Hyundai Venue Denim, the very definition of what the auto industry calls a "cute ute."

The big picture: The stylish compact SUV is aimed at young urban buyers who want an SUV but have no intention of driving off-road. (Good thing because it's not available in four-wheel-drive.)

  • 63% of Venue buyers are women — people like my 24-year-old daughter who said she could see herself owning one.

What's new: The Denim edition I drove is full of personality, with a distinctive blue interior inspired by your favorite jeans.

  • The fabric and leatherette seats have a blue striped pattern and most of the interior surfaces are blue, too, with cream-colored accents.
  • The Venue Denim also stands out for its exterior styling, including a two-tone, blue-and-white paint job.
  • Advanced safety technologies like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist are standard on all Venue models, along with a driver attention warning system to detect drowsy or careless driving.

The bottom line: The Hyundai Venue is a cool, well-equipped, small car that's affordable, starting at just $17,250 and topping out at $23,305 for the Denim edition.

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

What we're driving: 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve

2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve. Photo: Lincoln

This week I drove the 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve, a compact luxury SUV offering more evidence that Lincoln is back.

The big picture: As Ford Motor's premium brand, Lincoln has struggled to find its footing among Japanese and European luxury competitors. But starting a few years ago, it stopped trying to copy those guys and focused instead on pampering customers with a modern interpretation of American luxury.

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight — hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts.

The big picture: Air quality alerts were issued Wednesday for the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.