Compact SUV’s are the trend that every automaker in India wants to jump in right now with the segment seeing the most growth in the automobile industry that is taking a dip right now. The segment is predominated by Hyundai’s biggest rival in the Indian scene, Maruti Suzuki with their Vitara Brezza while the scraps are all being fought for by the likes of Ford, Mahindra, Tata with the Ecosport, XUV300 and Nexon respectively. While Hyundai offers the Creta which in capacity fits right into this segment, it is positioned above these cars because of bigger chassis and pricing wise making Hyundai unable to exploit the segment directly. To do this they needed a new product that was adequately sized, priced and reasonably powered so that it didn’t hinder the Creta’s popularity but didn’t fall behind in this cut-throat segment.
Hyundai comes to the compact SUV segment to turn tables…
|2019 Hyundai Venue|
And so came the Hyundai Venue. The design of the Venue its classic Hyundai and even from a distance it is instantly recognizable. It gets a massive cascading grille on the front and split headlamps with LED strips on the top and square lamps on the bottom that are lined with DRL’s which give it a fresh design in the Hyundai portfolio which has been seemingly very incremental for quite some time making the cars look dated, though Hyundai plans to overhaul design in 2020 to change that. While people might have different opinions on the new front fascia of the Venue, some love it, some despise it, truth is it cannot be ignored and that is good. The entire chassis is boxy in design and gets chunky and rugged look overall to add to the SUV appeal of the car but retains a funky look to make it relevant to the new-age customer which sets is apart from the competition that is trying very hard to look as much as it can by adopting the same designs as from bigger SUV’s from their company portfolios. The car isn’t the biggest in the segment and while it tries hard to look big, it cannot be overlooked that it does fall short in dimensions that are offered by rivals which takes away the presence on road factor which is one of the primary conditions for the customers who want compact SUV’s.
It gets 16inch alloy rims that have a Neo-funky design which is appealing. The overall design of the car is trying to appeal to the new generation of customers which is also the product strategy for Hyundai with the Venue and with that in mind, the Venue feels just right. On the inside, the interiors of the car are rather neat and simple with a clear inspiration from the boxy exterior seen on the inside too. The AC vents on the centre console are almost exactly the same shape as the tail-lamps on the car which once brought to notice is hard to forget and is a nice touch. The fit and finish is excellent and nothing feels loose and flimsy and the material used are also of good quality. The plastic quality in the lower parts does seem to be a little poor but it’s the areas you’ll rarely interact with and can be forgiven. Fo the rest of the car, the dashboard is textured and non reflective and the gear knob is also feels solid and nice to touch. The car gets an all black finish with white stitching which is a nice touch and even extends to the steering wheel. Media duties are handled by a floating 8.0inch touch display with input buttons too which is good, however the quality of the display isn’t on par, with poor colors and contrast and its simply not bright enough in direct sunlight and it’s placement feels rather odd. The display is responsive otherwise and is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. It also gets all the connected car features thanks to the embedded SIM card and by using the smartphone app, you can turn on the car, turn the AC on and lock unlock the doors from anywhere and get vehicle information as you like.
The seats are snug and comfortable and have an odd sporty appeal which is a nice hint to offer giving it a great driving position and dynamic. The rear seats however suffer due to the smaller dimensions of the car as it suffers on enough legroom and under thigh support on the seats making it uncomfortable for longer drives for taller passengers. The boot gets around 350 liter of storage which is just adequate but not exceptionally great, again because of the smaller size of the car. The Hyundai Venue comes in 2 powertrains. A 998cc 3 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that makes around 118 brake horsepower and a peak torque output of about 172Nm which is reasonable power and punch, however the engine is tuned to grab fuel efficiency rather than crunch lap times and doesn’t have any thrill as such but a progressive mid-range suitable for highways. This is mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox or a 7 speed dual clutch gearbox as an option however the DCT doesn’t come with paddle shifters. The other engine choice is 1396cc 4 cylinder diesel engine that makes a meagre 88.7 brake horsepower but a strong 220Nm of torque and is mated to a 6 speed manual only.
While this isn’t the engine to choose if you’re a driving enthusiast on a budget and needs a compact SUV ( you’ll be better off with the Ford EcoSport EcoBoost options if you really enjoy driving), it certainly is much better suited for city driving as it returns great mileage and the massive torque at the low end keeps it running even in higher gears and needs less shifts at low speeds suited for traffic. The suspension on the Venue is on the stiffer side which gives it quite some feedback over rough terrains but it isn’t as terrible as it sounds. However at higher speeds too it isn’t very confidence inspiring because of the not so responsive steering. However body roll is well contained and it doesn’t feel nervous changing directions as much as you’d expect it to which is good. All in all, its not the best compact SUV out there, but if you spend most of your time driving in the city and need a compact SUV for some reason that gives great efficiency and looks modern and different, the Venue might be a decent choice. The pricing of the Hyundai Venue starts from 6.70lac INR ex-showroom Delhi.