The Sub-Compact SUV segment is currently one of the hottest and fastest growing one and Hyundai has got its very first model for it with the Venue. Hyundai revealed the Venue to the Indian media in the middle of the Arabian Sea on a Luxury Ship and at the same time to the global media at the 2019 New York Auto Show. In India Hyundai has already received more than 20,000 bookings for the Venue and the Compact SUV has been creating a huge buzz. The Venue steps into the Compact SUV segment which is majorly dominated by the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza followed by the Tata Nexon, Ford EcoSport and the Mahindra XUV3OO. We land in North East India on some picturesque Guwahati roads to get our hands on this latest offering from India’s 2nd largest car maker, read on further to know everything on the Hyundai Venue.
Food for Thought
The Venue is the first sub 4-meter Compact SUV from the Korean car maker Hyundai. The Venue is based on the Carlino concept that was showcased at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo. The Venue is inspired from the bigger offerings from Hyundai like the SantaFe, Palisade and more so from the Creta. The Venue received more than 2000 bookings in a single day when Hyundai opened bookings for it. The Venue is also the 1st car from Hyundai to get a Dual Clutch Automatic transmission option and a Turbo Petrol engine for the Indian market. The Venue also gets the latest generation BlueLink technology among other features on it for the first time for India.
Design & Exteriors
The all-new Hyundai Venue looks more of a scaled down version of Creta when viewed from the side. But, that’s where the similarities end. The front of the car is dominated by a huge mesh grille which is finished in dark chrome giving the car a premium appeal. Turn signal indicators are now placed where the headlamps normally are and the main headlamp assembly is neatly integrated within the bumper. The cube-shaped Projector Headlamps with fully surrounding LED DRL adds to the distinctive and modern looks to front. Coming to the side is when you notice that it looks somewhat like Creta, especially the roof and the shoulder line.
The silver finished roof rails, chrome door handles, black plastic cladding lower down on the doors, blacked out A & B-pillars and the flared wheel arches adds some character to the overall design of the car. Not to forget the 16-inch dual-tone diamond cut alloy wheels with 215/ 60 R16 MRF Wanderer tyres looks gorgeous to say the least. The rear of the car is where things get mighty interesting. The rear skid-plate and the tiny patterned designed elements on the black portion of the rear bumper, on either side, just shows the amount of detail which is gone in developing this car. The reversing light is surrounded by red reflectors place on either side of the rear bumper. Also, the car comes with rear parking sensors as standard across all variants. The tail lamp assembly is again, all LED and comes with crystal effect, which looks distinctive and gives the car an up market appeal. Last on the list is the shark fin antenna which integrates well not only with the roof, but, also with the overall design, giving the car a sporty look.
Interiors and Infotainment
Step inside the Venue and you will be welcomed with comfortable and supportive front seats. The ergonomics of the car is bang on, very typical of Hyundai. All the switches, aircon controls, gear shifter, handbrake, power window control and electric external rearview mirror controls falls right within arm’s reach. The multi-function steering wheel is meaty and feels good to hold. The instrument cluster consists of two large round white backlit analog dials (speedometer & tachometer) and a multi-information display which sits right in the middle. The dashboard is finished in black and the aircon vents are surrounded with silver finished outline.
There are three different interior trims available depending on the variant one chooses and having a sunroof is one of the best features in this segment. Ours was the all black trim with fabric seats and single tone all black dashboard. The highlight of the interiors has to be the 8-inch high resolution infotainment display with Hyundai’s latest Blue Link technology. Blue Link technology allows you to remotely turn on/ off the car, set the aircon to desired temperature, immobilize the vehicle, incase its stolen, just by sending an SMS from the Blue Link app which you need to install on your mobile phone. All these connected features are made possible due to an E-SIM service from one of the leading telecom operator in the country. Right below the display are a few switches to jump directly into navigation, maps, settings etc, and below that are the automatic climate control rotary knobs with integrated display.
The car also features latest Qi (pronounced as ‘Chee’) standard wireless charger for the supporting mobile phones, in conjunction with the normal USB slots both for the front and rear passengers. Coming to the rear, the seats are almost flat with a comfortable back angle, decent under thigh support and very limited legroom. The rear seat is comfortable for two passengers on long tours as the third passenger will be a squeeze, unless of course it’s a child. Thankfully, the rear passengers get adjustable headrests, but, skip on the foldable center armrest, which again is model specific. Also, there were no 60:40 split-seats at the rear in the variant which we were driving. Boot space is more than enough to gobble up the entire luggage (four people’s luggage in our case).
Engine, Transmission & Drive
The all-new Hyundai Venue comes with three engine options. A tried and tested 1.2L Kappa 4-cylinder petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. 1.4L CRDi 4-cylinder diesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The highlight is the all-new 1.0L Kappa Turbo GDi 3-cylinder petrol engine which produces 118bhp @ 6000rpm and churns out a healthy 17.5kgm of torque between 1500-4000rpm which comes mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and an in house developed all-new 7-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission) gearbox. Even though there are three engine options, we only got to sample the 3-cylinder petrol with DCT gearbox.
And what a pleasure it was to drive the Venue with the smallest engine, yet the most powerful one. The other surprise element was the DCT gearbox; shifts were ultra-smooth and super slick. While torque was available from as low as 1500rpm, it was only at 2000rpm that the Venue came alive and pulled all the way up to 4000rpm with all its might. It was only after 5000rpm the 3-cylinders struggled to keep the engine noise from coming inside the cabin. Overtaking maneuvers were a breeze, as we just had to dab the throttle and the DCT gearbox drops a couple of gears and lunges forward, finishing the overtaking task.
Never did we feel that we were driving a car with such a tiny engine. The Venue is hands down the best handler from Hyundai stables till date. And the ride quality was equally impressive, if not more. The suspension is slightly on the stiffer side but offers good balance between ride and handling. The steering could’ve done with a little more feel and feedback as it felt slightly disconnected under spirited driving on the curvy roads between Guwahati & Shillong.
The brakes did a good job of bringing the Venue to a complete halt from speeds in excess of 120kph without any drama. Overall the Venue drives and handles like a big car more than a compact SUV, which in our opinion is excellent. Wish we had a little more time to test drive the other engine offerings too. Watch this space; sooner or later we’ll definitely get our hands on the 1.2L petrol and the 1.4L diesel Venue.
Hyundai’s latest offering in the compact SUV segment is here to stay and it’ll definitely make a dent in the sales of its closest competition, the Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford Ecosport and the Tata Nexon. 2018-19 was the worst year for the car manufacturers in terms of sales. But, with over 17000 bookings since the Venue’s launch and over 2000 bookings on the day of its launch, the Hyundai Venue is surely on its way to revive the automotive sales for this fiscal and we won’t be surprised if it goes on to become one of the largest selling compact SUV’s in India. Good job Hyundai!
Review & Photography – Amit Shelar