The Hyundai Venue, on paper, is a no brainer. At a starting price of Rs 6.5 lakhs, it is one of the most affordable compact SUVs in its class. And then when you start going up the trim levels, with the added features list, it just draws you in like a bone does a dog.
It also has a fancy new engine and gearbox combo. And given how happy the Hyundai Creta owners seem to be, the Venue too should be a good car to own, which means peace of mind and relatively affordable maintenance.
So, is there anything that the Hyundai Venue isn’t good at?
Styling certainly doesn’t fall into that category because the Venue is a handsome looking car. It doesn’t have a conventional face with the turn indicators mounted high on the bonnet, and the headlamps being where traditionally one expects to find fog lamps. But, it doesn’t look odd. In fact, with that grille, it looks quite imposing for a compact SUV.
The rest of the stance is of a typical SUV - squared out, and a bit pumped up. It has flared wheel arches, and a pronounced shoulder line, and technical looking tail lamps. And overall, the Venue gives out the impression of being a premium and modern car.
Inside, the star is the HD multimedia touchscreen. As is the norm with designs across makes and segments, the screen is a floating design. The operability, the touch response and the UI of the system feel like it would on any good touchscreen smartphone. And like any good smartphone, there’s lots to scroll through as well.
Other good bits inside include wireless charging, a cooled glovebox, driver seat height adjust, a single zone climate control system, a multifunctional steering wheel, cruise control, and a sun roof, seen so far only on the Ford EcoSport and the Mahindra XUV300.
Now, perhaps you are wondering why we haven’t spoken about the connectivity bit that allows you to remotely start the car and put on the air con using a smart phone? Well, this is the manual. And that feature is reserved for the 1-petrol with the dual clutch automatic transmission.
Now, as far as dimensions go, the Hyundai Venue isn’t the largest car in its class. In fact it has one of the smallest wheelbases, and it isn’t the widest either. Not surprisingly, it trails the competition in terms of available space for occupants. It measured less on our scales be it for head, knee or shoulder room. In fact, three abreast at the back, is a squeeze. The boot though, at 350 litres, is nearly class leading.
Seats are impressive too. The ones at the back offer good thigh and back support. And these are easy to slip into as well. The ones at the front too are large, and comfy and supportive. Impressive.
The Hyundai Venue is available with three engine options. The 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.4-litre diesel are tried and tested ones. Ones which we have already seen and used on cars like the Grand i10, the i20 and even the Creta.
The one we are driving is the new 1-litre, three cylinder turbo petrol. On paper it’s a powerhouse. With 120bhp, it is the most powerful option in the Venue range. And the peak torque of over 170Nm is also available from as low as 1,500rpm.
On the road, this 1-litre feels like a properly potent thing. It’s a turbocharged engine but with some help from electronics, it cuts the turbo lag significantly. It is happy to motor along from under 2,000rpm. And after that it just speeds up proceedings to agreeable levels. It feels peppy off the line; it’s torquey in the mid range; and it sounds quite sporty as well when you rev it.
The six speed manual that the engine is mated to has crisp and short throws; it slots in precisely; and with a light clutch it is sheer joy to just go up and down the gearbox.
What’s more, with the high seating, a short and flat dashboard and relatively thin pillars, the visibility, especially upfront and onto the sides is very good. Add to it the light but quick steering, and the Venue is an effortless car to drive.
Overall NVH levels are impressive too. And might very well be the best in class.
The answer we set out to seek at the start was whether there’s anything that the Hyundai Venue doesn’t do right ? And after having spent a day driving it in beautiful Assam and Meghalaya, well, we only ended up liking it even more than it promised on paper.
Now, if we were to nitpick, we could say it isn’t the roomiest car in its class. And, the low speed ride could have been more supple, and possibly quieter. But these aren’t exactly deal breakers.
So, as we see it, the Venue pretty much nails it.