You have compact SUVs being launched from almost every mass-market car manufacturer in India, but the party got even more exciting when Hyundai decided to launch its Venue in India. It sits below the Creta and takes on the likes of Kia’s Sonet, Tata’s Nexon and Maruti Suzuki Brezza. It’s yet to be seen if it can take on the upcoming cars in India from Skoda and Volkswagen.
A solid box
The Hyundai Venue looks nothing like the Sonet; its boxy silhouette can easily separate it from the more stylish Kia counterpart. Up-ahead, it features a big, cascading chrome-lined grille, split headlights with LED strips above and a square-like housing surrounded by LED DRLs. The Hyundai Venue also gets body cladding all over, giving it a ‘rugged’ look. The flat bonnet, roof rails, the character lines alongside and the muscular wheel arches are enough to draw buyers. It gets 16-inch alloy wheels. At the back, the Hyundai Venue continues to look simple with cubical tail lights and the reversing lamps positioned in the bumper, plus the width of the scuff plate gives it a tough look. By and large, it’s upright proportions are sure to be liked by many. But there’s no denying the fact it does look a bit small.
Inside the Venue, you will find a neat-looking dashboard with horizontal elements; it appears quite solid. The all-black theme is a bit dull but the quality levels are at par with Kia’s Sonet. The steering feels nice to hold, but there are a few hard plastics lower down in the cabin. We also took note of the white stitching on the steering wheel and seats. The Venue features a floating 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is smooth in terms of operation.
Turbos are the future
When it comes to performance, the Venue’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, direct-injection turbo petrol produces 118bhp and 172Nm of torque that’s sent to the front wheels through either a 7-speed twin-clutch transmission or a 6-speed manual ‘box. The motor sounds rattle-free at idle, thanks to the all-aluminium engine’s balancer shafts, although you do hear a thrum from the engine as the revs climb. The engine suffers from initial turbo lag and power delivery isn’t what we’d call punchy. Also, power delivery isn’t particularly effortless, but you do feel the surge at about 5000rpm. The 6-speed manual ‘box is light and the throws are short; it lets you rev the engine without giving it a second thought and you can hit a top speed of 150kph. Shorter gearing would’ve resulted in some more enthusiasm from the engine.
Stiff and stable
The folks at Hyundai have tuned the suspension to offer a stiff ride, and you begin to feel it particularly at low speeds with the sharp ruts filtering through. The tyres do a good job when it comes to taking the blow from the uneven bits and with its 195mm ground clearance, it doesn’t hit speed-breakers, and once you begin picking up pace, the Venue gets more comfortable. The suspension works quietly as the Venue maintains good composure. The damping could improve at high speeds as it tends to bob around a little; the ride is comfortable enough to keep buyers in this segment happy. The taut body control of the car needs appreciation and it changes directions well despite the steering not being the most engaging you’ve experienced. It’s not one of those cars that wants to be pushed around a corner but it strikes a good balance between ride and handling, while the most important thing above all, is just how easy it is to drive. There are no upcoming cars in India from Hyundai in this segment.