Hyundai Venue - First Drive Review

04/06/2019 - 10:15 | ,  ,  ,   | Yatharth Chauhan

Prologue

First launched in June 2015, the Hyundai Creta has been the undisputed sales-leader in its segment. The fact that the premium B-SUV averaged a monthly sales figure of over 10,000 units in 2018 speaks volumes of the high popularity it enjoys. Hyundai, however, was, until recently, conspicuous by its absence in the sub-4-metre segment, wherein the Maruti Vitara Brezza rules the roost (avg monthly sales of more than 12,950 units). The Hyundai Venue, which has been dubbed as the country's 'first connected car', finally plugs the void in the carmaker's SUV range and takes on the likes of Maruti Vitara Brezza and Mahindra XUV300 head on. Our Hyundai Venue review sums up our experience with the SX Plus Turbo DCT configuration of the new SUV.

Baby Creta, anyone?

There's no mistaking the Hyundai Venue for anything but a Hyundai. The overall design has a certain resemblance with several global models from the carmaker. The front-end is aggressive with a new interpretation of the company's signature Cascading grille and Composite LED lighting fixtures, which comprise a sleek indicator and rectangular headlamps with LED DRLs. The side profile is highly reminiscent of the Creta and features a similar greenhouse and pillars. That said, the wheel arches are more pronounced, while the diamond cut 16-inch alloy wheels look more premium.

2019 Hyundai Venue Front Three Quarters White 4

The rear-end bears a faint resemblance with the posterior of the Grand i10, while its highlights include square-ish LED tail lamps and a discreet roof spoiler. The bold character line appears to flow through the tail lamps, thereby giving it a dynamic look. Moreover, both the bumpers feature a dual-tone look that is courtesy of prominent plastic inserts and a faux skid plate each. Overall, the Venue impresses with the way it looks. While some may argue that the small dimensions betray the Venue's SUV aspirations, it enjoys a significant road presence owing to the bold design cues and the mini-me Creta appearance.

Premium and Compact

The Hyundai Venue measures 3,995 mm in length, 1,770 mm in width and 1,590 mm in height, respectively. Its wheelbase, at 2,500 mm, is 10 mm shorter than that of the Elite i20. Indeed, the Venue doesn't offer much real estate. In fact, the rear passenger seat can comfortably accommodate two adults, but anything beyond would be quite a squeeze. To make matters worse, the high-set window line makes the area feel even more cramped than it is. However, a cramped rear seat apart, there's little to complain of.

2019 Hyundai Venue Interior Dashboard 2

The overall fit and finish and the material quality are top-notch, thereby making it one of the most well-put cabins in the business. The front seats are sufficiently supportive, while the compact three-spoke steering wheel feels sporty to hold. All the doors can hold a 1-litre bottle each, while you even get cupholders up front. Even the cooled glove compartment can help you stow knick-knacks. The 350-litre boot can carry enough luggage for a short trip, while the 60:40 split-folding seats enhance the flexibility on offer.

The dashboard has a neat layout and features well-placed controls. The highlight, of course, is the floating-effect touchscreen infotainment unit that offers several options. The round aircon dials and display could remind you of the Maruti Swift, while there are three colour themes, depending on the exterior colour of the vehicle. These include Black single-tone, Khaki dual-tone and Denim dual-tone.

Connected and Feature-packed

Of course, the highlight of the equipment list is the Blue Link suite, which offers as many as 33 connected apps, including 10 applications that have been developed specifically for India. So, basically, there's really a lot that can be done simply through a few easy commands on your smartphone. For instance, one can switch on his car's aircon right from his smartphone and ensure that the cabin is sufficiently cool when he finally starts driving. The app-user can even remotely kill his car's ignition and track the vehicle's location in case it gets stolen.

2019 Hyundai Venue Touchscreen Infotainment

Other than the connected car technology, there's a lot more that the Hyundai Venue offers. The highlights include an air-purifier that fits snugly into one of the cup holders, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Arkamys sound driver, electric sunroof, wireless charging, 6 airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchorage, Hill Start Assist and Vehicle Stability Management. Strangely, however, the interior rearview mirror isn't an auto-dimming unit.

Powerful and Efficient

The Hyundai Venue is available with three engine options- 1.2-litre Kappa petrol, 1.0-litre T-GDI petrol and 1.4-litre CRDi diesel. While the 1.2-litre petrol and the oil-burner are available exclusively with a 5-speed manual and 6-speed manual transmissions, respectively, the turbo petrol mill can be had with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This makes the Venue currently the only offering among its rivals to offer a DCT.

2019 Hyundai Venue Front Three Quarters Red 2

The turbo-petrol motor outputs 120 PS and 172 Nm, which makes the new kid on the block as powerful as the Creta. The small-displacement turbocharged engine offers a strong mid-range punch, with well-contained turbo lag that is hardly apparent once the motor ticks past 1,500 rpm. The icing on the cake, however, comes from the 7-speed DCT, which offers well-timed and smooth shifts. Being a typical dual-clutch unit, the gearshifts are faster and more seamless than the torque-converter units and definitely a significant step up from the best of the AMT units around.

2019 Hyundai Venue Gear Lever

The only small grouse here is the slight reluctance to downshift if you suddenly step on the gas and plan a quick overtaking manoeuvre. Also, the NVH levels are slightly on the higher side, because of the engine's three-cylinder construction, but we could be nitpicking here, really. Overall, the performance is quite strong and should really impress an average joe with all that grunt. The ARAI-certified fuel efficiency rating is 18.27 km/l, which should translate to decent real-world figures.

Hyundai Venue - Specifications

Engine & Transmission Maximum Power Maximum Torque Fuel Economy Rating (ARAI)
1.0L turbocharged petrol | 6-speed MT/7-speed DCT 120 PS 172 Nm 18.27 km/l (MT)/18.15 km/l (DCT)
1.2L naturally aspirated petrol | 5-speed MT 83 PS 115 Nm 17.52 km/l
1.4L turbocharged diesel | 6-speed MT 90 PS 220 Nm 23.70 km/l

Great Ride, Decent Handling

The Hyundai Venue strikes a decent balance between excellent ride quality and sporty handling. The suspension feels a bit stiffly sprung, which means the occupants are not totally immune from the irregularities that usually dot the intra-city streets. However, things never get too pronounced, and the passengers would nary complain of any sort of discomfort. The sub-4 metre SUV can easily make short work of even the more significant undulations, but the vertical body movement tends to let the travellers quickly know about the kind of surface quality. In a nutshell, it would be appropriate to say that the Venue misses out on the proverbial magic carpet ride but feels sufficiently plush in most usage conditions.

2019 Hyundai Venue Front Three Quarters Red 3

We have always maintained that the current crop of vehicles from the South Korean auto major offers a definite improvement in terms of handling characteristics over its predecessors. The Hyundai Venue is no different in this aspect. The steering is quite light at city speeds, which comes in handy when making your way through the congested streets. Out on the highways, however, the steering gains some artificially-induced heft, which helps you gain confidence while hurling the baby-Creta around the corners. There's a slight vagueness, especially around the dead centre position of the wheel but it isn't anything that one won't expect from an electronic power steering unit on a well-priced mainstream vehicle. What's really unnerving, however, is the body roll around high-speed corners. For most users, the Hyundai Venue would deliver just the right mix of ride comfort and sporty handling. The driving enthusiasts, however, would need to look at the Ford EcoSport.

Epilogue

The Hyundai Venue seems to have just the right ingredients to become the next big thing in the world of sub-4-metre small SUVs. Right, a slightly cramped rear makes it a strict four-seater, while the pronounced body roll would keep the enthusiasts away, but there's really not much else that should prevent you from signing the dotted line. The Hyundai Venue has decent road presence, a high-quality cabin that is brimming with several new-age features, it is dynamically well-sorted, and offers multiple engine options to suit your exact needs. Moreover, the extensive sales network and the 3-year/unlimited kilometre warranty are some bonuses.  On sale in a price range of INR 6.5 lakh-11.10 lakh, the Hyundai Venue offers an excellent bang for the buck.

Hyundai Venue - Prices*

Configuration E S SX SX (O) SX+
1.2L petrol-MT INR 6,50,000 INR 7,20,000
1.0L petrol-MT INR 8,21,000 INR 9,54,000 INR 10,60,000
1.0L petrol-DCT INR 9,35,000 INR 11,10,500
1.4L diesel-MT INR 7,75,000 INR 8,45,000 INR 9,78,000 INR 10,84,000

*Ex-showroom India, introductory

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