Hyundai Venue First Drive Review: What We Think of This Compact SUV
- Published On: 29 May 2019
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First showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo as the Carlino concept, Hyundai launched its first ever compact SUV for the Indian market in the form of the Venue earlier this month.
Introduction: First showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo as the Carlino concept, Hyundai launched its first ever compact SUV for the Indian market in the form of the Venue earlier this month. Priced from Rs 6.5 lakh onwards, the Venue is offered in three engine options including a turbo-charged petrol unit that is also offered with an automatic. This is the version that we picked up for a drive and for the right reasons.
Engine: The Venue 1.0 comes with a 3-cylinder, 1000cc turbo-charged petrol motor that gets Hyundai’s GDi or Gasoline Direct Injection technology. On paper, power and torque output figures are very impressive. For example, it makes 120 bhp of power that is more than what the Nexon and XUV300 manage. The EcoSport’s 1.0 Ecoboost engine however makes 125 bhp. In terms of torque, at 172 Nm, the Venue out performs the Nexon and EcoSport but not the XUV300’s 1.2-litre motor. However, do remember, this is a relatively lighter vehicle.
Gearbox: But what really gets our attention is the gearbox. Now this segment offers a variety of automatic options. The Nexon comes with a low-cost AMT unit while the EcoSport offers a conventional torque converter. The Venue on the other hand gets a much advanced 7-speed DCT or a dual clutch transmission. In such a set-up, while one clutch holds onto the current gear, the other clutch is ready for an upshift or downshift as required. This removes time lag between gear changes, thus improving performance and even offering the same fuel economy as a manual gearbox.
But all this is on paper - in real world conditions, does this 1.0 DCT combination work? If a word, yes. But allow me to explain in detail. We had the car with us for a few hours and managed to experience it both in morning rush hour traffic as well as the open expressway leading to Greater Noida. In traffic, the gearbox works like a charm and upshifts early in the favor of fuel economy. However, alter the inputs from your right foot and the transmission responds quickly. It may not be as responsive as a Polo’s DSG unit, but better than its chief rivals. Go down hard on the right pedal and the unit downshifts a gear or two or even three as required. A 7-speed set-up also means ratios are well spread out.
Out on open roads, the little 1000cc engine fools you into believing its a larger motor. There is ample torque on avail and the Venue 1.0 can cruise at higher speeds all day long. Flick the gear lever to the right and you can gain manual control over the gearbox. This will be enjoyed by enthusiasts as shifts happen within a fraction of a second. But that said, driving enthusiastically is when the gruffness of the engine becomes apparent. It is a 3-pot mill and though typical vibrations are kept at bay, it doesn't sound as good as we would have liked.
Another area where the 1.0 DCT works well is part throttle response. Drive the Venue gently in traffic and you will be rewarded with an ease of driving nature. It really is a fuss free car to drive. Aiding this is a steering that is light enough for crawling speeds. At standstill, you can even do lock to lock turns with one hand. And happy to report that as speeds rise, the steering doesn’t get too artificial or lifeless. A day later we drove the same across around the lovely twisties of NH6 between Guwahati and Shillong and were impressed with the dynamics of the car. Body roll is limited and you can play around with this compact SUV through a set of switchbacks
Drive Experience: From a driver’s perspective, the seats offer good under-thigh and side support. Visibility is excellent up front though at the back, the window line could have been lower. Likewise, though rivals like the Nexon offer more legroom for rear passengers, we like the large 350-liter boot that offers more than acceptable space for weekend trips.
And then the aesthetic part. There is no taking away from the fact that the Venue is one classy looking SUV. The aggressive front makes you take notice and though the wide grille seems a bit too loud, chrome treatment offers a premium touch. The sharp indicators are fast becoming common in the SUV world and we are a fan of the squarish DRLs. Side profile has a lot of resemblance with the Creta and the 16-inch alloy wheels with a dual tone touch.
Design: The rear though is a huge departure from the front. It looks bold and a bit muscular if we may add but the little lights could have been larger in our opinion. That said, the design lines are clean at the back and the overall stance is definitely SUVish - this inspite of the lowest height in the segment.
The feature list too is impressive. Though the 1.0 DCT is not offered in the top spec SX(O) version, it still gets all the bells and whistles owners would want. A sunroof, true keyless go with push button start, wireless charging etc. That said, a rear wash wiper, rear armrest, side and curtain Airbags and sliding feature for the front armrest is missing in the automatic variant.
Price: At just over Rs 11 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Venue 1.0 DCT makes for a compelling buy. It is what can be truly be called as a perfect urban SUV. It ticks all the right boxes - looks bling, is feature loaded, offers good comfort and is fuss free to drive. The DCT ‘box is a gem of a unit and the engine has enough poke to satisfy performance-oriented buyers. The downside? Rear passenger space and quality of plastics at places on the inside.
Should you buy one? Why not. Be ready for a long waiting period though!