The Venue has to be the most awaited and talked about car of 2019. First showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo as the Carlino concept, Hyundai launched this compact SUV a few days back with prices starting at Rs 6.5 lakh onwards. There is a lot of buzz around Hyundai’s ticket into the world of compact SUVs and we got our hands on the flagship version, the 1.0 turbo petrol with the 7-speed DCT gearbox. How goes is the combination? Read on…
A lot has already been discussed about the way this Venue looks and hence I will keep this crisp and small. There is no getting away from the fact that the Venue has a striking front end thanks to slim indicators, large squarish DRLs and a huge grille that has slats dipped in chrome. During our drive, we managed to snap the Venue next to its chief rivals and this baby Creta managed to hold its own pretty well. Even owners of other compact SUVs had a smile on their face when they saw the Venue. Its that good!
The side profile reminds you of the Creta and that means family resemblance is very much there in terms of the design language. I love the 16-inch dual tone alloy wheels and at the back, the little tail lamps and a minimalist design finish up the package. That said, the Venue has the lowest height as compared to rivals and this might rob it of road presence in some cases.
Moving on, we have all seen the interiors and I do like the cabin design. But what I was looking forward to were the ergonomics. Inspite of a relatively low height, happy to say that headroom for my 6 foot frame was adequate and everything falls in the hands easily, just like a typical Hyundai. Seats are generous, the sides hug you well and quality of fit and finish is good for the price. That said, the hard upper fascia might be a turn down for few owners. Space at the back, even with the front seat adjusted to my frame is adequate though a few rivals fare better in this regard.
This is a sub-4m vehicle and impressive to see Hyundai scooping out as much as 350 litres of boot space along with a generous parcel tray in place. This does add to the practicality.
With design and interiors aside, I can now focus on the most important thing here, the drivetrain package. This is the first time Hyundai is getting in the 1.0 GDi or Gasoline Direct Injection motor to India and thanks to turbocharging, output figures are very impressive. 120 PS of power and over 170 Nm of torque to be exact. In contrast, the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor (picked up from the Grand, i20, Xcent etc) puts out just over 80PS. Get my point? This is a 3 pot mill and expectedly, it does have a gruff edge. In day to day driving, you will not notice but pedal to metal, and the engine clearly makes itself present. But on the good side, vibrations are really well under control and do not filter in via the gear lever or the pedals. Good job!
The engine is available with both a manual as well as an automatic gearbox. This segment already has rivals offering an automatic – the EcoSport comes with a torque converter while the Nexon comes with a low cost AMT. The Venue on the other hands gets the most advanced set-up. A DCT or a dual clutch transmission has a pair of clutch units, one holding on to the current gear and next ready for the shift. This in turn brings down shift times and makes the entire process very seamless without any lag or jerks. Drive the Venue with a light right foot and the gearbox keeps up-shifting early, a lot like how German offerings do.
We drove the car in both city traffic and open roads leading to Greater Noida and were mighty impressed with how the gearbox responded to our inputs. The torquey nature of the little motor also comes handy when you want to go fast and downshifts are quick. Very quick. You can even flick the gear lever to the right and take manual control over the transmission.
Hyundai claims the 1.0 will go on to hit 187 km/h or about 190+ on the speedometer and this is indeed a great figure. Standstill to 60 comes up in just over 5 seconds too. But for me, its the ease of driving nature and ample torque on avail that sets the 1.0 apart. It just makes the Venue so easy to drive in daily traffic.
Another thing that makes the Venue a joy to live with on a daily basis is the light steering. As can see in the video above how easy it is to do lock to lock turns when the car is at a standstill. The light steering doesn’t disappoint you as speeds rise too – more than enough feedback to keep an average Joe happy. Further, 16 inch wheels look cool and do not rob the car of a decently good ride quality. Happy to say its a well achieved compromise in terms of ride and handling.
The 1.0 DCT can he had in two trims of S and SX. The top spec model does get few features from the SX(O) pack (that is shown above for reference) but misses out on side / curtain Airbags, rear armrest, sliding function for front arm-rest and a rear wash wiper. But when you look at the price tag, these omissions don’t feel like deal breakers.
The Hyundai Venue then is a clever product. Looks handsome, delivers comfort and ride, is well packed with features and the 1.0 DCT works very well for city dwellers. Another winner? We think so!