When I think of a sub-compact SUV, the first thought that crosses my mind is a vehicle that fits the budget of the common man. SUVs are not for everyone owing to their size, price and utility. But with a growing trend of SUVs becoming status symbols, manufacturers have curated smaller and more compact SUVs that obviously come with a much more affordable price tag for the masses. For long, Hyundai has been shying away from the sub-compact SUV space with no offerings that sit under the Creta. Finally after much ado, the Korean carmaker has brought an India centric sub-compact SUV – the Hyundai Venue. Despite being priced well within the reach of the common man, this compact SUV is a technological marvel in itself, with connected features that have not yet been seen in this segment in India.
The Hyundai Venue has been conceived as the third space for human beings, the first being home and the second the workplace. With this in mind, the company set out to design a product that would complement a customer's journey. To bring the Venue on par with the industry standards, Hyundai has offered a host of features that add comfort and convenience to daily users’ experience. But that would not be enough to outdo competition. Hyundai has offered 33 new connected features on the Venue to take it above and beyond what competitors have offered. We drove the Hyundai Venue from Guwahati to Shillong to bring you this first-drive review. Read further for our take on what makes this sub-compact SUV a blockbuster ride.
PLATFORM, POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
Hyundai has introduced the Venue on a brand new platform for India. With this new platform, the company has been able to curate the Venue specifically to meet the Indian road requirements. Sitting under the four meter mark, the Venue is 3,995 mm long, which is on par with competitor offerings. The height of this sub-compact SUV has been marked at 1,770 mm, while its width measures 1,605 mm. Hyundai has extensively used a combination of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) and High Strength Steel (HSS) in the construction of the Venue. This has offered the sub-compact SUV highly evident static & dynamic stiffness and enhanced structural rigidity. Since we got a route that took us through the foothills of the Himalayas, we encountered many winding roads. This is where the structural rigidity and stiffness of the chassis became quite evident. Even at high speeds, we experienced minimal body roll; there was more than adequate traction and control that this sub-compact SUV had on offer. The harder we pushed it, the more confidence it inspired. The Hyundai Venue has been mounted on a McPherson Strut with a coil spring suspension system in the front. The rear features a coupled torsion beam axle with coil springs. The suspension helps in minimising body roll and offers ample stability over rough roads. The rear suspension system minimises shock rebound, offering a comfortable and stable ride with exceptional cornering performance.
Hyundai is offering the Venue with multiple powertrains. The sub-compact SUV can be availed with a 1.2 l naturally aspirated engine, a 1.4 l forced induction diesel or a 1.0 l forced induction petrol motor. Hyundai is offering the 1.2 l petrol and 1.4 l diesel engines only with manual transmissions, a 5-speed unit for the petrol version and a 6-speed unit for the diesel version. The 1.0 l turbo petrol motor is being offered either coupled with a 6-speed manual shift transmission or a new 7-speed DCT automatic transmission. For our review we sampled the 1.0 l turbo petrol mated to the 6-speed manual shift unit. The motor generates a phenomenal 118 hp at 6,000 rpm and 171 Nm of torque from 1,500 – 4,000 rpm. Power delivery on this engine is almost instantaneous. The climb up the band does not feel too abrupt but it is quite evident when the turbo kicks in, roughly a little above the 1,500 rpm mark. From the get go, this engine is ready to surge forward. Floor the accelerator and the Venue may just catch you by surprise.
With a strong mid-range and a redline above the 6,000 rpm mark, the gears have long legs. Once on highways you can easily stretch them out to the limit without any fuss from the motor. The throws of the gear are short and the clutch is on the lighter side. So, shifting and clutching on highways, in traffic or while parking feels like a breeze. While the motor does go through the first and second gears quite quickly, there is more than enough room in the third gear and the driver can easily perform overtakes on third and fourth gears. Hyundai has published ARAI-certified mileage figures of 18.27 km/l for the 1.0 l turbo petrol motor, which is better than most segment offerings.
CONNECTED TECHNOLOGY & FEATURES
Apart from the new powertrain, Hyundai is offering a host of features and some swanky new connected tech that will definitely ease your life. A few feature highlights include an electric sunroof, wireless phone charging, an air purifier with HEPA filters, cruise control, push button start/stop, keyless entry, glove box cooling, rear AC vents, automatic headlamps, 20.32 cm touchscreen infotainment unit, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. But what really takes the cake is the new connected technology features that Hyundai has developed for the Venue.
Being the first of its kind connected car in India, the Hyundai Venue offers buyers advanced connectivity features to enhance comfort and convenience. Hyundai has developed an advanced connectivity solution – Hyundai Blue Link that uses an in-built and tamper-proof device that is powered by a Vodafone-Idea eSIM and a cloud-based voice recognition platform from Global AI company – Sound Hound. Out of the 33 new connected features 10 are India-specific features. These features cover aspects such as safety, security, geographic information, vehicle management, relationship management, artificial intelligence, alert services and location-based services. But among these the highlights for us were the remote engine start/stop function, remote air-conditioning control, remote door lock/unlock, push maps, interactive voice recognition, emergency assistance and road side assistance. With remote air-conditioning control you can set the cooling temperature of the cabin to your choice much before you arrive in your vehicle. This is especially handy for hot and cold weather conditions in India.
The Hyundai Venue has been introduced in India in four different trims, with prices starting at Rs 6.50 lakh (ex-showroom). The SX (O) variant that we drove has been priced at Rs 10.60 lakh (ex-showroom). Hyundai has outdone itself with an exceptional form on the design front. The Venue boasts of a solid build to go along with its sturdy looks. We felt that its modish design would stay in vogue for many years to come. Hyundai has enveloped the Venue in many safety features such as six airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, hill assist control, reverse parking sensors and camera. The overall package is what makes the Venue a sure shot blockbuster offering value of every penny you spend.
TEXT & PHOTO: Joshua David Luther