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New Kid on the block: Hyundai Venue

Hyundai’s latest entrant brings in more dynamism in the compact SUV segment.

Author:Ritin Paul

MALAYALAM REVIEW

Before its launch, speculators believed the Venue to go up against the XUV 300 and the EcoSport. But the pricing clearly indicates it is up against the upper half of the compact SUV’s like the Vitara Brezza and Nexon. Hyundai is late to the party, but the peppy engine and a bucket load of features might just help the Venue to have the last laugh. In the Hyundai stable it fits in right between the i20 hatchback and the Creta. With its stylish looks and compact proportions, it does look like a baby Creta. The Venue will be available in six variants with three engines to choose from. The launch comes at a time when the industry has seen a decline in sales for seven consecutive months. It means this could be one of the most crucial launches this year.

Exterior

As mentioned earlier the proportions of the car make it look like a baby Creta. It will definitely appeal to the urban youth. What looks striking is the split headlamp setup with the willowy LED-equipped strip at the top and a block-shaped daytime running lamp pattern. Adding to the SUV persona is the all around body cladding. The flat bonnet upfront gives it a very butch appearance. On the side you notice the strong shoulder line. That accompanied with roof rails and flared wheel arches make it more SUV than crossover. The stylish 16 inch alloys add a lot of funkiness to the car. The rear isn’t as imposing as the front. The tail lights for instance make it look timid. It does look unique design wise and so do the indicators. Other elements in the rear, like the reversing lights in the bumper and the scuff plate beneath gives it a very sporty character. The designing implemented on the Venue follows the same characteristics of the new SUV’s like the Hector and Harrier. In no way does it look as imposing as those two. Dimensionally, it is the most compact SUV in its segment.

Interior

On entering the cabin you instantly notice the simplistic styling of the dashboard. Majority of the elements follow a horizontal styling, like the air vents, and the touch screen interface. The fit and finish of materials is best in class. The gear knob and steering feel great to hold. Another clever bit found on the Venue is the white stitching found on the steering, gear stick and seats. There is availability of three interior color options like an all-black theme, denim dual-tone and an interesting Khaki dual-tone. The car will fulfill family needs as well; you can easily accommodate two adults or three children at the rear seat. The cabin isn’t the most spacious of the lot, but it offers decent legroom and headroom, So if you have six footers in the family, seating shouldn’t be a problem. The seats offer decent thigh support and you get air vents at the rear with a 12 V charging socket. If its long trips you are looking for, the 350 litre boot should accommodate most of your luggage. There are bottle holders and trays as well for additional storage.

Features

This is the Venue’s stronghold, being claimed as a connected car, it boasts of having a dedicated or ‘embedded’ SIM card that allows you to connect with your car. It is like one of those James Bond cars where you can operate the air conditioning, start/stop, lock/unlock with your cellular phone. You can also track your vehicle’s location, speed and tyre pressure. The top variant comes equipped with six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, ESP, hill-start assist, Isofix child seat mounts and speed-sensing door locks. Other notable features include a sunroof, wireless phone charging, cruise control, Arkamys sound, 8.0-inch touch screen infotainment system with Android and Apple connectivity. The Blue Link connectivity in the touch screen consists of 33 features, some of which are security, vehicle management, remote access, alert services, location-based services and AI-based language inputs

Drive

Diesel – The diesel motor is the 1.4 unit churning out 90hp.It is the same one found on the Verna, i20 and the Creta. The diesel engine behaves well both at idle and throttle. Like all Hyundai’s, the diesel engine is very refined with minimal vibrations. The engine responds rather well but there is turbo lag below 2000 rpm. Power delivery is linear and progressive. At higher revs though there is no slug of power as it shows most of it tricks by the 4000 mark. All this means the diesel is for those who look for a gentle driving experience. Operating the six speed manual is not too bad and gear shifts are rather smooth. By no way is this a performance car, its rivals are quicker and effortless to drive.

Petrol – Unlike the diesel,the petrol does offer good performance, especially the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, direct-injection turbo-petrol. The petrol motor is mated to a 6-speed manual or a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox. Unlike most three cylinder engines, this engine does not show any rocky motion and is rather smooth. The response is not immediate and the torque spread is not great, unlike its rivals it does not get the best of mid range turbo boost, but it allows free revs uptil the 6500 mark. The smooth gear shifts allow you to push this motor to the max.

Ride and Handling – Although the suspension being on the stiffer side, it can zoom past most rough patches. You can feel the jerks at lower speed, the 215/60 R16 tyres does its bit of soaking them. The high ground clearance can help you maneuver the car over broken roads. For most part, travelling over rough patches should be okay, except at very high speeds. Shifting lanes is easy even at very high speeds, and there is very little in the name of body roll.  Cornering is not the best and the vehicle can get out of control if pushed at extremely sharp corners. It does proclaim to be more of an urban commuter.

Should you have one

It does have its fair bit of negatives like a cramped cabin, and the fact  that it is not the best for a driving enthusiast. But one cannot ignore the fact it is quite a stunner to look at. The features especially the Blue link connectivity calls for major attention, that with a refined motor should justify its price tag of Rs 6.50 lakh for the base variant and Rs 11.10 lakh for the top variant, which obviously is the pick of the lot.

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