With the competition in the compact SUV segment getting stiffer than ever, can the Venue, with its new looks and features, continue to be a customer favourite?
Every brand in the business of selling cars has a staple model – one that’s their bread and butter and provides a significant chunk of their sales. Until recently, if one were to ask me about the staple model of Hyundai India, my answer would have been the Grand i10 Nios or the i20. And I couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Much to our surprise, we discovered at the launch of the facelifted Venue that it’s actually this compact SUV that accounts for a major chunk of Hyundai India’s sales. According to the brand, 22% of its total sales comes from the Venue, which means nearly one in every four Hyundai cars sold in India is a Venue! This figure also tells us two things. First, the Indian market is moving towards SUVs, and even buyers of relatively smaller cars prefer an SUV. Second, the Venue has been well accepted by customers across the country.
Now, as the first-gen Venue is nearing the second half of its lifecycle, Hyundai has made visual and material changes to ensure its continuing appeal and sales success. But have the changes worked? Well, we drove the new Venue to find out exactly that.
Big brother inspiration
The two biggest visual modifications to the facelifted Venue are at the front and the rear of the car. Up front, the Venue gets a new black chrome grille, which looks aggressive and instantly catches your eye. The design of the grille is clearly inspired by that of the Alcazar and Tucson and gives the front of the SUV quite an impactful look. At the same time, the rear gets a full-width LED taillamp, which is shaped like the letter H and is visually unique.
At the front, while the headlights continue to have a three-layer layout, they are LED on certain variants, which is a massive improvement over the earlier halogen headlamps. It also gets a revised wheel design, as well as new front and rear bumpers. While I was quite fond of the earlier Venue’s design, I must say that the changes to the new one do make it look refreshingly good.
The interior also gets new upgrades – a two-tone dash, a new seat design, a digital instrument cluster, and a new steering wheel which is similar to that of the Creta and Alcazar. Also, there is a new rotary knob on the centre console, which now offers three different driving modes – Normal, Eco, and Sport. Also new are USB-C charging ports and an air purifier, the latter is integrated into the front armrest. Space-wise, the interior remains the same as earlier, as no changes have been made to the platform.
I have spent a lot of time driving the earlier variant of the Venue and have always regarded it as one of the best driver’s cars in its segment, given its well set up suspension and steering combo. Thankfully, Hyundai hasn’t made any radical changes to the suspension setup, which means that the Venue in its new avatar continues to be one of the best driving SUVs in its class. The powerful 1.0-litre turbo petrol, coupled with a steering that offers a decent amount of feel, makes it a delight to throw the car around. With its 118bhp and 172Nm, the Venue rushes forward with urgency, making it great fun to drive. However, now, the 1.0-litre engine is only available with either a 7-speed DCT or a 6-speed iMT clutch pedal-less manual.
The Venue can also be had with an updated 1.5-litre diesel unit, which produces 99bhp and 240Nm of torque. The engine is extremely refined and offers a great combination of performance and fuel efficiency; however, it is offered only with a 6-speed manual gearbox. So, if you were looking for an automatic diesel option, well, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Dynamically, the Venue is still one of the best products in its segment, but it’s not without a shortcoming, which is the DCT automatic gearbox. It leaves much to be desired in terms of shift quality, especially in heavy traffic or at low throttle inputs – the gearbox seems reluctant and shifts are quite snatchy.
Overall, there is no denying that the Venue is an excellent value-for-money proposition. Considering the price hikes in the segment – think the Brezza – the Venue, which also saw a hike, still seems to be quite well priced, particularly its upper variants, which are packed with equipment and have a premium feel to them.
So, while it may not be perfect, given the lacklustre DCT gearbox and the lack of a diesel automatic, the Venue continues to be an SUV that rewards the driver. Plus, it’s quite well priced and offers a pretty good deal to customers in today’s market. The only fly-in-the-ointment is its long waiting period – Hyundai already had a massive backlog of orders for the Venue at the launch, and given its pricing, the waiting period is bound to increase more.
- Hyundai Venue 1.0 Turbo
Engine: 998cc / 3-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed DCT / 6-Speed IMT / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 118bhp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 172Nm @ 1,500 - 4,000rpm (MT)
Price: ₹9.99 - ₹12.72 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: The refreshed Venue not only offers a great driving experience but also pretty good value for money.
• Good quality
• DCT could be better