The Hyundai Venue N Line promises to add a healthy dose of sportiness to the compact SUV. But is it really the case?
Hyundai is having a good run with the launch of its N Line brand in India. It all started with the launch of the i20 N Line last year, and now, the line-up has expanded to include one of the brand’s bestsellers, the Venue. The Venue N Line has been launched at a starting price of ₹12.16 lakh, which goes up to ₹13.30 lakh for the top-spec variant. All figures are ex-showroom. It’s available in two trims – N6 and N8 – and both trims offer two variants. The difference between the two? Well, one of them comes with the dual-tone paint scheme option. As for the difference between the two trims, the N6 misses out on quite a few features. But to compensate for this, it is also about a lakh cheaper than the N8. For nerds, here’s an exact list of what all is missing in the N6 trim, as compared to the N8:
- Burglar Alarm
- Telematic Switches
- Rear-seat Centre Armrest
- Dual-camera Recorder
- Side & Curtain Airbags
- Electrochromic IRVM
- Reclining + 60:40 Split Rear Bench
- HD Infotainment System
- BlueLink connectivity
- ‘Ambient Sounds of Nature’ Feature
- Powered Driver’s Seat
With this basic information out of the way, here’s my main concern regarding the Venue N Line. Like the i20, the Venue N Line gets the same mechanical changes: retuned suspension made stiffer for sharper handling, a retuned steering made more responsive and direct, and a sportier exhaust setup with a distinct burble. In addition, the Venue N Line also benefits from disc brakes on all four wheels. However, there is one significant difference between the two N Line models – unlike the i20, which offers both iMT and DCT gearbox options, the Venue N Line is on sale exclusively with the seven-speed DCT. This is quite surprising, especially because the standard 1.0-litre turbo Venue offers both gearbox options, and the N Line version uses the same powertrain. So, if an N Line model is meant for enthusiasts, how would they really feel about the decision to remove the option of a manual gearbox?
And it was not the only question that came to my mind. You see, with the standard Venue already setting benchmarks in its segment with respect to quality and driving dynamics, the Venue N Line has pretty big shoes to fill if it wants to stand out as the new range-topping version. So, are these basic mechanical tweaks enough to alter the Venue’s character? And has the N Line treatment actually given birth to a sportier derivative? With these questions in mind, I finally got behind the wheel to find the answers. But before I come to that bit, here’s a little bit about its styling, both inside and out.
Quite a Looker!
The Venue N Line is available in three colours – Polar White, Shadow Grey, and Thunder Blue. The last one is available exclusively in the dual-tone paint scheme with a blacked-out roof, while the other two can be purchased in monotone colours as well. Apart from some very obvious changes, like the ‘N Line’ badges at the front, side, and rear, the Venue N Line also offers a bespoke front grille – featuring wing-shaped inserts – and new N Line-spec 16-inch alloy wheels. The redesigned bumpers have been given faux silver inserts, and there are plenty of bright red-coloured accents peppered all around the exterior. In essence, there was plenty of scope for Hyundai designers to go overboard with the Venue N Line’s styling and basically ruin the car’s look, but thankfully, the car looks very attractive and enticing with these updates, especially in the Thunder Blue colour you see in these images.
Inside, the Venue facelift’s dual-tone colour scheme has been replaced by an all-black interior. And once again, a plethora of red accents, coupled with the red seat/steering stitching, signature ‘N’ logos, and aluminium-covered pedals, offer the cabin a perfect combination of premium and sporty feel. The next bit that catches your attention is the windshield-mounted dual-camera recorder. A nice touch, indeed.
From Behind the Wheel
The first thing I noticed while driving the Venue N Line was the apparent lack of any difference in the driving dynamics of the Venue N Line and that of its standard counterpart. The steering, as well as the suspension, felt pretty much the same. So, I decided to dial things up a notch and went into my Speed Racer mode. And once I wrung the Venue N Line’s neck to my heart’s content on a hilly stretch with twisties, the differences became more than apparent. The steering now felt much better weighted during protracted cornering manoeuvres and more intuitive in terms of feedback. There was very little body roll around high-speed corners and despite running on MRF tyres, which are generally not the best suited for grip, the Venue N Line held its own and remained glued to the tarmac with aplomb.
Any trouble in paradise, then? Well, yes. First, it's the DCT gearbox. While it shifts seamlessly and offers snap gear changes in most scenarios, it seems to be out of its depth around slow corners and on inclines. In such cases, downshifts can be particularly slow and a noticeable time lag in shifts does mar the overall experience, so much so that during my drive, it made me yearn for a manual gearbox. Second, with such a capable chassis, the Venue N Line could have easily done with more power and still have the same crisp handling. It’s a real shame that the N Line treatment does not include a power upgrade.
Worth the Moolah?
But is the Venue N Line worth the money it demands? Now, the standard Venue’s 1.0-litre turbo range is priced from ₹10 Lakh to ₹12.72 Lakh, which means a difference of about ₹60,000 in the top-spec variants of the N Line and non-N-Line line-up. Well, if you ask me, I won’t mind shelling out the extra dough for the N Line because it offers quite a lot over its standard sibling. However, do keep in mind that to enjoy the mechanical tweaks of the Venue N Line, you need to really push the car to its limits to feel and appreciate those changes. Other than that, I don’t think Hyundai should face any difficulty in filling up its order books for this one.
- Hyundai Venue N Line (N8 DT)
Engine: 998cc / Three-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed DCT / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 118bhp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 172Nm @ 1,500 – 4,000rpm
Price: ₹13.30 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: The N Line treatment has only made the Venue a better product in terms of not just styling but also driving appeal.