Hyundai Venue vs Tata Nexon vs Maruti Suzuki Brezza – Comparison

By Karan Singh | on August 15, 2022

With compact SUVs dominating the sales numbers every month, we test three bestsellers in the segment to find out which is best.

Of all the new cars sold in India last month, 37% were SUVs. That’s a massive piece of the car sales cake. For reference, hatchbacks accounted for 35% and MUVs took 16% of the pie. Sedans? A lowly 12%! What I’m trying to get at is that if you’re looking to buy a new vehicle today, chances are you’re looking at an SUV. And, statistically speaking, it’s probably the sub-four metre SUV segment you have your eyes on.

Dominating this pool for a few months now is the Tata Nexon, selling about 14 thousand units every month. Following closely behind is the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, which averages between 10 and 11 thousand units a month, and then we have the Hyundai Venue, which is also close to the 10 thousand mark. But while the Nexon has been fairly static for a couple of years now, the Brezza has just got a massive update and Hyundai has hit the refresh button on the Venue. Is there a new chart-topper on the horizon?

Hyundai Venue Tata Nexon XM and Maruti Suzuki Brezza Fascia Close up1

King of the Hill

Let me just confess that I love Tatas. I also have a soft spot for the Nexon, it was the first car I properly thrashed around a racetrack. The Nexon isn’t a sales topper just because of that desh ka loha nonsense, there’s good reason for its success. The chiselled face and flared arches are familiar, but they give the Nexon some muscle. And then there’s the fact that it has received a five-star crash safety rating – desh ka loha? – making it the safest offering in its class. And it doesn’t skimp on the bells and whistles either. The Nexon, along with the Kia Sonet, is the only offering in the segment to get ventilated seats. It also features the crowd-favourite sunroof (on higher-spec variants), an auto-dimming IRVM, and connected car tech, among other things. Another ace up the Nexon’s sleeve is that it’s available with both petrol and diesel engines, and offers a choice between manual and AMT gearboxes. And then, of course, there’s the tree-hugging Nexon EV, but let’s stick to what we’re driving today – the 1.2-litre turbo-petrol with the 6-speed manual gearbox.

The Nexon has always impressed in terms of its driving dynamics – it has body roll, but it is well contained, high-speed stability is up there with the best in its segment and it handles rough roads with aplomb. To be honest, the ride quality could be the Nexon’s USP. The robust underpinnings are matched with 118bhp and 170Nm, from the 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine. It’s not the most refined motor in its class, making a rather gruff noise above the 3,500rpm mark, and its lazy character makes it clear that it doesn’t enjoy being revved out anyway. Keep it below the 3,000rpm mark and noise and vibrations levels are acceptable, plus there’s still enough torque for quick overtakes without the need to shift down. If you do need to change gears, you’ll find the six-speed gearbox is fairly slick, and the final cog is perfect for cruising on the highway at triple-digit speeds, without the engine constantly singing in your ear. The clutch is a bit spongy though. 

Hyundai Venue and Tata Nexon XM1

'The Nexon has always impressed in terms of its driving dynamics – it has body roll, but it is well contained, and high-speed stability is up there with the best'

And the Nexon also falls short as soon as you turn your attention to the rest of the cabin. It looks dated, especially the cluttered digital instrument cluster and the 7-inch infotainment screen – which urgently needs to be replaced by a larger, higher-res unit with better UI. Fit and finish levels inside are okay in isolation, but the Hyundai Venue feels like a significantly newer, more expensive car the moment you hop inside.

K-Pop

That feeling is a surprising one though because, despite the sales pitch from your Hyundai dealer about this Venue being all-new, it is quite a minor facelift. Changes include a slightly redesigned grille, a marginally different lighting setup at the front and a full-width light bar at the rear – that’s all there is in terms of cosmetic changes. Inside, you get an updated 8-inch infotainment system, with much faster touch responses and a cleaner UI. You also get an electronically adjustable driver seat (a segment first), a two-spoke steering wheel – similar to that of the Creta – different upholstery for the seats, drive modes, and a new digital instrument cluster.

While the digital instrument cluster doesn’t add much in terms of functionality, it is well laid out and fuss-free. The drive modes are also a welcome addition – while Eco dulls responses and pushes the gearbox to find the most efficient cog, Sport sharpens things up and makes the 7-speed DCT shift down aggressively.

Hyundai Venue Gear Selector

The powertrains remain unchanged though – our test car had the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, which makes 118bhp and 173Nm and helps the Venue gather pace with urgency. We didn’t drag race the three, but thanks to the seven-speed DCT, I bet the Venue would’ve been first across the line. The DCT, though jerky in some situations, shuffles through the ratios intelligently depending on your driving style and you also get paddle shifters now for manual control.

The Venue inspires lots of confidence around corners – it doesn’t understeer excessively and has enough lateral stability to hold its line even at speed – even though the steering is a bit vague. Ditch the smooth tarmac and you’ll find the Venue is quite softly sprung, but that hasn’t directly translated to a more comfortable ride. It isn’t bothered by small potholes and bumps, so it is plush around town, but hit a crater at speed and you’ll feel a painful thud.

Hyundai Venue Rear Quarter Motion1

The Venue feels the most car-like among the three when it comes to rough-road abilities, but the low-speed comfort is a plus point in the city and it has great all-around visibility. The Venue continues to be a great package – it has a more premium cabin than the Nexon and the Brezza, segment-first features, and a peppy turbo-petrol engine which makes it a fun little car to drive.

Surprise Surprise!

But if you’re really after maximum driving pleasure, the Brezza is what you should be looking at. With 102bhp and 136Nm from its 1.5-litre NA four-cylinder engine, it loses out in Top Trumps versus the turbocharged Venue and Nexon, but claws back with a more engaging experience. The engine urges you to pull it to the 6,000rpm redline like an excited puppy yanking on the leash, and it makes a sweet noise too. Shift up, keep the engine around the 2,000rpm mark and it is whisper silent with pretty much no vibrations filtering into the cabin. When you come to a halt with the start/stop system active, you need to look at the rev counter to see whether the engine is running or not – that’s how refined it is!

Maruti Suzuki Brezza Gear Lever1

The five-speed manual is also one of the best in the business – smooth and slick, with short throws. If you love driving, you can easily look past the drawbacks of a manual and focus on just how rewarding it is to row through the gates. That said, a sixth gear for highway cruising would have been welcome.

On the other hand, the steering is direct and the Brezza isn’t startled when you take corners at speed. It does have body roll and tends to understeer earlier than the Nexon and Venue, but high-speed stability is on par with the other two and ride quality is easily the best of the three. Even on a consistently bad patch of road, the Brezza refuses to complain.

Hyundai Venue Tata Nexon XM and Maruti Suzuki Brezza Round about1

'The Brezza’s engine urges you to pull it to the 6,000rpm red line like an excited puppy yanking on the leash. Shift up, keep the revs below 2,000rpm and it is whisper silent'

With this update, the Brezza also gets all the equipment its predecessor lacked. At the centre is a 9-inch infotainment system, which responds quickly to your touch inputs – though the UI isn’t the most modern looking. It also gets a head-up display, a sunroof, wireless charging, USB-C ports at the back, and a 360-degree camera. I have to point out that the 360-degree system isn’t very useful – owing to the warped, low-res final image – but I’d rather have it than not at all. The cabin is also well laid out and while it doesn’t feel as premium as the Venue’s, it looks well put together and built to last.

Verdict 

So, which one should you buy? Well, if I had to pick a winner for this test, it’d have to be the Brezza. It is the most refined of the lot, the most fun to drive, has great ride quality and ticks all the right boxes in terms of equipment. But if you’re looking for a petrol-automatic SUV, look elsewhere. The Brezza’s top-spec AT variant is pricey, the 6-speed torque converter is sluggish and bogs the engine.

The Venue offers a more advanced DCT gearbox, the option of a diesel engine – something that the Brezza lacks – and has a more premium cabin. But it isn’t as fuel efficient as the Brezza and isn’t cut out for the task if you’re going to go off the beaten path regularly. The Nexon can handle potholes, imperfections, and bumps all day long without breaking a sweat. And it is also the safest here as far as the crash test results are concerned. But the turbo-petrol engine isn’t refined, opting for the AMT will slow you down and, on the whole, it is starting to feel its age. The Nexon is in need of a thorough update and until that update comes, I suspect it’s the Brezza that will blaze the charts.

Hyundai Venue Tata Nexon XM and Maruti Suzuki Brezza Front Quarter Static1

'The Brezza is the most refined, has great ride quality & ticks the right boxes. But if you’re looking for a petrol-auto SUV, look elsewhere'


  • Practicality

In terms of rear seat space, especially knee room, it’s a tight contest between the Venue and the Brezza. The scooped-out front seat backs and two-step reclining rear bench of the Hyundai, however, do give it an edge. The Brezza has better headroom though. The Nexon, on the other hand, loses out in both departments. All three offer rear AC vents and armrests, but while the Brezza and Venue have two USB ports, the Nexon gets a single 12-volt socket at the rear. At 350 litres, the Venue and Nexon have more boot space than the Brezza’s 328 litres.

  • Safety

The Nexon’s five-star adult occupant crash test rating is widely applauded, but the previous-gen Brezza also scored a respectable four stars on the same test. Given that this new Brezza (based on the same Global-C platform) gets more safety tech, it could better the previous rating. The Venue hasn’t been crash-tested, so we can’t talk about its structural integrity, but it is on par with the other two in terms of safety kit. The Venue and Brezza offer six airbags, while the Nexon gets just two. All three offer EBD, ESC, hill-start assist, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, and more.

  • Fuel Efficiency

The Brezza easily takes the cake here, with a claimed 19.89km/l of the mild-hybrid variants – even in real-world conditions, you can easily get 15 – 16km/l. Tata claims 17.57km/l for the petrol-manual Nexon, but the real-world figures are closer to 13km/l, thanks to it being turbocharged. The Venue is the thirstiest of the three, with a real-world figure of 11 – 12km/l; the claimed figure, however, is close to 18.1km/l.

Hyundai Venue Tata Nexon XM and Maruti Suzuki Brezza Front Dynamic1

  • Tata Nexon XM (S)
  • Hyundai Venue 1.0 Turbo SX (O)
  • Maruti Suzuki Brezza ZXI+

Engine: 1,199cc / Three-Cylinder / Turbocharged

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 6-Speed MT / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 118bhp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 170Nm @ 1,750 – 4,000rpm

Price: ₹9.19 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: If crash test ratings are a very high priority, along with great ride quality, the Nexon is a solid choice.

Pros           
• Safety
• Robust ride

Cons
• Dated cabin
• Refinement

Engine: 998cc / Three-Cylinder / Turbocharged

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 7-Speed DCT / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 118bhp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 172Nm @ 1,500 – 4,000rpm

Price: ₹12.72 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: The Venue is one of the most complete offerings with lots of powertrain options, decent space, and the right equipment.

Pros           
• Feels premium
• Practical

Cons
• Fuel efficiency
• Ride quality

Engine: 1,462cc / Four-Cylinder / Naturally-Aspirated

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 5-Speed MT / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 102bhp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 136Nm @ 4,400rpm

Price: ₹12.46 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: The updated Brezza has all the features its predecessor lacked and continues to be brilliant to drive.

Pros           
• Refinement
• Feature-packed

Cons
• Hard plastics
• No diesel

Read more:

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza vs Tata Nexon SUV: Spec Comparison

Venue IMT vs Brezza AT vs Nexon AMT vs XUV300 MT: Comparison

Tags: Hyundai Hyundai Venue Tata Nexon Tata Motors Maruti Suzuki Brezza Maruti Suzuki

Write your Comment

Please tell us your city. This allows us to provide relevant content for you.