The Hyundai Venue has just got a facelift which includes, yes, a fresher face, redesigned taillights, a slightly updated cabin and that’s about it. But the Venue has made the cut not because of its facelift, which does give it some much-needed kit, but because of the 1.5-litre U2 CRDi diesel engine. This one replaces the older 1.4-litre unit, and gets a higher output — 99bhp and 240Nm versus 89bhp and 220Nm. Interestingly, this is still not the same spec engine as the Kia Sonet diesel-auto, which gets an even higher output and a variable geometry turbocharger to reduce lag. Back to the Venue though because this diesel manual is a great powertrain too. The performance is brisk and the Venue picks up pace without too much hesitation. It’s no rocketship and the turbo-petrol still has more outright performance, but the diesel’s low-end grunt makes it a very versatile engine. Then there are the thrills of having a proper manual gearbox – one that has well-judged throws and a light clutch – which definitely ups the appeal of the Venue here at the track. Yes, the petrol-automatic combinations will make more sense for the urban jungle but for driving pleasure, the manual is unmatched. Hyundai does make refined diesels and this one is no different, offering respectable levels of refinement for a small-ish capacity diesel. The Venue also handles well, even when pushed hard and if you do find yourself out on a track day with it, you can actually have some fun behind the wheel. The ride quality is absorbent enough to allow you to ride the kerbs quite aggressively, and smash through potholes in the real world.
The Venue is a good package overall. The plastics are a bit scratchy in some places and it is still lacking stuff like ventilated seats and a high-end audio system, but the infotainment screen is responsive, the cabin is well laid out and the space and practicality are on par with rivals, if not better.
- Hyundai Venue Diesel (Lap Time – 01:16.7)
|COMFORT / SPACE||5||3.5|
|RIDE & HANDLING||5||4|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||30||24|