Hyundai isn’t known to do things half-heartedly. An example of this was the unveiling event of the upcoming Venue. While the global press got to see the car at the new your auto show, the Indian press got a first of its kind unveil on board a cruiser in the Arabian ocean. Razzmatazz launch aside, the Venue will also be the first and most connected car on sale in India, when it is officially launched across dealers towards the end of May.
Hyundai designs have now become synonymous with sharp imagining, curves, creases and head turning looks and the Venue is no different.
From a distance the silhouette looks very familiar to the much bigger Creta SUV and this should bode well for it in the Indian market.
What should also bode well is the dramatic front end. The heavily sculpted front lamps with their unique positioning(the indicators are above the main units in a separate enclosure) is sure to turn heads and also draw comparisons with the Tata Harrier SUV which uses a similar design philosophy. Hyundai has gone ‘XL’ with the grille size and this makes the face look more dramatic. Special mention has to be made about the 16-inch alloy wheels that this car will get. The unique ‘diamond cut’ design is probably the best we’ve seen on any compact SUV till date. Even though this is a sub-4 metre length car, the side profile looks very well proportioned with the right amount of muscle and great balance between the front and rear of the car. The rear gets a tidy look as well with rectangular shaped lamps, which have a unique triple stripe design element within them. Overall, the Venue looks cool, fresh and very different from another SUV on the road.
Get ready to be blown away by the sheer levels of quality inside the cabin. Most of the switchgear has a solid, tactile feel about it and the perceived quality levels are very good for a compact SUV. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is the big talking point inside. It gets ‘bluelink’ technology which means that you can use a host of apps via your phone to add convinience to your motoring experience. For instance you can switch on the car via the app, set the AC on with the temperature of your choosing. Check the available fuel on-board and distance to empty as well to plan your next trip. It’s a hugely connected SUV and takes the game forward with this unique feature. Rivals will be left floundering. The back seat gets decent space as well, considering that this is a compact SUV and will be aimed at the lower end of the SUV market, space and practicality is not an issue. The boot also seemed like a decent shape and size, though Hyundai hasn’t given any official figures for luggage space just as yet. And yes for those who enjoy it, there’s a sunroof as well.
Engine, performance and gearbox
Hyundai wasn’t allowing any test drives which are obviously reserved for the official launch event in May but the company did confirm the engines.
The company will be taking a leaf out of arch-rival Marutis book and will share the i20’s engine line-up. So you get the same 1.2-litre petrol and the same 1.4-litre diesel with manual transmission. Hyundai could have offered the bigger 1.6-litre diesel as an option from the Creta/Verna but then the car wouldn’t have got the tax exemptions given to cars under 4-metres in length and having engines of under 1.2-litre capacity in petrol and 1.5-litre in diesel.
What Hyundai is offering instead is an all-new 1-litre turbo petrol engine with around 120bhp and a seven speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. This engine and gearbox combination sounds like loads of fun and should appeal to a wider and younger audience, which Hyundai is targeting. While details are sketchy, we expect this version to be the most expensive in the lineup.
While we haven’t driven the car, our experiences with the 1.2-Petrol and 1.4-diesel reaffirm our belief that performance will be more than adequate and refinement and economy should be at par will rivals too.
While it’s hard to give a verdict without having driven the Venue, our experience with Hyundai products shows that the company leaves no stone unturned to deliver a posh experience to the buyer. The Venue has what it takes to be the best compact SUV on sale with its unique mix of connected technologies, thoughtful features and high class interiors. Compact SUV buyers have never had it so good in India.