A lot of questions about the Hyundai Venue need perspective to be answered. We’ve collected all the SUVs that the Venue is up against to answer some of the pressing questions about the Hyundai
Social media is great, it allows us to interact with you guys so much better. I remember writing long-drawn out e-mails to magazines as a kid, hoping they’d get published in print. They never did! You guys can just fire away at us online and we can get back to you nearly immediately. While at the first drive of the Hyundai Venue in Shillong, we asked you what you'd like to know about the car on Instagram, and we noticed that a lot of questions had to do with how the Venue compared to the competition. We didn’t have the competition there, so we got back to base, made a few calls and hooked up this test. A lot of the questions that were asked have their answers in the previous few pages, in the Ed’s story. I’m going to attempt to answer the ones that needed a bit of perspective from its rivals.
Not the best in the segment. The Venue has adequate space: my 5 foot 10 inch frame had about two inches of legroom to spare with the Ed in the driver’s seat but it is not a very wide car so seating three full-sized adults abreast can be a bit of a squeeze. All these cars are a smidgen under four metres and have similar wheelbases around the 2500mm mark (the EcoSport is the most with 2519mm) and yet, the Venue is a fair bit more cramped than the most spacious SUV in the segment – the Tata Nexon.
I found I had almost double the free space between my knees and the seat ahead in the Nexon, with the Ed again in the driver’s seat. It’s wider too and three abreast, though not entirely comfortable, is better than what the Venue offers. But the Nexon loses out on the ergonomic front – offering strangely-shaped cubby holes and bottle holders, stowage compartment lids that open in the wrong direction, a driving position that is never very comfortable and a hard-to-access USB port. The Nexon certainly offers more space, but the Venue is more comfortable ergonomically.
While the Ed drove the petrol with the DCT in Shillong, the cars we had on hand at this comparison test were diesels. When it comes to outright power, the Venue diesel isn’t the most powerful. The 1.4-litre engine makes 88.9bhp compared to the EcoSport’s 98bhp. At 220Nm, the Venue does make a good 15Nm more though. Sportiness is a function of many things – steering feel, body control, grip and sheer speed. Compared to the EcoSport, the Venue has a lighter steering but it feels more direct. Body control is great too – it may roll a bit but there’s a certain predictability to it. It is very much like the XUV300, the SUV that won our shootout when we were looking for the most fun-to-drive compact SUV. The EcoSport is a tight car – the Ford DNA definitely courses through its veins but the suspension doesn’t have the sophistication of the Venue’s. The EcoSport also has the narrowest track here, and you can feel that play out it when you corner hard and it also feels a bit top-heavy getting jolted about much more over bumps. Over a fast piece of road, the Venue has better poise and, crucially, delivers more confidence to attack corners harder than you would in the Ecosport.
The car that really took me by surprise with its ride quality was the Mahindra XUV300. Forget the fact that it has the most power amongst all the cars here, it also has great suspension compliance. It’s a fairly soft setup, allowing it to deal with undulations in a composed manner, but not so soft as to be all over the place once you up the pace. The damping is great as well, the quick rebound ensuring it doesn’t take too long to settle down after hitting a bump. It feels very mature, almost like an SUV from a segment above. The Nexon may have a robustness to its ride quality, but it cannot match the XUV’s finesse.
I knew the Venue would have a tough time besting the XUV on this front. When I first picked up the Venue, I found the ride to be back-breakingly stiff. But then I realised the car we had was running over-inflated tyres. After setting the pressures right, the Venue transformed entirely. The Venue doesn’t feel too much like an SUV. Unlike the Nexon that gives you a sense of robustness, the Venue feels more car-like. The ride on the Venue is not unlike the XUV’s. It too has the ability to flatten bad roads with a degree of finesse that some of the older cars here do not possess. The Venue doesn’t pitch too much either and certainly matches the maturity of the XUV’s setup. And that is high praise.
We all know who the best-seller is. The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza ticks all the right boxes for someone looking for a good value-for-money package, and comes with the backing of the Maruti Suzuki network and service. The Brezza has been around since 2016 and remains on the top-10 selling cars in India every month.
But, if there is one SUV that can pip it from there, it is the Venue. Hyundai’s more expensive Creta remains one of the few cars that sells over 10-11k units every month and regularly features amongst the top 10 cars in the sales chart every month. The Venue should be able to better it. Firstly, it is more affordable and is in a segment with more demand. Secondly, it offers more as a package than its competitors, and even the SUVs a segment above. No longer is Hyundai looked at as an outsider in the Indian context, people recognize the brand, recognize the network and are willing to spend their money on it. The Hyundai Venue certainly has the potential to be a best-seller.