Hyundai Venue is a car that is well ahead of its time. Launched simultaneously in the US and India, it is Korean car maker Hyundai's global mini SUV targeted at the young - and the young at heart. The vehicle also introduces the immense possibilities of new technology and connectivity features. Here is the test-drive report:
Turn on AC from outside: Parked your car under blazing sun? No need to worry about the searing heat inside the vehicle. You can switch on the car and even the air-conditioner a few minutes before you plan to get into the car. This can be done via the Blue Link technology. But the possibilities of the tech do not end here; apart from driving you can do almost everything from outside. The tech is operated via a mobile app.
Blue Link telematics: Blue Link is next generation connectivity technology. An eight-inch screen serves as the interface between the driver and Blue Link. This is not your normal touchscreen. Like regular touchscreens it offers features like Android Auto, Apple Car Play, navigation, video playing screen and voice recognition. Besides these, it also features remote engine start-stop, AC switch, door locking, Push Map in-car navigation system, roadside assistance and other emergency assistance services. The Venue comes with a factory-fit Vodafone Idea SIM card that can be used only for the Blue Link features.
It doesn't end here: The Venue is loaded with features. It doesn't end with the Blue Link. The Venue comes packed with all the features that are sought-after by the youth. The list includes electric sunroof, wireless mobile charger, cruise control and an air purifier to tackle the worsening air quality in Indian cities, among others.
Luxury: All sport utility vehicles are offshoots of the Jeep. They are meant to tackle any terrain, roads or no roads, and are used for general purposes. When the World War conditions that gave birth to the Jeep changed, the SUVs also saw changes in their nature. The luxury factor increased. The prices went up. And, today the SUV is a combination of the features of a car and the practicalities of a Jeep.
Further transformation: Gradually, several categories came to define SUVs. Right from crossovers that are more car-like to mini-SUVs, the space got more populated. During this transformation, the SUV lost its fundamental differentiator - the four-wheel drive. In markets such as India that do not need four-wheel drives for general use, more vehicles that have the technology of cars and looks of SUV hit the market.
SUV rush: Hyundai is already present in this highly competitive segment. After Tucson and Creta, it now has the Venue, which is positioned below compact SUV Creta and targeted at the youth. It will take on well-established models like Maruti Suzuki's Vitara Brezza and Ford EcoSport.
No match: The Venue has no rivals in the segment. While the one-litre turbo petrol engine and the segment-first seven-speed dual clutch transmission, or DCT, make it unique, the features offered through the Blue Link technology could only be seen in a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley.
One-litre wonder: The turbo petrol engine offers a totally different experience. It is difficult to find such a smooth three-cylinder engine in any other car. The gear shifts are so smooth that you won't know when they are changing. Though BMW, Benz and Volkswagen offer double clutch gearboxes, it is the first time for Hyundai to provide such a technology. Though the smallest among the variants in terms of displacement, the 1-litre turbo petrol is the most powerful at 120 bhp.
Ride comfort: Though it is a small car, it provides the comfort of a big one. The interior is finished in black. The seats are comfortable. The back seat gets AC vents, USB port and all other comforts. The boot is big at 350 litres. Though some reviews had mentioned about body roll, didn't feel it at all during the test drive. Since it has a taller stance than a premium hatchback, the driver gets a commanding view, just like a proper SUV.
Two more engines: Besides the 1-litre turbo petrol, the Venue is offered in two more engines - the 1.2 naturally aspirated Kappa petrol and 1.4 CRDI diesel. These engines produce 82 bhp and 90 bhp power, respectively. Didn't get a chance to drive them. These two engines do their duties efficiently in several other Hyundai models and are proven and reliable units. While the Kappa gets five-speed gearbox, others are six-speed. The one-litre turbo petrol is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
Safe: Apart from ABS and EBD, the Venue comes with six airbags. Since it is sold in developed markets like the US, the Venue is high on all other safety features as well.
Which model to buy?
The Venue is available in four variants - E, S, SX and SX (O) with three engine options. The 1.2-litre Kappa, however, is available only in the 'E' and 'S' variants, while the 1-litre turbo petrol is available from 'S' and diesel from 'E'.
For petrol Kappa, the price starts from Rs 6.50 lakh, for 1-litre petrol from Rs 8.24 lakh to Rs 11.14 lakh and for diesel, from Rs 7.78 lakh to Rs 10.87 lakh.
Difficult to choose: The 1-litre automatic S variant misses out on six airbags, rear wiper and some other features while the higher variant gets the Blue Link’s auto start, AC start features. If you choose the automatic with these features, you will have to settle for only two airbags. If you go for diesel, for a cheaper price tag, you will get an automatic variant without AC start. In one-litre manual's top variant too you get the same features. The auto start is available only in the automatic variants.
Test drive: MGF Hyundai 9847018666