The compact SUV segment is full of offerings from various manufacturers, and given the large volumes this segment generates, Hyundai decided to jump on to the bandwagon with its Venue SUV.
And with the competition being cut-throat, the Venue will have to deliver across various parameters. We put it against the hugely popular Tata Nexon to see who emerges the winner.
The Venue has an upright stance with a high bonnet. It isn’t particularly sleek to look at because of its boxy proportions, but the dark chrome grille with the headlamps positioned lower in the bumper along with the sleek DRLs, do give it an interesting front fascia.
It also gets projector fog lamps, roof rails and dual tone 16-inch alloy wheels. It gets flared wheel arches along the sides with a strong belt line visible too.
At the rear, it gets a depression on the tail gate with ‘Venue’ in bold. The LED tail lights feature lenticular lens. The Venue is indeed a very compact SUV.
Gone is the curved nose of the Nexon; it now features a more butch-looking snout that includes swept-back, Range-Rover-like headlights with twin LED DRLs, a flat grille and a big air-dam with tri-arrow patterns.
The up-sweeping character line on the sides remain, along with the muscular wheel arches, but the 16-inch machined alloy wheels are new.
At the rear, the tail lights now sport new LED inserts, giving it a detailed look when lit up at night. The Nexon is easily the more attractive of the two SUVs here.
The cabin of the Nexon appears rather well built, and the combination of dual-tone grey and white gives it an airy feel, and what’s also new is the flat-bottom steering wheel.
The top-of-the-line model comes equipped with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster that displays turn-by-turn navigation and lot of other stuff. The seats at the front are comfortable and offer good support, and the driver’s seat is height-adjustable.
There’s ample space at the rear, and thanks to the width of the cabin, three occupants can fit in without any hassles. The huge seat base provides good support too.
However, headroom isn’t much, due to the sloping roofline. We like the piano black inserts in the cabin too, and there are AC vents at the rear.
The cabin of the Hyundai Venue is well put together and comes across as a very tidy, uncluttered design, with a blend of good quality plastics and soft-touch materials.
The dashboard is quite slender, and we particularly like the tablet-like touchscreen display. The leather steering feels nice to hold, but we think it’s cluttered with too many buttons.
The fit and finish are impressive and the switchgear have a certain solidity about them. Seated in the driver’s seat, you get a good view outside, thanks to the huge glass area and the slender A-pillars.
The front seats provide lots of under-thigh and back support. The rear seat is well shaped and the base of the seat is placed at a perfect height.
Legroom and headroom are not an issue, but three abreast at the rear can be a bit of a squeeze. There are lots of stowage spaces around too.
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- The Nexon comes packed with features like
- Front fog lamps with cornering function
- Height-adjustable front seatbelts
- 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
- Voice alerts
- Voice commands
- Text readout
- Rear camera with dynamic guidelines
- Four tweeters, steering-mounted audio
- Phone and voice controls
- Fast USB charging, rear AC vents
- Adjustable rear head rest
- Shark fin antenna
- Dual airbags
- Seat-belt reminder.
The Venue too, is loaded with equipment like:
- 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels
- Front projector fog lamps
- Auto headlamps
- Projector headlamps with cornering function
- LED daytime running lamps
- Wing mirrors with turn indicators
- LED tail-lamps
- Adjustable rear-seat headrests
- Leather-wrapped gear knob
- Steering wheel
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
- Power folding wing mirrors
- Rear-camera display on audio player
- Cruise control
- Power sunroof
- Map lights
- Automatic climate control with digital display
- 8.0-inch display with Arkamys system
- Shark-fin antenna
- USB charging and voice recognition
- ESC and vehicle stability management
- Hill-assist control, keyless entry
- Rear defogger
- Body-coloured wing mirrors
- Dark chrome front grille
- Roof rails
- Chrome grille
- Front armrest with storage
- Luggage lamp
- Rear parcel tray and rear AC vents.
Performance & Handling
We’re driving the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol model that makes 120bhp and 172Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed manual transmission.
The Venue is a strong performer, but the engine needs revs in order to get more punch from it. The motor never feels strained and it pulls well from 1800rpm.
There is a spike in power delivery after 2000rpm. You can redline the engine, and it still doesn’t sound gruff. The shifts are precise and it aids the torque delivery.
Even in the cities, it is easy to drive, thanks to the light clutch. The Venue handles more like a small hatchback; it is light and easy to steer, but the steering is lacking in feel.
However, chassis balance is good. Over the rough stuff, it tends to get a bit bouncy but the suspension remain silent.
The Tata Nexon we’re testing is powered by a 1.2-litre turbo petrol motor that produces 108bhp. There’s a lot of turbo lag unfortunately, and you’ll have to keep working the gearbox, which isn’t particularly smooth.
At low revs, it’s a bit too slow, and the motor doesn’t have the required punch to propel this SUV quickly. Power delivery isn’t impressive, but once you pick up pace, you begin to feel the power from the engine.
It has a punch mid-range, making it capable enough for highways. You also get three drive modes: Eco, City and Sport mode. There isn’t much of a difference in City and Sport mode;
Sport mode helps pull all the way to the red line. In Eco, it feels underpowered. The engine is quite refined even when pushed hard.
The steering is a bit eager to change direction and body roll isn’t much. At high speeds, the SUV stays planted and feel composed too. Ride quality is better than that of the Venue.
The Venue tends to hit the nail on the head, for it comes with a refined engine, good driving dynamics and a comfortable cabin.
But it lacks the spaciousness and doesn’t tackle bad roads as willingly as the Nexon. The Nexon also looks the smarter of the two and combines good ride and handling haracteristics.
However, the Venue being equipped with lots of features and a strong service network backing make it our pick of the two.