Why does one buy an automatic vehicle? Three reasons. First is convenience, second is fun-to-drive and third is because there wasn’t a manual option. Sounds much like why people buy the Polo TSI, isn’t it? The Polo’s dual clutch transmission makes it a joy to pilot and given its nimble dimensions, it is but a given that the car is a hoot to drive. Why are we discussing the Polo in a Hyundai Venue review? That’s cos in approximately Rs three lakh more, you get a bigger and much better car in the Venue. Hyundai’s own dual clutch technology has been used in the Venue SUV. How good is it then? We find out in this road test.
Engine and transmission
The engine is a 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit that produces 120PS and 172Nm. This engine is mated to a 7-speed DCT that also has a manual function. A 6-speed manual is optional too. At start-up, the engine is silent and has minimal vibrations. However if you put your hand on the door pad, you do feel the thrum. This aside, you don’t really get the push you expect from a turbo petrol motor and a DCT combo. At part throttle, the motor pushes the SUV ahead with a finesse. However, if you want outright acceleration or do pedal-to-metal quite often, use the manual mode. In auto mode, the gearbox is slow to respond to instant throttle responses. Moreover, around 2,000rpm, the gearbox wants to upshift in the aim of better fuel efficiency. 9.2kmpl in city and 13.4kmpl on the highway is what I could manage staying in automatic mode.
Personally, I loved pushing the engine using the manual mode. This mode enables one to use the engine to its full potential. You have a much better control over the vehicle too. Paddle shifters would have been a wonderful addition too.
Ride and handling
The Hyundai Venue has good straight line manners. However, it isn’t as quick to change directions. The steering is super light though. In fact, too light for its own good. It lends the car a bit of a nervous character on the highway. In the city though, it is feather light and will make for a very good commuter. Helping its commuter claim will be the decent all around visibility. Moreover, the brakes too are decently sharp unlike other Hyundai offerings. In terms of ride quality, the car is a bit jittery at slow speeds, however it stays planted and confident once the speeds increase. NVH too is on the lower side inside the car. However, if you are outside, you can definitely hear the waste gases as well as the noisy air-conditioning unit.
As far as safety is concerned, the Venue has got the essentials mandated by the government in place. A rear view camera with grid lines too is part of the deal. DCT trims also get the option of remote starting the car or even switching on the AC from outside. Moreover, the dedicated SoS button and towing assistance are available right on the IRVM. If Hyundai could add a middle rear seat headrest, adjustable front seat belts and the option of four additional airbags on DCT trims, it will make sense.
The Venue SX+ we tested is priced at Rs 11.40 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. It is pricier than the Nexon, however the XUV300 overshoots the price and that too with a manual transmission. We had expected a higher price tag and it is surprising how well Hyundai has managed to price a turbo petrol/dual clutch automatic so well. The Venue has a high quality and we are all aware of Hyundai’s service costs and accessibility. Moreover, resale values of Hyundais are always on the upswing. If you’re looking for a feature-laden yet slightly gimmicky car which is easy to drive too, the Venue fits the bill perfectly.
Images by Sushil Jaiswal