New Car Buying Platform
Sports SUVs are a rare breed, especially in the budget segment. But now there is a new car in town that is set to change the perception of SUVs for the masses in the country.
SUV owners always complain about body roll, when driving in anger. But what if there was a solution to these problems? What if there was a SUV that not only drives better but also handles well? Banking on the success of its first N-Line product, Hyundai India has introduced the Venue N-Line in the country. Priced at Rs 12.16 lakh (ex-showroom), the Hyundai Venue N-Line like the i20 N-Line gets major cosmetic updates along with mechanical changes to improve the ride and handling of the sub-compact SUV. But will these changes appeal to everyone and make a compelling case in enticing people to look past the standard model? Let us find out.
Like we have seen with the i20 N-Line, the Hyundai Venue N-Line also gets prominent red highlights on the outside, that emphasise the sporty nature of the SUV. In addition to the sporty highlights, the car is also provided with a revised paramedic front grille (with smaller jewel elements), redesigned front and rear bumpers along with a new dual tip sports exhaust. The Venue N-Line also gets different alloy wheels compared to the standard model with red brake callipers as standard.
When compared, we feel the Hyundai i20 N-Line was more tastefully modified in comparison to the new Venue N-Line (especially the alloy wheels).
On the inside, we once again see a familiar sight. The cabin is finished in an all-black theme with contrast red stitching. Leatherette seats are provided as standard on the N-Line model along with new elements like red ambient lighting, a sports steering wheel, sporty metal pedals and a new gear lever with N-Line badging. While these updates are in line with what was seen with the i20 N-Line, what is truly new is the rotary knob for multi-drive mode and a dual dashcam (N8 model only) that records both the outside and the inside. This is a welcome safety addition to the Venue’s cabin.
Excluding these changes, this is a familiar cabin that gets the large 8.0-inch touchscreen unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, power adjust for the driver’s seat, digital instrument cluster, electric sunroof and a large rear bench with two-step recline function.
Despite being based on the top-of-the-line Venue SX (O) variant, the N-Line model misses out on an air purifier compared to the standard vehicle. Interestingly the Venue N Line N6 gets an equipment list in line with the diesel Venue SX and skips equipment like the Blue Link equipped 8.0-inch HD touchscreen, Google and Alexa Home to car functions, OTA updates, ambient nature sounds and a burglar alarm – feature. The N6 also does not provide split-folding and two-step recline rear seat backrest available on the Venue SX petrol.
Unlike the standard SUV that comes equipped with two petrol and one diesel engine along with multiple gearbox options; the Venue N-Line is offered with only a 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit that comes mated to a 7-speed DCT gearbox. This unit pushes out 118bhp and 172 Nm of peak torque. While the power figures remain the same, what has changed are the suspension and steering. The new sports steering wheel is light at low speeds and weighs up well when doing triple digits on the highway. The added heft has made the new unit more direct and predictable when changing direction.
To contain body roll and improve the vehicle dynamics, the company has provided the Venue N-Line with stiffer springs. This stiffening has worked, as the vehicle feels more planted and less susceptible to body roll through corners. This combination of the stiffer springs with the heavier steering wheel makes it a joy through the twisty and tight roads. Despite the stiffer springs, the car has not lost its soft edge, tackling the potholes and bad roads with ease.
In addition to these changes, the Venue N-Line also comes equipped with disk brakes at all four corners, which inspire confidence when going fast. The additional disk brakes along with the dual dash cam are welcome changes to the Venue’s cabin.
In terms of driving, it all feels familiar, you sit quite high, getting a good view out. The engine is well refined and NVH are contained to a minimum. The 1.0-litre 3-cylinder unit revs cleanly till the red line and picks up speed quickly. There is a noticeable lag below the 1800 rpm mark, but past that it is an engaging experience. The 1.0-litre unit comes mated to a 7-speed DCT gearbox with paddle shifters that provides extra control along with the new drive mode selector that changes the characteristic of the gearbox between Eco, Normal and Sport modes.
So, at a starting price of Rs 12.16 lakh (ex-showroom) is the Venue N-Line a better package than the standard model? Well, it’s a tricky question to answer. While we do believe the mechanical changes to the car have worked in improving the drive and handling characteristics of the SUV; but this has not solved the problem entirely. So, if you are not looking for a sporty themed SUV, then the standard model is the one for you. But if you are in the market to experience something different and also drive at anger, then the Venue N-Line is the car for you.
Read Also: Hyundai i20 N-Line: Expert Review