Long Term Review 3: Highway Report
We continue to enjoy the company of the Hyundai Venue in the CarWale garage and so far we have put this ICOTY winner through quite a few paces. The Venue has been our companion on plenty of shoots, leisure drives and many other commutes while clocking more than 15,000 kilometres in the time it has been with us. This time around, we share our experience out on the highway with the Hyundai Venue.
This compact SUV has been our favourite choice for all those long-distance excursions. We found the Venue to pack in comfortable touring capabilities thanks to its frugal and refined 1.4-litre diesel. The four-cylinder diesel is silent and you can cruise between 100-120kmph in sixth gear all day with the tacho needle comfortably hovering between 1500-2000rpm. It is only when the 2,000rpm mark is crossed that the engine noise could be heard inside the cabin. But the ample low- and mid-range grunt means you never have to push the engine too hard. It even gets up to speed easily hence overtaking slow-moving trucks on the highway is pretty easy as well.
Meanwhile, the light and easy steering at low speed weighs up nicely as the speed increases. It remains easy to operate but we feel a little more feedback could have helped especially when driving on the twisty ghat sections. Apart from that, the six-speed gearbox is a breeze to operate combined with the light clutch. And the latter isn’t spongy in operation like the previous-gen Hyundai cars, but smooth and stress-free to use.
Then there’s the ride quality, which although on the stiffer side, isn’t uncomfortable. It absorbs small bumps and irregularities with good assurance and we never heard the suspension working even when the road started to go from bad to worse. Only the sharp, squared-edge pothole could be felt inside the cabin. Having said that, we found that the rear suspension tends to bounce over those irksomely-large rumble-strips on the highway. Those 215/60 R16 section tyres also provide sufficient grip and braking confidence at highway speeds. And they haven’t shown any sign of wear or fading even after long hours on the road.
Lastly, the bonus is the 21kmpl+ fuel economy which translates to a real-time driving range of around 950 kilometres on a single tank making the Venue a very frugal runabout. This meant that our frequent visit to fuel pumps were greatly reduced as the Venue went on for days at times without the need of refueling thus also cutting down on our fuel budget.
In terms of ergonomics, the height adjustment for the driver along with adjustment for steering allows you to settle into a comfortable driving position for longer hauls. And although the seat upholstery with rough texture isn’t our favourite, they have shown no sign of wear or getting dirty yet. Which brings us to the all-black cabin – it lacks that airy feel you’d get from a cabin using light-coloured material. Weirdly enough, we found the upright touchscreen instrument cluster difficult to read when the sun was overhead. Its matte finish doesn’t help either and even when the brightness is amped to the maximum, it is challenging to operate when on the move.
On the flip side, seating three on the back bench wasn’t very kind to our passengers especially for the longer journeys. Owing to tight shoulder room and intrusive centre tunnel for the middle occupant we found three people struggling to sit comfortably at the back but two people – with the provision of centre armrest – could do just fine. Meanwhile, the boot space of around 350 litres is adequate for swallowing one large-size, one mid-size suitcase and three duffle bags with room to spare for a backpack and a few knick-knacks.
One more thing we loved is the comprehensive driver display giving out information like two trip metres, instantaneous fuel consumption, gearshift indicator and more. It is a useful tool that helps you to be a smarter driver behind the wheel. And the one-touch operation on the driver’s window on our top-spec trim is trifle, but a useful feature, especially when encountering numerous tollbooths on long tours.
No wonder why the Hyundai Venue remained our most preferred choice of wheel, be it for shoots, outdoor trips or even lazy drives within the city. To sum it up, the Venue has managed to come on top of everything we demanded of it. However, we are aware that Hyundai plans to soon replace this 1.4-litre motor with a new 1.5-litre unit from the Seltos. With this newer and bigger engine, the Venue will get even better given how well packaged it already is.
Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi
Vehicle Log Odometre – 15,703 kilometre
Kilometre this month – 6,142 kilometres
Fuel Efficiency – 17.8kmpl