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.