The new Hyundai Venue N Line delivers an over-the-top driving experience with a racing-inspired interior and the performance to match.
With the crossover market currently experiencing a radical shake-up with the loss of several of its most prominent models, the Venue is a more intriguing option than ever for those looking for an affordable, relatively speaking, yet well-rounded vehicle.
The Venue is available with two petrol engines, though the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated unit can only be found on the entry-level Motion. Every other model, including the N Line, is equipped with a 1.0-litre turbocharged powerplant.
The 1.0-litre engine may sound a bit small, given that many of the Hyundai’s contemporaries are rocking 1.5-litre setups, but rest assured the N Line is no slouch, far from it.
The turbo grants access to 88kW and 172Nm – higher than most other cars in the segment – and it shows, because the Venue is always eager to jump off the line at a green light.
Helping things along is the fact you have three driving modes for Normal, Eco, and Sport, which can be toggled via a dial below the gearstick, and which gratifyingly cycle the digital driver display between blue, green, and red colour schemes respectively.
Eco works well enough and is what I’d recommend for heavy traffic, as it does a good job of lessening the throttle response to prevent the revs from climbing too high.
Sport mode is the highlight of the package, cranking up the throttle sensitivity to be near-instant. What’s more is you can put the seven-speed automatic gearbox into manual mode, which translates to an awesome time tearing about a series of twisting back roads.
I’d also be remiss not to mention the aggressive-sounding twin exhaust, which delivered the perfect verbal accompaniment to my exuberant driving in Sport mode.
Oddly enough, I found Normal mode to be the weakest of the three, as it feels too sensitive to be called just that.
With the other two modes you know what to expect, but with Normal mode, which is what the car defaults to every time you turn the engine on, the throttle movements feel needlessly jerky, especially at low speeds.
On the subject of fuel consumption, my worst trip came to 10.0l/100km, which is actually pretty good considering that that was when I was messing about in Sport mode with the “manual” gearbox, where I was consistently pushing things well past 4,000rpm.
On a more restrained journey in Eco mode I was able to drive the consumption down to a reasonable 7.0l/100km.
The exciting aspects of the crossover are not just limited to its performance, as the N Line brings with it a stylish interior suitable for a model bearing the brand’s racing credentials.
Upon opening the doors you’ll be greeted by an artificial leather upholstery decked out in a red-and-black colour scheme, along with accompanying N logos.
The same visual treatment is afforded to the centre console, where most components have a red highlight around them, and rounding out the athletic theme is a set of aluminium sports pedals.
A few details I particularly liked were how the climate controls are displayed by a circular window between the two adjustment knobs, and the passenger shelf has red ambient lighting and a lip to prevent things like your phone from sliding out.
The driver’s seat is electronically adjustable which is great for finding your ideal position, though the small car doesn’t offer a great deal of headroom even with the seat on its lowest setting.
The infotainment screen is straightforward to use, though the default operating system is rather bland, and I found myself defaulting to Android Auto as soon as possible.
There’s a reverse camera and rear parking sensors, too, and the top-spec model even comes with an electric sunroof which I enjoyed having open on the late afternoon journeys home.
The Venue is also a great-looking small crossover, with its singular reverse light bar, 16-inch alloy wheels, model-unique chrome grille, and LED headlights and daytime running lights.
The directional turning lights when turning and indicating are another plus, especially for this segment.
The Hyundai Venue has a starting price of R299,900or R362,900 for the 1.0-litre turbo units, which is on par with similar models currently on the market, but that price jumps all the way up to R463,900 for the N Line.
It’s a big increase that pushes the top-end model into a different price bracket; in fact, the N Line is actually more expensive than the Hyundai Creta Premium, which starts at R428,900.
I don’t see the two cars as direct competitors as they offer radically different driving experiences, with the Creta being more civilized with its CVT transmission and 1.5-litre engine, while the N Line delivers a more action-packed driving style.
Of course, if you can do without all the additional items that the N badge brings with it, a similar experience can be had by any of the other Venue models with the 1.0-litre turbo-engine for a more affordable price.
In this regard, the new Hyundai Venue offers great value for money within the highly-popular crossover scene, with the looks, interior, and performance to stand out as one of the most exciting entries currently on the market.
Hyundai Venue N Line
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