The only thing hotter than subcompact SUVs these days is the oppressive weather! The Hyundai Venue has arrived to raise the heat in the highly competitive subcompact SUV segment. It is the company's first play ion this space, and so it knows that it has to get it right. If you have already read my review, you know the car has got the goods. But now let's put that to the test. In this three-way contest we have the newbie, the new benchmark and the bestseller. The car that won the last round at the end of February was the Mahindra XUV300. We tested the XUV 300 against the segment stalwarts - Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport and the Tata Nexon. And we found that each car had its strong USP. So, proportion and space on the Brezza, sporty character and build quality on the EcoSport and the Nexon scored big on comfort and safety. The XUV300 brought many segment firsts and excellent ride & handling to the party. And could ably take on each of the other car' USPs.
Hyundai Venue versus Mahindra XUV300
What's changed between then and now is the arrival of the Hyundai Venue. So of course we had to have it take on the reigning champion. Slim lights, cascade grille, lenticular LED taillights, sculpted metal, SUV proportions, well laid out cabin, good materials, and loaded with tech - and oh yeah like the XUV300 it also has some two-tone roof options. That is the Hyundai Venue. The Mahindra XUV300 has the upmarket looks and build quality too, a wider stance, a light toned well finished feature rich cabin, and while there is a touch screen, it does not include telematics or an embedded sim or eSIM. The Venue has bluelink which gives you emergency response, a concierge service, remote control of some car functions and security through an app and plenty more. The XUV is well loaded, but the Venue more so; and at way more attractive prices.
Also Read: Hyundai Venue: Most Value For Money Variant
The XUV 300 and Hyundai Venue get petrol and diesel options though the Mahindra does not have an auto variant as yet. The Venue gets the DCT on the 1 litre petrol. And that's the other thing - there are two petrol options and one diesel on the Venue too. This includes the modern, small displacement turbocharged 1.0 GDI ((118 bhp, 172 Nm). That engine gets the choice of a 7-Speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission) or 6-Speed manual. There's also the older 1.2 kappa petrol (82 bhp, 114 Nm) with a 5-Speed box, and the U2 CRDi diesel (89 bhp, 220 Nm) with a 6-Speed manual too. On the Mahindra you get either a 1.2 petrol(110 bhp, 220 Nm) or 1.5 diesel (115 bhp, 300 Nm).
Both Mahindra and Hyundai have announced that they're going to continue with diesel even after the April 1 2020 BS6 deadline comes our way. This means it could end up being a huge USP, especially if Maruti does phase out its diesel on the Vitara Brezza. Having said that then perhaps, it might start to hurt Hyundai not to have an Automatic option AMT on the diesel too. The Tata Nexon has it, the Vitara Brezza has it (in case the diesel continues) and then the XUV300 is supposed to get AMT on both petrol and diesel too.
We already told you in our review, how the Venue has great steering, good ride quality, and decent handling. The 1.0 GDI turbo petrol is a welcome addition and the diesel is also fun. There's a more sure, more planted, and a more precise feel straightaway on the XUV300. When you come in to a corner really hard, or even if you're just manoeuvring through city traffic, the car just feels so assured. And that's certainly not what you are used to in subcompact SUV space; and that's because - of course these cars are small, they are below 4 metres, they are also lighter than the regular SUVs usually are. That is where using the SsangYong Tivoli platform for the XUV300, has given us a big car feel, both in terms of ride quality (and more so) in terms of handling. So if performance is your thing then it's undoubtedly still got to be the XUV300, and otherwise on all other grounds, yes the Venue becomes the dominant product. It is not just the feature list or attribute, it is also the pricing.
Also Read: Hyundai Venue: Variants Explained
|Hyundai Venue||₹ 6.5 lakh to ₹ 11.10 lakh||₹ 7.55 lakh to ₹ 10.84 lakh|
|Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza||NA||₹ 7.78 lakh to ₹ 10.50 lakh|
|Mahindra XUV300||₹ 7.79 lakh to ₹ 11.49 lakh||₹ 8.49 lakh to ₹ 11.99 lakh|
Hyundai Venue versus Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
That then indicates that the Venue will likely become a bestseller, which means it starts to threaten the market leader. So of course we have to then bring in the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Even though it didn't win our last shootout it remains the darling of the subcompact segment. And so you can't really talk about subcompact SUVs in our country without talking about the quintessential one - the Vitara Brezza. Now, I say quintessential because of all of them it remains the most typical SUV in terms of styling. So in a way the three are distinct. The Venue brings is a little future looking, and the XUV300 looks the widest and biggest. So you've got aggression (XUV300), you've got modernity (Venue) and you've got classic SUV proportions and styling with the Vitara Brezza.
Also Read: Hyundai Venue Features Explained
The Vitara Brezza gets the touchscreen and connectivity too but no telematics either. Ride is certainly not as supple as the other two but its comfort is enhanced by its ride height and sense of space. The airiest, roomiest cabin, and a really commanding seating position that sits nice and tall on the road, give the Vitara Brezza the most SUV-like feel for sure. Where it loses out - primarily the fact that it only has the diesel engine, no petrol and even on the automatic is only an AMT. So there is nothing quite as sophisticated as the Venue's 1.0 GDI + DCT. With the least options on drivetrain and tech, the Vitara Brezza is looking weak even on paper now isn't it? Some of that will change soon enough though. We've told you on carandbike first, that Maruti will finally brings us the petrol version and a facelift of the Vitara Brezza when it transitions the model to BS6 early next year. Maruti Suzuki might be well placed now to consider the 1 litre boosterjet engine instead of going with the tried and tested 1.2 K12M (especially given all the interest, and bookings for Hyundai's GDI). For now it's the tried and tested 1.3 DDiS (89 bhp, 200 Nm) that continues to do service in the car.
Yes that 1.0 litre GDI has already cornered over 40 per cent of the nearly 25,000 bookings that the Venue already has. The overwhelming majority of those are for the DCT - meaning the experience benchmark will again rise from the AMT. Yes the Ford EcoSport used to have a DCT too. But given the Venue's reach and likely higher sales it will popularize the benchmark once again and more effectively so. A look at the prices of all three reveals how the XUV300 is positioned as the larger more sophisticated offering, and I have no doubt the Venue will hurt it a lot. The Vitara Brezza is now looking like less value, and the lack of petrol sticks out like a sore thumb. Hyundai did surprise many with such aggressive pricing, and I do expect an upward revision in a few months.
Also Read: 1.0 GDI and DCT dominate Venue bookings
Subcompact SUV segment poised for more growth
In 2013 subcompact SUVs were just 13 per cent of the all SUVs. (SUVs in general only occupied 14 per cent of the overall Indian car market then). By 2018 that has changed dramatically. SUVs, in general, have become 21 per cent of the market, and subcompacts within that are now 47 per cent of all SUVs sold in India. So you can imagine how important this space is. The projection is that by the end of 2020, subcompact SUVs will account for 51 per cent of SUV sales. So the Venue will grow the pie. Joining in the next two years will be the Kia QY, a next generation EcoSport, and others too! So where am I going with this?
The expectation is by the time BS6 comes around, we will have the petrol version of the Vitara Brezza. Maybe the diesel will bow out of the market, but it will remain a very strong player. And so you cannot rule it out - and that is why Maruti certainly needs to bring some much-needed additions to it, especially in the connected space. That's something that the Hyundai Venue continues to hold as a massive trump card, at least until the Kia QY arrives (or others decide to upgrade and also introduce eSIMs). The XUV300 is Mahindra's best product yet, but also loses out on the tech. But if you are looking for sheer driving pleasure and performance is your thing, you will really like the sporty driving character of the Mahindra XUV300. Having no automatic still does hurt it though. The Hyundai Venue has it all - from connectivity to the DCT and the new petrol engine; and the fact that you still continue to have a credible, fun, very strong diesel. So that makes it the most obvious winner. Now I will worry about how soon Hyundai decides to try and tweak the 'introductory' prices.