Late last year, I spent some quality time in the Hyundai i20 N Line, driving it over 1,250 kms in Rajasthan. The iMT (intelligent manual transmission) was a revelation, and experiencing it during a couple of days and driving it over diverse road conditions really opened my eyes to this gearbox’s potential in a very Indian context. It offers one the prospect of enjoying the advantages of a clutch-free automatic in the city while also letting you get personally involved in driving the car dynamically with manual gear selection when on the highway or on a tight, winding uphill climb. This gearbox will eventually be better understood, and more buyers will seek out its benefits.
Unfortunately, it was probably its current market acceptance or the price positioning for the Venue that has led Hyundai to drop the iMT and instead offer the next N Line model with only the DCT (dual clutch transmission). The Venue N Line is the second model variant to join this sporty line-up. And it gets the same one-litre Turbo GDi petrol engine that the i20 featured, with only the 7-speed DCT gearbox.
The Venue has already been given a facelift, and the new look 2022 model launched earlier this year offers this sub-compact SUV a sportier fascia that gels with Hyundai’s international design language. Like the i20 N Line variant, the Venue N Line’s exterior design also gets a “racy” makeover with red accents that highlight key design features like the front and rear skid plates, the body side cladding running over the character line and the roof rack. At the rear, the Venue N Line gets twin-tip exhaust pipes that sound good too, but we’ll talk more about that later.
It also gets special 16-inch, N Line branded alloys and front calipers painted red, which genuinely enhance the side profile of this Venue. There are four places on the body panels where the N Line badge points out that this is a special variant, including on the tailgate and the bonnet grille. The rest of the design and exterior features are all identical to the regular Venue.
The interior of the new Venue N Line gets a similar sporty treatment to identify this variant’s special position. An all-black colour theme with bright red accents to the aircon controls, vent handles, drive mode controller, and sporty red piping and contrast stitching for the leatherette seats greet me as soon as I step in. The sport seats also feature a checkered flag design on the contrast upholstery for the backrest. The seats themselves are sportily constructed with raised side bolsters and scooped-out backrests to offer more comfort, even for rear passengers.
One of the best features about the Venue is its non-intimidating size and yet very SUV-like seating and driving position. Along with that, the gearstick position in the slanted centre console joins in to offer the perfect driving posture. The stick itself also sports a red stripe with a gear-knob that offers a good hold. The steering wheel is a 3-spoke, N Line-specific unit with a stitched leather finish and sporty thumb-holds at the ‘10-2’ position. Apart from the multiple controls for the infotainment system and cruise control, it also has large paddles for manual gear selection. Also drawing inspiration from Hyundai’s motorsports lineage, the Venue N Line gets drilled metal pedals, red ambient lighting, and an all-black cabin colour theme. The sunroof from the regular Venue has also been carried into the N Line’s cabin.
But the one unique in-cabin feature for the Venue N Line is the addition of a DashCam. Positioned at the top of the windscreen and right next to the rear-view mirror , the dual-camera DashCam is a compact unit that records a live video of the road ahead of the vehicle and simultaneously a wide view of the cabin. The recording can be stored on a memory card.
The new Venue N Line is offered with two trim variant options but only gets one powertrain. The engine is the one-litre turbo GDi mill, and it is paired with the 7-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission). This is a 998cc Hyundai group powertrain that has already been featured by both group brands, Kia and Hyundai. It is offered with the regular Venue and the standard i20, but just like in the i20 N Line, the Venue N Line also gets a few performance tweaks to ensure that it is worthy of the “N Line” branding. Power output and torque generated are the same at 120PS and 172Nm, respectively. But the key performance hardware have been tuned differently to deliver a more engaging performance. The steering feel and focus are more precise, the suspension is a shade firmer and the brakes now include discs for all four wheels.
Power delivery and throttle response are both not dramatically different to the regular Venue, with the same being applicable largely for the 7-speed DCT’s performance. The gearbox is still a bit lazy, especially during kickdowns, and that was something I would have liked to be different from the regular Venue. You can choose the ‘Sport’ mode for a bit more response from the powertrain and, thankfully, the large paddle shifters right behind the steering wheel help in manual gear selection. So, there is some fun to be had. The exhaust sound tuning also delivers a low guttural growl from the twin pipe exhaust, though it is not all that exciting to hear while being inside what is otherwise a quiet cabin.
The Hyundai Venue N Line is a sporty addition to the portfolio of the Korean brand. It is not a genuine performance variant, but it does bring a certain panache and young vibe to the Venue and fills a gap within the model line. With the continued preference for the SUV body style, it is a good idea to capture every niche within the segment. And that is exactly what the Venue N Line does convincingly. Prices start at ₹12.14 lakh for the N6 and ₹13.15 lakh for the N8.