Hyundai's N division is a group of motoring boffins I hold in high regard. The i30 N is a brilliant hatch, and their work on electric- and hydrogen-powered cars is ambitious. However, the trend of making their N cars noisy seems to have gone a step too far. The i30 N makes great noise but is also a great performance car, and with that being said, the Hyundai Venue N Line is also a great little SUV. It's far from a performance car, so why does it make such a racket?
I did enjoy the Hyundai Venue; it's a great little family car with plenty of tech, smooth and comfortable ride quality and a decent amount of punch for a 1.0-litre motor. I couldn't wrap my head around what emanated from the exhaust of this starter family car with its striking 16" rims. At least the wheels blend in better...
Unexpectedly, I'm fond of the Venue N Line's interior design. You will first notice the Sports seats embroidered with the N logo. They offer good support and are remarkably comfortable despite their sporty appearance. The dashboard layout is quirky and futuristic. I liked how the screen slightly pops out of the dash, giving a modern interior atmosphere.
The infotainment system's processing is seamless, and the interface is easy to use. It comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and your standard Bluetooth, radio, and navigation. The aircon control unit is also easy to use, with large dials that make a satisfying click as you adjust the temperature. I found the digital driver's instrument display simple yet informative, and when you change driving modes, the display changes colour. Green for Eco, blue for Normal and red for Sport. The colour is the most noticeable change when changing driving modes, while the throttle responsiveness and gear ratios are also slightly tweaked.
I quite enjoyed the interior of the Venue N Line. The rear has enough space for passengers, and the overall atmosphere is lively and enjoyable.
The Hyundai venue is an effortless car to live with. It has good ground clearance for the gravel roads and Jozi speed bumps. It also handles well with its light steering feel and decent throttle response. It has a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, producing 88 kW and 172 Nm of torque. In the spirit of small power figures, the Venue N Line does 0-100 km/h in 11.4 seconds.
It's paired with a 7-speed DCT gearbox which is a good unit. It also uses little fuel, claimed at 6.8l/100 km, but I managed to get it down to 6.4l/100 km.
Back to the noise, though, and I was perplexed by this Polo GTI-esque sound coming from the pipes, albeit somewhat more muted. I realise that Hyundai wanted to create some noise, given this was the N Line edition of the Venue, yet, I found myself observing to see the public's opinion of the sound emitting from the compact crossover. And they were both entertained and somewhat puzzled. Even in Eco or Comfort mode, the racket remained rather apparent.
The Venue N is the top-of-the-line Venue, coming in at R483,900. One of the best selling points on the Venue, or Hyundai in general, is its 7-year/ 200,000 km warranty, 7-year/150,000 km roadside assistance and 3-year/45,000 km service plan.
The Hyundai Venue range competes in a competitive part of the market against the likes of Chery's Tiggo 4 Pro, Ford EcoSport, Kia Sonet and Opel Crossland but brings with it a sporty disposition and a unique soundtrack. Sure, it has standout features in its segment, but it's hard to recommend from a value standpoint at nearly half a bar.
The Hyundai N Line is a good compact crossover. It's cheeky, and it has a youthful presence. The noise it makes, though, feels a bit try-hard, and at the price, I'm not entirely sold. The sweet spot in the range is a few options down the rung.
The Venue as a whole is a good starter family car that is frugal and provides a pleasant enough experience for the driver and passenger. The N Line, though, doesn't need to shout from the rooftops quite like a modified hot hatch.