Continuing to test the waters for full-blown performance-oriented N cars in India, Hyundai has added a sportier compact SUV to its N-Line portfolio. The Hyundai Venue N-Line follows the same recipe as the i20 N-Line. Following in the footsteps of the facelifted Venue, the N-Line model gets all the exterior and interior updates of the regular model with some changes targeted towards the enthusiasts among us.
Available only with a turbo-petrol engine and a DCT gearbox (same power output as the regular variant), the N-Line comes with paddle shifters, a stiffer suspension and a raspier exhaust note (from the twin chrome exhaust tips). The paddle shifters do come in handy as the DCT itself is a little slow to respond especially when you are looking for a quick downshift.
Hyundai claims that the suspension has 34 percent more damping force. And the effects are evident almost immediately. The N-Line, like it should, compromises low speed ride quality for cornering ability. The facelifted Venue addressed some of the concerns of the older model, while this N-Line variant makes some choices that will endear it to enthusiasts but push people looking for a comfy city car away. The Venue N-Line does handle with a lot more poise at triple-digit speeds but show it a set of speed breakers in the city and your passengers will definitely feel the bumps in the cabin. That said, Hyundai’s commitment to making the choice to set it up like this especially for a model that sells in large numbers has to be lauded. On a short sprint out of the city, I noticed that the Venue N-Line feels a lot more composed as you pile on speeds with the addition of rear disc brakes giving you a lot more confidence to carry higher speeds.
Mechanical changes aside, there are a few cosmetic updates to make it stand out. It gets the N-Line red and black treatment with plenty of badges all over the car. Then there are the red accents on the bumpers, side skirts, fenders, on the roof rails and under the doors. The alloy wheels also get a new design. On the whole, the design differentiators aren’t major and we would have loved to see Hyundai make some bigger changes.
As you’d have expected, the space inside remains the same, and the rear seat isn’t the roomiest in the segment. There is 350 litres of boot space just like the regular variant. Just like on the outside, there is a healthy smattering of red around the all-black cabin. Everything from the knobs to the AC vents and even the stitching on the seats gets red inserts. There is red ambient lighting to get with the theme and there are the N-badged steering wheel and gear lever. It gets the same digital cluster as on the regular Venue.
As with the regular Venue, the N-Line is a comfortable place to be in, especially for the front passengers. The seats are comfy and supportive, it gets all the features you’d want and it makes for an effortless drive with a refined engine and gearbox, light steering and compact dimensions. The space at the back is slightly restrictive, but so is the case with most of its competitors as well. As you’d expect on a modern Hyundai, quality of materials used are of a high standard and there is nothing to complain about on the fit/finish side of things either.
The BlueLink connectivity suite gets an update and the infotainment system also gives you the option to choose from a number of regional languages. A segment-first and a definite talking point is the two-way dash cam that records footage both inside and outside. It records full HD footage at 30fps and starts recording as soon as you switch on the car. The footage gets saved on to an SD card and you can even set it to record when the car is parked. This is a very good addition and especially useful for our chaotic streets.
To amp up the sporty credentials, there are metallic pedals. However, the air purifier has been given a miss. Things like a sunroof, wireless charging, the 8-inch infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay continue to be offered in the top-spec N8 variant. The more affordable N6 variant misses out on a host of features like the two-step reclining rear seats, electrochromic mirror, side and curtain airbags, the dash cam, a powered driver’s seat and BlueLink connectivity with Alexa and Google built-in.
Priced at Rs. 12.16 lakh for the N6 variant and Rs. 13.15 lakh for the N8 variant, the N-Line costs Rs. 1.19 lakh and Rs. 58,000 more respectively over similarly specced variants. But the addition of features, a sportier drive and some visual distinctions do make it a good option for buyers looking for a practical compact SUV that’s fun to drive on the odd weekly excursion to the hills.