Hyundai unveils the Venue in simultaneous events held in New York and India

South-Korean car-maker Hyundai took the wraps off it's much-awaited compact crossover - the Venue - yesterday. Slotting in below the Kona as the smallest crossover in the lineup, the weirdly-named Venue marks a departure from Hyundai's traditional naming convention for SUVs. For those that do not know, the Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe and Palisade are all named after popular American east coast holiday destinations! 

While the global unveiling took place amidst the glitz and grandeur of the New York Auto Show, the Venue for India was uncovered on-board a cruise ship from Mumbai to Goa. It just goes to show how important the Indian market is for Hyundai in general and the Venue in particular. 

How can it not be? Compact SUVs and crossovers are all the rage these days and every model - from the Ford EcoSport that pioneered the segment to the newest challenger Mahindra XUV3OO - has been successful so far. Of course, Maruti-Suzuki's Vitara Brezza is the runaway sales leader in the pack and the model Hyundai is aiming for with the Venue.

Featuring Hyundai's signature design language first seen on the current Santa Fe, the Venue's fascia is rather striking. The eyeball-grabber, without a doubt, is the Cascading Grille with a checkered chrome mesh. To keep it short, all we can say is it's going to divide opinions. Split light clusters - the latest fad in SUV design circles - give the Venue a strong character that's hard to ignore. From the sides, the Venue looks pretty much like a Creta, albeit a size smaller. At the rear, things are simple and elegant with LED-equipped square-shaped taillights and bold 'VENUE' badging spread across the sculpted tailgate stealing the limelight. 

While the pictures in this post are of the American Venue, the design remains unchanged for India apart from minor detailing differences. It's dimunitive size apart, we got to admit that the Venue is quite a looker!

The interiors - going by the images released - look impressive. A sporty-looking multi-function steering wheel greets the driver while a well-designed and neatly laid-out dashboard look classy. A high-set 8.0-inch touchscreen system, equipped with Hyundai's latest 'Blue Link' connectivity technology that's making it's India debut, occupies prime place in the center. With a total of 33 features - of which 10 are unique for India - spanning safety, vehicle control, location-based services, remote access and voice recognition, the Venue will keep the tech geeks amongst us happy. 

Being a Hyundai, expect the Venue to boast class-leading fit and finish and an extensive feature list.

A 1.2-liter petrol engine generating 83 horsepower and 115 Nm of torque and a 1.4-liter diesel engine churning out 90 horsepower and 220 Nm of torque are the main engine options for India. Both these engines are shared with the popular i20. The petrol comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission while the diesel gets a 6-speed manual gearbox. For enthusiasts yearning for more, Hyundai is also bringing along a 1.0-liter turbo petrol with 120 horsepower and 172 Nm of torque paired with a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission! 

Globally, a 1.6-liter petrol engine is likely to be Venue's mainstay fitted with a 6-speed manual or an Intelligent Variable transmission.

With the recently-unveiled Palisade expanding Hyundai's SUV lineup at the top, the pint-sized Venue is all set to do the same at the other end. The car goes on sale in India later this month and globally towards the end of the year. Should the Vitara Brezza be concerned? Probably not. Should the EcoSport, Nexon and XUV3OO be worried? Hell, yeah!

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