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!

2019 New York - Lincoln Corsair debuts as the smallest crossover in the range

To say Lincoln is on a roll would be an understatement of mega proportions. It all started in 2015 when the brand previewed it's new design direction inside and out at the New York Auto Show with the Continental Concept. Since then, Ford's luxury arm has been the cynosure of many an eye in the Big Apple with the Navigator, Nautilus and Aviator making their debuts in subsequent editions of the show. It's the same in 2019 too with Lincoln previewing it's compact luxury crossover, the Corsair.

Lincoln's smallest crossover - based on the new Ford Escape - would replace the MKC, slotting in below the Aviator in the brand's increasingly-impressive lineup. 

The folks at Lincoln struck gold with the Navigator with critics as well as customers loving the way the behemoth SUV looked and pampered the occupants. It's not surprising then to see many of those elements being driven down the order. If the Aviator looked like a mini-Navigator, the Corsair looks like a mini-Aviator. We aren't complaining!

Head-on, high-set swept-back headlights sit on either side of a large chrome-embellished grille with the repeater lamps placed in their own recessed spots below the main light clusters. The grille, like all recent Lincoln models, features exquisite detailing with the mesh mimicking the brand's logo. In profile, you will notice the same sloping roofline, the prominent shoulder line and blacked-out pillars that are seen in the Aviator and the Nautilus. The Corsair moniker sits proudly beneath the rear view mirrors on either side. Taillights that run the width of the car, a muscular boot lid and dual-tone bumper with metallic inserts complete the rear. 

If Corsair's exteriors failed to excite you, chances are it's interiors will. The compact Lincoln's interiors are amongst the nicest ones in the segment without a doubt. The dashboard adopts a horizontal layout with unique full-width air-conditioning vents and a center stack that hangs unsupported. The mandatory touchscreen pops out on the other side, featuring Lincoln's SYNC 3.0 infotainment system. While the layout is classy and has a sort of retro-modern feel to it, the center stack - with a host of buttons and knobs - appear cluttered. 

A full suite of creature comforts and safety features are part of the standard kit offered with Lincoln's party trick - the 24-way power-adjustable front seats - available as an option. Other Lincoln goodies including extensive sound-proofing and Detroit Symphony Orchestra-recorded chimes for alerts are there too. What's more, the Corsair scores on practicality too with the rear passengers getting a manually-sliding and reclining split seat like the new Escape. 

Under the hood lurks a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that churns out 250 horsepower and 373 Nm of torque. It's the same engine that powers Escape's higher variants. For those looking for more power, a 2.3-liter mill with 30 additional horses and a torque rating of 420 Nm will be on offer. Both engines are mated to a 8-speed automatic transmission. With it's platform-mate Escape announced with conventional and plug-in hybrid powertrain options, the Corsair is expected to get one eventually as well, sitting atop the lineup as the flagship.

With Lincoln still struggling to make enough Navigators to meet demand and interest levels on the Aviator hitting a peak, Lincoln is on an ascent. The Corsair, in all probability, is going to make the climb a bit steeper!