• Auto start-stop to aid fuel efficiency.
    Auto start-stop to aid fuel efficiency.
  • Remote engine start is a cool feature.
    Remote engine start is a cool feature.
  • Stylish 16-inch alloys. No rear discs.
    Stylish 16-inch alloys. No rear discs.
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Hyundai Venue vs Mahindra XUV300 diesel comparison

8th Aug 2019 8:00 am

You’ve seen how it fares against its rivals in petrol-automatic guise, but how does the Hyundai Venue compare as a diesel? We line it up with the previous winner in this segment, the Mahindra XUV300.

The XUV300 is our current pick of the diesel compact SUV crop, having seen off the rest of the segment just a few months ago in our big comparison test. It impressed us on almost every count and was a huge leap forward for Mahindra; but let’s not forget, though it’s been heavily reworked for India, the XUV300 started life as a SsangYong Tivoli. On its home turf of South Korea, SsangYong frequently does battle in various segments with another local brand – you might have heard of it – Hyundai. In a way, that battle has now come to our shores, as the XUV300 defends its title of best diesel compact SUV against the new Hyundai Venue. These two are the newest and freshest cars in the segment, but which one should you pick? Read on to find out.

Impactful compacts

It’s not easy getting the proportions right on a sub-four-metre SUV, but Hyundai has done a commendable job. It looks tall enough without feeling truncated, and in profile, it looks like a mini-Creta. The front is rather unique in this segment with its split-headlamp treatment. Although the large chrome grille seems a bit overdone, there’s no doubt it’ll grab eyeballs.

The XUV300 is visibly wider than the Venue, and although they’re exactly the same length, the Mahindra has a 100mm longer wheelbase! More than that though, it’s hard to escape the fact that the XUV300 is a longer car (the 4.2m SsangYong Tivoli) that’s been cut down to size and this shows in its truncated boot and upsets the proportions quite a bit. It does, however, have some interesting details at the front and rear to help distract you from this.

What’s on the inside

The Venue’s all-black colour scheme might seem a little dour, but the dashboard has a simple and well-thought-out design. The ergonomics are spot on, there are plenty of rich-looking plastics, and the buttons have a nicely damped feel. Special mention must go to the new Hyundai steering wheel which looks like it belongs in a far more expensive car. Also worthy of mention is the 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is well-integrated into the dashboard.

Dashboard design is classy. Top-quality materials overall.

The XUV300’s interior comes a very close second in terms of quality, with the well-finished switchgear being particularly noteworthy. The lighter colours lend a greater sense of space to the already-larger cabin. However, some parts of the cabin look and feel a bit dated – particularly the air-con controls and other buttons lower down – and don’t feel in sync with the rest of the cabin.

Cabin feels well-put-together but the design is a bit of a mishmash.

Both cars get a lot of safety kit, the commonalities including ESP, hill-start assist, ABS with EBD, Isofix child-seat anchors, six airbags and rear parking sensors with a camera. The XUV300 W8 (O) goes a step further, however, with front parking sensors, disc brakes at the rear, and a driver-knee airbag. Both cars get auto headlamps, auto climate control, a sunroof, cruise control and a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Venue also offers Hyundai’s Blue Link – a SIM-based service paired to a smartphone app offering several ‘connected’ features, as well as a wireless mobile charger. The XUV300 W8 (O) again goes a bit further, with auto wipers, an auto-dimming inside mirror, heated wing mirrors, dual-zone climate control and engine stop-start.

Equipment
Hyundai Venue SX (O)Mahindra XUV300 W8 (O)
Projector headlamps XenonXenon
LED DRLs AvailableAvailable
Keyless entry and goAvailableAvailable
Auto headlampsAvailableAvailable
Auto wipersNAAvailable
Auto climate controlSingle-zoneDual-zone
Auto-dimming inside mirrorNAAvailable
Heated wing mirrorsNAAvailable
Rear AC ventAvailableNA
SunroofAvailableAvailable
Touchscreen8.0-inch7.0-inch
Apple CarPlay/Android AutoAvailableAvailable
Rear-view cameraAvailableAvailable
Parking sensors (f/r)NA / AvailableAvailable / Available
Tyre pressure monitoring systemNAAvailable
Wireless phone chargerAvailableNA
ABS/ESPAvailableAvailable
Airbags67

Every millimetre counts 

The part-leatherette seats on the Venue are soft and provide good overall support at the front, and outward visibility is good. The back seat offers sufficient support and has the advantage of a rear AC vent, although some might find the backrest to be a tad upright. Headroom is ample, but width and legroom are considerably less than what you get in the XUV300, and tall passengers will find their knees brushing up against the front seat.

That space seems to have been apportioned to the boot, which at 350 litres is almost 100 litres more than the Mahindra’s. In fact, most premium hatchbacks have more boot space than the XUV300.

257-litre boot is too small for an SUV.

The XUV’s back seat is likely segment-best on space, but falls behind when it comes to thigh support. The lighter colours give a better sense of airiness and there’s the advantage of an adjustable headrest and three-point seat belt for the middle passenger. The front seats are wide and widely adjustable, and the full-leatherette upholstery is a premium touch.

Dimensions
Hyundai Venue SX (O)Mahindra XUV300 W8 (O)
Length3995mm3995mm
Width 1770mm1821mm
Height 1605mm1627mm
Wheelbase 2500mm2600mm
Tyre size215/65 R16215/55 R17

Walking the torque

Start the Venue’s 90hp diesel engine and it will impress you with the level of refinement at idle. It does, however, start to get a little gruff as you move up the rev band, and though it’s miles better than most of its rivals, amazingly, it’s not better than the XUV’s 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine. The XUV does serve up a few more vibrations (and decibels) at idle, but it smoothens out the moment you get moving.

On the move, Hyundai’s 1.4-litre CRDi engine – which can feel a bit out of its depth in the Creta – feels right at home in the smaller Venue. There isn’t too much turbo lag, but the engine really wakes up after 2,000rpm, and as with most small diesel engines, you learn to work your way around the lack of low-end response. Though it revs to 5,000, the power tails off after 3,500rpm, so you’re left with a small powerband and a bit of shifting to do. Luckily, the clutch is light and the shifts are short and snappy, so it’s not a chore.

High-speed stability is good and the suspension handles bad roads with ease.

The XUV’s clutch is light too, but the pedal travel is quite long, so judging the bite point takes a little getting used to. Parallelly, the gear shift is also light but the throws are a bit too long, robbing it of a bit of driving ease and enjoyment. There’s no shortage of enjoyment in the performance, which is borderline explosive. Thank the class-leading 117hp and 300Nm torque for this, but the XUV300 just flies. Turbo lag is less pronounced, with power coming in as early as 1,500rpm but it suffers from a rather short powerband as well, and here too, you’ll find yourself shifting a lot.

In our tests, the XUV300 did the 0-100kph run in 11.85sec which is almost 1sec faster than the Venue. Even in in-gear acceleration, the XUV300 gets the best of Venue, being 2sec quicker from 20-80kph in third, and 3.8sec quicker from 40-100kph in fourth.

Engine and Performance
Hyundai Venue SX (O)Mahindra XUV300 W8 (O)
Engine 4-cyl, 1396cc, turbo-diesel4-cyl, 1497cc, turbo-diesel
Power 90hp at 4,000rpm117hp at 3,750rpm
Torque 220Nm at 1,500-2,750rpm300Nm at 1,500-2,500rpm
Gearbox 6-speed manual6-speed manual
Performance Acceleration (from rest)Acceleration (from rest)
20kph1.29s1.09s
40kph2.88s2.79s
60kph5.17s4.91s
80kph8.38s7.66s
100kph12.72s11.85s
120kph19.48s17.42s
Acceleration in gear
20-80kph (in 3rd gear)11.82s9.74s
40-100kph (in 4th gear)14.44s10.67s

Keeping it together

The Venue’s suspension has an underlying stiffness to it. It handles small potholes and road undulations quietly at low speeds. The ride is flat enough for the most part but the moment you go faster, you notice some vertical movement. Also, the steering is a bit too light and disconnected, which may be great for low-speed manoeuvrability but it doesn’t inspire a huge amount of confidence. And what doesn’t help too much either, especially when you are at speed, is that the Venue has a small footprint.

Firm suspension means bumps can be felt in the cabin as you pick up speed.

The XUV’s steering isn’t a lot better, but it does at least feel a touch quicker, and you can dial in some artificial weight using the unique ‘steering mode’ settings. Despite riding on 17-inch wheels (the Venue gets 16-inchers), the XUV300 has the superior ride quality thanks to an overall softer suspension. At low speeds, only sharp potholes register in the cabin, but the ride remains stable over rough patches of road, allowing you to carry more speed as well. Even on highways, the wider track of the car gives it a planted feel and there’s not much of bobbing at high speeds.

Civil war 

The Hyundai Venue is a superb all-rounder; it has the right amount of performance, an easy driving manner, a strong equipment list, good looks and an upmarket cabin. The slightly choppy ride is a minor inconvenience, while the unimpressive rear-seat space is a more significant one.

The XUV300, meanwhile, dials everything up a little further. Performance is superior, the equipment list has more feel-good features, and the back seat is vastly more spacious. Can you overlook its tiny boot? Some might. The issue, however, is that this top-spec W8 (O) asks for a full Rs 1.3 lakh over the top-spec Venue SX (O), and that’s simply too much. Even the next variant down is Rs 11,000 dearer than this Venue SX (O), and it loses a lot of equipment.

So while the XUV delivers a lot, the Venue feels like all the compact SUV you need, and in true Hyundai fashion, it’s the better value proposition, making it our winner.

Price and Verdict
Hyundai Venue SX (O)Mahindra XUV300 W8 (O)
Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs 10.84 lakhRs 12.14 lakh
Rating 8/108/10
VerdictA great all-rounder that’s good value for money.High on performance and equipment, but expensive.

Also see:

Click here for Hyundai Venue, prices, reviews, images, videos and more

Click here for Mahindra XUV300, prices, reviews, images, videos and more

Hyundai Venue

Rs 7.34 lakh * on road price (New Delhi)

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