Top-of-the-line Hyundai Venue or the base trim Hyundai Creta?
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what car they should buy, I could get myself a 3-Series. Being an automobile journalist with quite a few hands-on experiences with many cars, the inquiry is inevitable. To be honest, the answer is never monotone, or as clear as black and white. Choosing a car for oneself is as difficult as finding a well-fitted suit. Unless you find yourself in a money-no-object scenario, selecting a car from the numerous options available in the Indian market, then regulating it in your budget, can be a very daunting task. It requires quite a lot of time, effort, and scientific precision to find the right balance.
Another hurdle in the entire procedure is the blurry line that divides each segment and their overlapping pricing. The top-end trim of a compact SUV is priced in more or less the same as the base variant of a mid-size SUV. For example, the top-of-the-line variant (petrol-manual) of the Hyundai Venue (Rs. 10.60 lakhs, ex-showroom) is priced just a little above the base variant (petrol manual) of the Hyundai Creta (Rs. 10 lakhs, ex-showroom). It’s a first-hand scenario as my family was in the same conundrum a couple of months back. We went to and fro for months trying to decide what we want; a bigger, more spacious and reliable car (as the Creta had been in the market for a while and was well applauded) or a better equipped and feature-loaded car with a sunroof for the exact same price! We went to the extent of sitting down together with 2 brochures each, ticking what features we think are more important and useful for us as a family. Even the parking space on offer was taken into consideration.
Hands-down, the budget is the most critical component before making any purchase. It’s the disposable amount that decides if your family is getting a wannabe SUV or an almost SUV. I chipped in my share and we decided that we are going to get a pseudo SUV (hello Aariz!) and we aren’t going to complain about it. While the majority of the panel was stuck at Creta because the Venue was still a new product in the market, I had placed all my bets on the latter.
A base variant of any higher segment car as compared to the top variant of its previous segment will offer you bare minimum’s in terms of features. If we talk about the Creta, the fact that it had no infotainment system, was a no-go for me. Yes, an aftermarket fitment can make things right, but then it affects the budget. On the other hand, a similarly priced variant of the Venue was offering LED DRLs, an 8-inch infotainment system with a reverse parking camera, alloy wheels, a sunroof, etc and the list goes on.
If the safety on offer is not one of your primary concerns while buying a car, well it should be. What really works in favour of buying a higher variant is safety. These trim levels, since they ask for more price, offer more safety equipment too. For instance, in our budget, the Hyundai Venue offered 4 airbags while the Creta offered just 2. The former has ESP (Electronic Stability Control) and hill assist as part of its package as well. It was space vs safety. Yes the rear seat of the Venue is a little cramped up, but the fact that it will deploy a side curtain if required, helps me sleep at night.
I agree that being an automobile journalist, drivability for me should’ve come after the budget, but I was selling this car to my family and I was quite confident that my pick, the 1-litre turbo petrol, mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, would blow everyone away. Yes, the Creta has a bigger engine and more power, but it has less torque. Another very important thing it had less, was the mileage. We can easily guess how that would go for an Indian household.
Typical Indian behaviour. Our new car was barely through the door when there were discussions about it leaving and finding a new owner. (SIGH). Thankfully, both cars belonged to the same company and I asserted that a properly equipped car would fetch more buyers after ‘n’ number of years. Prospective car buyers don’t mind shelling out a few thousand extra for certain features, especially if it’s offered at a bargain. Also, the Venue would always remain a newer product to sell than the Creta.
Verdict & Rivals
Yes, we got the top of the line, turbo-petrol Hyundai Venue home and I video-called our newest family member from Mumbai. It’s been 5 months and I haven’t received any complaint from anyone in the house except “When will the pollution subside, your brother wants to hang out of the sunroof”. The mileage clocked at an unbelievable 14 kmpl, is icing on the cake.
As for the rivals, my father didn’t like the way the Tata Nexon looked. ‘The rear is like a swollen lip’, he said. The Vitara Brezza would come in the house over my dead… let’s not get very emotional here. The Ford EcoSport had a poor mileage for the petrol variant and the Mahindra XUV300’s clutch and steering combination made it quite scary to drive!