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Hyundai Venue Petrol DCT vs Renault Duster Petrol CVT: Comparison Review

Published On Nov 14, 2019 By Tushar for Renault Duster

Which petrol automatic SUV truly gives you more car for your money?

Higher variant from a lower segment vs lower variant from a higher segment. It’s a question that can be quite confusing and one that causes a battle between emotion and logic. 

Case in point, the Hyundai Venue petrol DCT and the Renault Duster petrol CVT. The Duster is the larger car here and yet, because of the variant it’s available in, it’s over Rs 1 lakh cheaper than the top-spec Venue petrol automatic. So does bigger equal better or is it smarter to go smaller?

Cars Tested

Hyundai Venue 

  • Variant: SX+ DCT 
  • Price: Rs 11.10 lakh ex-showroom Delhi

Renault Duster 

  • Variant: RxS (O) CVT 
  • Price: Rs 9.99 lakh ex-showroom Delhi

Looks

  • The Venue pulls off the SUV look convincingly but looks like a hatchback next to the Duster. That comes as no surprise given how the Duster is 365mm longer, 52mm wider, 105mm taller -- and even its wheelbase is a full 173mm larger. At 205mm (unladen), the Duster also has 10mm of additional ground clearance over the Venue.

Dimensions

Venue

Duster

Length

3995mm

4360mm

Width

1770mm

1822mm

Height

1590mm

1695mm

Wheelbase

2500mm

2673mm

  • Tell someone the Duster costs around Rs 12 lakh on road and, looking at it from the outside, they’ll say it’s worth it. Quote the same price for the Venue and you have to explain why a car with such a small footprint costs this much.
  • This is especially true because the top-spec Venue SX+ DCT and Duster RxS (O) CVT share a lot of exterior features, like projector headlamps, LED DRLs, LED tail lamps, wing mirror-integrated indicators and 16-inch alloy wheels. 
  • However, while the Venue must cower before the Duster’s size, it overpowers the Duster when it comes to features. On the outside, it adds front fog lamps, cornering lamps and yes, a sunroof.

Interior & Features

  • And the Venue’s bang for buck beatdown only gets stronger on the inside. There are some features unique to the Venue, like its connected car technology (BlueLink), a wireless phone charger, air purifier, push button start and rear AC vents.
  • Then there are features that are a surplus in the Venue, simply because the Duster doesn’t get them in the RxS (O), the only variant the Duster petrol CVT is available in. These feature misses in the Duster include auto AC, front fog lamps, leatherette upholstery, cruise control, power folding wing mirrors, tweeters, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a driver side one-touch up/down power window and a rear camera.

  • And then there are the infotainment systems. Not only is the Venue’s 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system larger than the Duster’s 7’’ unit, it also has a significantly better resolution, is far quicker/more responsive to operate and just looks more premium. Thankfully, both cars here offer Android Auto & Apple CarPlay connectivity. 
  • The Duster’s MediaNAV Evolution system, ironically, hasn’t evolved much and doesn’t look like much more than a cut+paste job from the Renault Kwid. A turn-off it shares with the Renault Captur. This would still be acceptable had it not looked like an aftermarket add-on and offered better usability. Not only is the screen average to operate, the low placement in the centre console also makes it difficult to use while driving. 

  • Following the 2019 facelift, the Duster certainly looks better than before and that holds true in the cabin too, where it takes some inspiration from the Nissan Terrano. However, hard and scratchy plastics are still largely what adorn the Renault’s cabin and it feels anything but premium. Contrarily, the Venue’s plastics are smoother to the touch, and the cabin is more ergonomically laid out as well.
  • Shocking as it may sound, the Venue also offers the more comfortable front seats, especially if you’re 6ft tall or over. In the Duster, the default seat height is quite high and the lack of seat height adjustment compounds the issue. Additionally, taller drivers will find their knee fouling with the centre console while the seat itself offers weak lumbar support. The Duster’s footwell is also a lot narrower than the Venue’s and misses out on a dead pedal.
  • Where the Duster takes a few points is on delivering the SUV quotient. For example, the driving position feels more commanding with the big bonnet and flared arches in front of you. 
  • The added cabin width also makes the Duster better at seating three in the rear row. It also gets a rear armrest, which the Venue misses out on.

  • At 475 litres (vs the Venue’s 350 litres), the Duster also offers a lot more boot space, making it more accommodating for long hauls. If only Renault had the sense to also offer some storage space in the rear doors.

Engine & Performance

  • Not only do these cars belong to different segments, their petrol automatic formulas are as different as they get. The Duster is powered by a 1.5 litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder engine good for 106PS & 142Nm and comes paired with a CVT (6-step). The Venue gets a 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 120PS of power & 172Nm of torque that comes paired with a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.

Specs

Venue DCT

Duster CVT

Engine

1.0 litre, 3 cylinder

1.5 litre, 4 cylinder

Power

120PS @ 6000rpm

106PS @ 5600rpm

Torque

172Nm @ 1500-4000rpm

142Nm @ 4000rpm

Transmission

7-speed DCT

CVT

  • Evidently, when it comes to tech bragging rights, the Venue has an upper hand. However, the Duster CVT is certainly no pain to drive. The 1.5 litre engine offers excellent refinement and delivers power very progressively i.e. there are no sudden spikes in performance as you build the revs up. This makes driving the Duster petrol CVT a relaxing affair and the transmission backs up the easygoing nature of the engine perfectly.
  • The number one challenge with CVTs is figuring out how much throttle you need to dial in. And fortunately, the Duster’s CVT always makes the engine build up the revs in steps. This is where a lot of CVTs become tricky to use as they often tend to rev the engine up more than required, with the speedometer then playing catch up as the transmission and engine start synchronizing. Essentially, this is what people mean when they’re describing a CVTs “rubber band effect”. But in the Duster, since the transmission prevents over revving, you can modulate the throttle a lot better.
  • This pays dividends when it comes to fuel efficiency. In fact, in our city efficiency test, the Duster i.e. the heavier car with the bigger engine, was more efficient (11.68kmpl) than the Venue (10.25kmpl).
 

Venue DCT

Duster CVT

City Fuel Efficiency

10.25kmpl

11.68kmpl

Highway Fuel Efficiency

16.72kmpl

14.54kmpl

  • However, at highway speeds (80-100kmpl), the CVT drops and gains revs more frequently (because it’s more reactive to changes in throttle), making the Duster less fuel efficient than the Venue DCT (14.54kmpl vs the Venue’s 16.72kmpl).
  • The Duster’s progressive power delivery makes it a breeze to use in bad traffic, but it also misses the extra bit of punch/responsiveness you’d want when there’s an open patch in traffic. In our 20-80kmph (kickdown) test it was nearly 3.5 seconds slower than the Venue petrol AT. In fact, the Duster CVTs tested 0-100kmph time of 17.15 seconds isn’t just 6 seconds slower than the Venue’s; it’s only 0.15 seconds quicker than the Kwid AMT (as tested)!
 

Venue DCT

Duster CVT

0-100kmph

11.24 seconds

17.15s

20-80kmph (kickdown)

6.72 seconds

10.06s

  • And that’s where the Venue proves to be a better drive. The powertrain is as easy to use as the Duster’s but has more punch to offer when you want it. And then you find that the steering and pedals are far lighter to use in the city. The smaller size also makes it easier to manoeuvre through traffic and even park in cramped spaces.
  • The added punch also makes the Venue more exciting on the highway and more hassle free for executing highway-speed overtakes.
  • As a transmission, the DCT is very eager to upshift. For example, if you’re merging with highway traffic after a halt at a rest stop, you will find yourself in 7th gear in a matter of seconds, even with part throttle. 
  • However, it’s not as sporty/aggressive/responsive as VW’s DSG transmission. At times, there is a noticeable delay before downshifts. It’s certainly more responsive and engaging to use than the Duster’s CVT, though.

Ride & Handling

  • The one aspect where the Duster has always excelled is ride quality and on that front, the Venue is still no threat. High speeds or low, good roads or none, the Duster’s ride comfort is simply legendary. Where sharper bumps or uneven roads will make their presence felt in the Venue, the Duster glides through everything and is always ready for more punishment.
  • Neither the Venue nor the Duster are enthusiast pleasers but the Venue’s steering is more consistent than the Duster’s. While the Duster’s steering is well weighted and can offer some good weekend fun, even mild cornering results in the infamous steering kickback that every car on this platform -- including the Captur, Lodgy and Nissan Kicks -- experiences. 

Safety

  • Both cars get dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors as standard. In the automatic guise they also get hill-start assist and ESP.

  • However, the Venue gets more kit for the money, offering a rear camera, rear seat ISOFIX, front projector fog lamps, cornering lamps and auto headlamps.

Verdict

The Duster petrol CVT is a very good city drive. Of the two, it also offers better ride comfort, a bigger boot, and what may seal the deal for many: the larger size. At Rs 10 lakh ex-showroom, the Duster RxS (O) petrol CVT is Rs 1.10 lakh cheaper than the Hyundai Venue SX+ petrol DCT, which makes the larger car seem like the better bargain.

However, the Venue justifies the price premium by offering several features the Duster misses out on. Top that off with the superior interior quality, punchier yet equally smooth driving experience, and you find that the Venue delivers phenomenal value for the added cost. Unless the bragging rights of owning a larger car matter a lot to you, we’d recommend opting for the Venue. For the same price as a Duster CVT, you could also get the Venue S DCT (Rs 9.35 lakh ex-showroom Delhi) and add features like alloy wheels and a touchscreen infotainment system from the aftermarket.

However, if you want a bigger car for your money, the Duster CVT is a good bargain. We would also recommend choosing the Duster over the Venue if you have a lot of bad/rough road usage.

Renault Duster

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
RXE 85PS (Diesel)Rs. 9.29 Lakh*
RXS 110PS (Diesel)Rs. 11.19 Lakh*
RXS 85PS (Diesel)Rs. 9.99 Lakh*
RXS Option 110PS AWD (Diesel)Rs. 12.49 Lakh*
RXZ 110PS (Diesel)Rs. 12.09 Lakh*
RXZ 110PS AMT (Diesel)Rs. 12.49 Lakh*
RXE (Petrol)Rs. 7.99 Lakh*
RXS (Petrol)Rs. 9.19 Lakh*
RXS Option CVT (Petrol)Rs. 9.99 Lakh*

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*Estimated Price New Delhi
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