Hyundai Venue vs Ford EcoSport S vs Mahindra XUV300: Diesel Comparison Review

Published On  By for Hyundai Venue at CarDekho.com

This sub-four metre trio pack in enough to question spending extra for bigger SUVs. Which one’s redefining expectations from the sub-compact SUV brigade?

If you wanted a practical little SUV that scores high on value, chances are you’d happily cut a cheque for Tata’s Nexon or even Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza. But, it’s hard to discount that this duo doesn’t do much to make you feel pampered. And, in case you were hunting for that feel-good factor in your next purchase, and didn’t mind loosening the purse strings a bit, you now have three solid options. There’s the Mahindra XUV300 that’s setting benchmarks in terms of features, and an updated Ford EcoSport too, that continues to impress. With the Hyundai Venue thrown into the mix, finding the right car, right now might become a little taxing. Let’s lay this dilemma to rest for good, shall we? 

Feel Special?

All three cars make an honest effort to wow you with a long list of features. And it’s not the usual automatic air-conditioning and follow-me-home headlamps. Each car has been instrumental in its own way in raising the bar for the segment as a whole. A bevy of features such as an electric sunroof, automatic climate control, cruise control, passive keyless entry, push-button start find their place in every car here. 

You get large touchscreen infotainment systems too. Where the EcoSport and the Venue get 8-inch screens, the XUV300 gets a smaller 7-inch unit. The Mahindra’s screen isn’t range-topping in terms of UI or feedback either, with the other two offering a significantly better experience. We’re torn choosing between the EcoSport’s crisp graphics and fluid interface, and the Venue’s easy to understand and quicker systems. But, we’d give this round to the Hyundai since it’s packing in some connected car tech, and also gets a better audio system. 

Speaking of connected car tech, that’s the ace up the Venue’s sleeve. Called BlueLink, most features like flashing the lights, honking and locking doors through an app might feel like gimmicks in the long run. But, features such as live car tracking and SOS will give you some added peace of mind. Save for the eSIM-based tech, the Venue offers wireless charging too - a feature the other two miss out on. 

But, it really is the XUV300 that’s pampering you silly. There are features like dual-zone climate control and heated wing mirrors, which sounds great on the brochure. In the real world however, it’s very rare that you’d use them regularly. Same goes for the steering modes that let you alter the weight of the wheel. The features you’d be glad about though, are the front parking sensors, the tyre direction monitor and the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). 

In the features department, there’s nothing that’s unique to the EcoSport save for HID headlamps. It’s got all the bases covered and also gets a TPMS as well as a speed limiter function in addition to the cruise control and configurable ambient lighting to boot. But, where the EcoSport truly stands out is in the way it arrests attention. 

Looking The Part 

Ford’s funky little EcoSport has perfected the mini-SUV design formula. With its high-set nose, and that spare wheel on the boot, it’s the one that poses the best. In comparison, the XUV300 and the Venue might come across as hopped-up hatchbacks, with extra shot of muscle. 

Both the Mahindra and the Hyundai get flared fenders, dual-tone wheels and contrast-coloured roof to pull off the SUV look. We’d say the Venue is more traditional SUV-like, with its boxy shape. It’s blending in a few modern bits too, with the slender turn indicators up top, and a square projector headlamp set up on the bumper. In comparison, Mahindra has done well to hide the XUV300’s SsangYong origin. It does manage to look like the XUV500’s baby cousin, with the rectangular headlamps and the XL-sized daytime running lamp set up. 

 

Hyundai Venue

Mahindra XUV300

Ford EcoSport

Length

3995mm

3995mm

3998mm

Width

1770mm

1821mm

1765mm

Height

1590mm

1627mm

1647mm

Wheelbase

2500mm

2600mm

2519mm

All of these likeable designs come wrapped in city-friendly proportions. Tucked just under 4 metres in length, and with a tight turning radius, all seem ready to tackle urban duties. The XUV300 stands out, courtesy its sheer width (that manages to outdo an already wide Renault Captur!) and a massive wheelbase that’s on par with large C-segment sedans. Does that mean it has acres of space to offer on the inside? 

Family Time

We’ll get to the specifics of space in a bit. First, let's talk in-cabin experience. Here too, with its tall seating position, and sharply raked windscreen, it’s the EcoSport that feels more like a scaled-down SUV than a hatchback on stilts. With it’s redesigned dashboard, and the sporty copper-coloured accents in the S variant, the EcoSport’s cabin feels like a fun place to be in. 

The Hyundai may not scream fun, but the straight forward design is bound to age well. With dull silver accents and subtle chrome highlights, it looks (and feels) properly premium too. But, since you walk into the cabin, it feels more like your everyday hatchback to be inside. 

And that’s something we’d say about the XUV300 too. The seating position is very car-like and easy to get used to. We like the dual-tone interior theme too, but it’s worth remembering that the light beige is very, very easy to get dirty. Also, the design does seem like it’s a generation old.

Interior Measurements (Rear)

Hyundai Venue

Mahindra XUV300

Ford EcoSport

Shoulder Room

1290mm

1330mm

1225mm

Headroom

970mm

925mm

930mm

Kneeroom

575-785mm

600-830mm

590-800mm

Seat Base Width

1235mm

1320mm

1230mm

Seat Base Length

450mm

445mm

480mm

Seat Back Height

655mm

650mm

610mm

In theory, it’s the XUV300 that should have the best rear seat experience. It’s got the most amount of space for you to stretch your legs, and the widest cabin means three people would feel less of each other in the backseat. Mahindra has used a light beige shade quite liberally throughout the cabin. And that adds to the sense of space greatly. However, the rear seat is placed quite low. Add that the floor is positioned high, and you sit in a knees-up position in the XUV300. This can get tiring pretty quickly since the underthigh support is very little. 

Yes, the EcoSport and the Venue’s cabins feel cramped. Not just when compared to the XUV300, but in isolation too. Both are best used as four-seaters, but if you’d have to squeeze three in, it’s the Hyundai that does a better job. Seats on both are markedly comfier than the ones on the Mahindra.

The Hyundai edges in front of the Ford here since the seat back angle is relaxed, and there are a few crucial millimetres of extra knee room too. What tilts the overall equation in the Venue’s favour is the flat window line and extra large windows. Visibility all-round is brilliant, and you wouldn’t feel hemmed in despite the Venue’s all-black cabin theme. We can’t say the same about the EcoSport.

Where the Venue and the EcoSport are all too similar, is the boot space department. At 350 litres, the cargo carrying capacity is identical. But, the Ford’s boot is square and has no intrusions from the suspension mounts either. What can get annoying, especially in tight parking spots, is its side-opening hatch. 

On the other hand, the Venue’s boot door opens conventionally, making it more convenient. The boot’s placed higher off the floor compared to the Ford, and there’s a small loading lip too. In this test, the XUV300 is a distant third with a (what can only be called dismal) 259-litre boot.

As far as in-cabin storage spaces go, all three feature a shelf above the glovebox and a couple of cubby holes in the floor console. There are bottle holders in the doors too, which easily gobble up one-litre water bottles. Our only (minor) complaint would be with the EcoSport — the cubbies around the gear lever are oddly shaped, and the storage in the central armrest is too crevice-like to hold anything of significance.

Fun, and Frugal? 

Well, that’s precisely why you should be picking the diesel engines over their petrol counterparts. At least in the case of these pint-sized SUVs here. While their specs differ quite a bit on paper, there’s barely anything separating them in an outright sprint.

Specifications

Hyundai Venue

Mahindra XUV300

EcoSport

Engine

1.4-litre

1.5-litre

1.5-litre

Power

90PS

115PS

100PS

Torque

220Nm

300Nm

205Nm

Transmission

6-MT

6-MT

5-MT

However, when it comes to accelerating within gear, the XUV300 pummels the other two. As the turbo kicks in at ~ 1800rpm, it brings with it a surge of acceleration that’s sure to plaster a grin on your face. If you’ll be driving between cities or states often, this is definitely going to brighten up that commute. Inside the city too, the XUV300 remains likeably easy to drive. Much like the petrol, the clutch on the diesel is feather-light, and the gears require zero effort. Where you’d have to put in a bit of work, is staying in the right gear at lower speeds. For example, it doesn’t like being lugged around in second, and quickly protests. 

 

Hyundai Venue

Mahindra XUV300

Ford EcoSport

0-100kmph

12.49 sec

12.21 sec

12.36 sec

30-80kmph (3rd gear)

8.26 sec

6.97 sec

9.38 sec

40-100kmph (4th gear)

14.04 sec

11.07 sec

15.17 sec

Here, the Venue does better. But, only slightly. This little Hyundai feels slightly jerky at low speeds, when the turbo isn’t in play, under 1500rpm. Get past that, and it’s all smooth sailing. The engine is unbelievably refined, and you’d confuse it for a petrol. It also builds speed steadily. There’s no kick-in-the-pants feeling like the XUV here, but it’s almost deceptively quick. You will hear the warnings at 80kmph and 120kmph, much earlier than you were expecting. Best bit? It feels like it could do these speeds all day long!

Ford’s EcoSport has been the benchmark in terms of how much fun you could have in a small SUV. But, seven years on, we’ve got to say it’s no longer at the top. First, we do wish the engine was quieter. For lack of a better word, it sounds industrial and crude. And compared to the other two, the hard clutch and the notchy gear shifts require more effort inside the city and feel cumbersome on the highway. The engine also requires you to be in the right gear, at the right speed. If you don’t, the turbo lag will bog you down quite a bit. Once you get it past 2000rpm however, the engine reminds you why it’s been loved over the years. It still has the legs for fast highway runs.

Say you keep your right foot in check, it’s the Venue that keeps your wallet happy in return. Surprisingly, it didn’t really matter to the Hyundai if you were driving inside the city or on the highway. Overall fuel efficiency hovered around the 19kmpl mark, which translates to a tank range of around 850km. 

With the Mahindra and the Ford, you trade economy for power — at least inside the city. While the EcoSport returned nearly 14kmpl in the urban jungle, the XUV300 did marginally better at 15.40kmpl. 

On the highway, the XUV almost matched the Venue in terms of efficiency. We have to say that the baby Ford desperately needs a sixth gear. That’d not only help efficiency, but also make the experience a tad more relaxed. 

 

Hyundai Venue

Mahindra XUV300

Ford EcoSport

Mileage (ARAI)

23.7kmpl

21.5kmpl

23kmpl

City

18.95kmpl

15.40kmpl

13.84kmpl

Highway

19.91kmpl

19.68kmpl

NA

Calm and Composed

If you want a vehicle that’s generally relaxed in the way it tackles our pothole-ridden roads, you’d enjoy being inside the Mahindra. The suspension manages to take the sting out of nasty bumps, and doesn’t make a sound while doing so. Even if you decide to tackle bad surfaces at speed, the cabin remains insulated from the shocks and judders. The only downside to this recipe is that it tends to take a quick second or two before the cabin settles down.

And that, the Venue doesn’t. Yes, the initial hit from the pothole will be felt a tad more prominently. But, once you’re past it, the suspension immediately settles down. Also, it’s refreshing to see that new-age Hyundais don’t feel like they’ll take off on the highway. Even if you’re well into triple digits, the cabin remains steady. On that note, we have to point out that the Venue squirms a bit under heavy braking. It never gets overwhelming and is just a matter of getting used to.

In the ride department, the EcoSport comes in last. Our test car wore 17-inch wheels (that have now been replaced by a set of 16s), so the ride was extra hard. You’d feel the surface a lot more in the EcoSport and even the jitters and the thuds are felt prominently. The obvious upside to this is a rock-steady ride at high speeds.

But, the EcoSport was known more for having its way with corners. And even at the fag end of its life cycle, it remains engaging. The steering is easily the most communicative, and precise. It could’ve done with a little less weight, though. Both the XUV and Venue deliver on this front. In fact, you get to alter the weight of the steering in the Mahindra. And, while neither of them feel as connected as the Ford, both are predictable and quick too. 

Pick One! 

Let’s kick things off with the Ford. The EcoSport continues to be a tempting package, especially considering the recent price cut. It’s got the looks, feels like a pucca mini-SUV and is quite a hoot to drive enthusiastically. If that’s what you want from your next car, the EcoSport is a proven choice. But, it’s also showing its age; especially in the drivetrain department. The noisy engine, the heavy clutch, the notchy gear shifts and the stiff ride are all things you can live without. A slightly wider cabin would’ve made its case stronger as a family car too. 

Then there’s Mahindra’s XUV300 that gets some serious performance, likeable comfort and a bagful of features in a neat package. Had it not been for the poor rear seat experience and the abysmal boot, the baby Mahindra might’ve possibly won this test. The bigger stumbling block, however, is its asking price. The top-spec dual-tone variant will cost you Rs 1.15 lakh over the Venue SX (O), and Rs 80,000 over the EcoSport S - which isn’t a small sum by any measure. 

By virtue of striking a balance, then, it’s the Hyundai that wins this comparison test. If we had to recommend one out of three without caveats, it’d be the Venue. It’s got the right blend of features, quality, everyday usability and highway performance. Sure, some of you might want some more room in the rear seat, and some might want an extra helping of smaller (but significant) features. But, other than those minor oversights, the Venue is a compact SUV that we’d recommend with our eyes closed.

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Hyundai Venue

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
E Diesel (Diesel)Rs 7.75 Lakh*
S Diesel (Diesel)Rs 8.45 Lakh*
SX Diesel (Diesel)Rs 9.78 Lakh*
SX Dual Tone Diesel (Diesel)Rs 9.93 Lakh*
SX Opt Diesel (Diesel)Rs 10.84 Lakh*
E (Petrol)Rs 6.5 Lakh*
S (Petrol)Rs 7.2 Lakh*
S Turbo (Petrol)Rs 8.21 Lakh*
S Turbo DCT (Petrol)Rs 9.35 Lakh*
SX Turbo (Petrol)Rs 9.54 Lakh*
SX Dual Tone Turbo (Petrol)Rs 9.69 Lakh*
SX Opt Turbo (Petrol)Rs 10.6 Lakh*
SX Plus Turbo DCT (Petrol)Rs 11.1 Lakh*

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