The Maruti Suzuki Brezza is a pretty popular SUV on Indian roads, for it has managed to have the right impact on Indian car buyers. For 2020, Maruti Suzuki have given the Brezza some all-important updates that include a mildly updated exterior, a revised features list and a BS6-compliant petrol engine that is also found in the Ciaz and Ertiga. The compact SUV segment is full of models – ranging from the Renault Duster, Tata Nexon and EcoSport. However, after Hyundai having jumped on to the bandwagon, things are getting tougher. By launching the Venue SUV, is Hyundai going to churn out large volumes, and more importantly, will it topple the Maruti Vitara Brezza? We pit both against each other to see which one emerges the winner.
The Venue, although boxy, manages to look quite attractive with its high stance. It may not be the best looking in this segment, but upon looking closer, it does feature some interesting details. It gets the signature cascading grille in a dark chrome finish, with the headlamps mounted low in the bumper and the DRLs placed above. It also gets roof rails and projector fog lamps, and the 16-inch alloy wheels look smart. At the rear, the LED tail lamps look quite distinctive despite being square in shape. The Venue definitely appears small and lives up to the compact SUV nameplate.
Looking at the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza too, gives one the impression it is rather boxy. But after the update, it gets a fresher face with the chrome on its grille, flanked by projector headlights and LED DRLs. Also new in the front bumper is the pair of fog light housings and a silver accent on the bash plate. The side profile, with its soft lines and mildly flared wheel arches remain, but the precision-cut alloy wheels are new. At the rear, the bumper has been slightly revised while the redesigned tail lights gets new LED inserts. It also gets a black roof.
The cabin of the Brezza remains as simplistic as ever; no drastic changes at all, except for the seat fabric. You sit quite high up on the driver’s seat, allowing for great visibility. However, there are some switches and buttons that seem very familiar. It gets a huge 7.0-inch touchscreen ‘Smartplay studio’ system. The quality of plastics is decent but is no match for the Venue. There are lots of stowage spaces in the cabin, and you get twin glove-boxes. There are also cup-holders in the rear centre armrest. The front seats offer great support and are nice and huge. The backrest of the rear bench is fairly upright. The boot is big enough to swallow in a number of soft bags.
Inside the Venue, everything is beautifully built and designed with a good blend of plastics and soft-touch materials. The dashboard is rather slender and flat, and we love the sleek-looking tablet-like touchscreen display. The steering looks smart and feels good to hold. The switchgear and plastics have a feel-good factor to it all. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, thanks to the slim A-pillars. The front seats are nice and supportive and the rear seat is well shaped and placed at a good height. Headroom and legroom is more than adequate, but three occupants abreast will be a squeeze. There is no shortage of storage areas either.
The Venue gets a host of features like a cooled glove box, sunroof, wireless charging, 8.0-inch infotainment system with smartphone mirroring tech, cruise control, AI-enabled tech that’s linked to GPS for location-based services, Hyundai‘s Blue Link Connectivity app, ABS with EBD, 6 airbags, stability control and cornering lamps, ESC, security alarm, chrome door handles, supervision cluster, wireless charging, 8.0-inch audio-video navigation, OE telematics, day/night auto internal mirror, smart key with push-button start and an air purifier.
Maruti’s Brezza, on the other hand, features reverse parking camera, 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels , dual-tone colour theme, LED fog lights, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, auto folding ORVMs, front centre armrest, height adjustable front seatbelts, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 4 speakers + 2 tweeters, rear washer and wiper, 16-inch alloy wheels, piano black dashboard inserts, chrome finish on interior door handles, height adjustable driver’s seat, 60:40 split rear seats, rear centre armrest with cupholder, cruise control, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and support and voice commands.
Performance & Handling
We’re driving the 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine that makes 120bhp and 172Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. The Venue starts off in a brisk manner, and the engine delivers good performance without feeling like it is running out of breath even on steep inclines. The motor pulls effortlessly, and close to 3000rpm, there is a spike in power delivery, which makes progress faster. Push this engine to the red line, and it still feels refined but power tapers off after 5000rpm. The 6-speed manual ‘box is precise and a doddle to use, and thanks to the light clutch, driving it traffic is a breeze. The Venue rides and handles more like a car and it feels very nimble. The steering is light but somehow, the chassis is really good. The ride over bad road patches is a bit bouncy though. But there’s nothing from the outside that filters into the cabin.
The Brezza uses a 1.5-litre K-series petrol engine that churns out 103bhp and 138Nm of torque, paired either to a 4-speed auto ‘box or a 5-speed manual. We’re driving the one with the manual gearbox. The engine is quiet at idle, and response from the engine is decent. The engine is pretty flexible and becomes responsive after 2000rpm. The response in the mid-range is welcoming and allows for quick overtaking. Even as the revs rise, the engine doesn’t sound coarse and the clutch is light. Over bad roads, the Brezza isn’t particularly plush, and as you pick up pace, the ride gets flatter. The steering is light and responsive, and around corners, it stays quite composed. The brakes perform with good bite.
While the Brezza may not look all that striking, it’s really hard to find fault with it otherwise. It’s a tried and tested product and comes across as a well-rounded package, but the Venue’s refined engine, sorted dynamics and large equipment list make it the complete family compact SUV, and hence, wins this test.