Hyundai Verna Review & First Drive

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Hyundai Verna Overview

To say the new Hyundai Verna received a warm welcome in India would be an understatement. In its first full month of sales, Hyundai’s latest mid-size sedan managed to outsell chief rivals, the Maruti Ciaz and the Honda City, with over 6,000 cars going home to ‘early adopters’. Competitive pricing (Rs 7.99-12.62 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi) has helped the Verna’s case but Hyundai has also made sure that it has a Verna for every sort of mid-size sedan buyer. While the cheaper 1.4-litre versions haven’t made it to the new car, on offer are 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engine options, each with the choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. We’ve tested all four versions of the car to see if it delivers the goods to sustain this initial hype. Check for Hyundai Verna price in New Delhi at Tryaldrive.

Hyundai Verna Exterior & Look

The outgoing Verna was a tad too long in the tooth, but the fluidic design language did make an impact and even the competition was forced to respond with radical designs. I personally believe that the design didn’t age too well, and perhaps the designers at Hyundai resonate with my thoughts. The new Verna incorporates cleaner lines, has less creases and uses more angular cuts for a chiselled look. The face looks handsome and sharp. I prefer the older design of Hyundai’s hexagonal grille, and the new one draws attention away from the good-looking features like the sleek headlamps or the detailed fog lamp housings. There is no denying that the cascading grille with its chrome treatment looks more premium though.

The headlamps have LED DRLs shaped similar to those on the Elantra. Ditto for the detailing of the tail lights and the rear bumper. Look at the side profile though and you will notice that the Verna has a tallboy stance compared to the sporty low-slung poise of the Elantra. The sharp shoulder line and detailing of the doors looks classy, while the headlights and tail lights extending sharply into the bodywork add a sense of motion to the design. The outgoing Verna started the buzz about the diamond-cut finish for the alloy wheels and the new ones get it too, albeit with a new design.

Hyundai Verna Interior & Comfort

The bigger wheelbase should’ve translated into more room for the rear-seat occupants, right? Sadly that’s not the case. My near six-foot frame just about managed to be comfortable in the rear bench, with the front seat set to my driving position. The travel range on the front seats is a bit too much, honestly. While it offers some much needed room for taller drivers to get comfortable behind the wheel, it doesn’t leave much for those at the rear. Push the front seats all the way back, and it won’t be kind to even kids. The “ergo lever” from the old Verna has been ditched, so you can’t be cruel to the front passenger. To let you sit in peace, Hyundai has carved out some space under the front seats to let you rest your feet on the flat floor.

Squeezing three in is possible, but definitely not recommended. Although the hump on the floor isn’t tall, the cabin doesn’t feel wide enough to accommodate three in comfort. The sloping roofline eats into the headroom as well. The final piece of the puzzle is the high-set window line that robs the cabin of its sense of space.For more details on Hyundai Verna  check Changeonslapac

To counter that, Hyundai has stuck with the tried-and-tested beige and black interior combination to uplift the ambience. There’re some brushed silver accents, too, that work well to lend some contrast. It does look chic, but the design as a whole fails to wow. Just like the exteriors, it is subdued and designed to not distract you on the go. What’s really really good, is the overall fit, finish and quality. It’s nearly on par with the Germans – and that’s as high as praise gets.

The top-spec SX (O) version is stuffed to the gills with features including ventilated seats, a hands-free boot release, push-button starter and leatherette seat covers. Sadly, the SX+ (the top-spec diesel automatic) misses on these and to top it off, there are silly omissions such as adjustable rear headrests and a release switch on the boot. The six airbags have been given a miss as well, and the top-spec diesel automatic gets dual airbags and anti-lock brakes like the rest of the Verna range. It does get the feel-good features, though, that include the one-touch open/close electric sunroof and the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and navigation.

If you’re seated at the rear, there’s enough to keep you occupied too. You get a manual rear blind, a set of rear AC vents, a central armrest and a USB charger for your phone. That said, you better have a long cable, because there’s no place to keep the phone. Also, there’s enough room for your luggage with the 480-litre boot (20-litre bump up). Yes, that’s not as much as the City (510-litres) or Ciaz (also 510-litres) – and you could say the same thing about the in-cabin space as well. But, in terms of quality of materials used and the equipment on offer, the Verna has definitely hit the ball out of the park.

Hyundai Verna Engine & Transmission

The new Verna carries forward the four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines from the old model, though, they have been suitably tweaked for use here and also see revisions in their power and torque outputs. The dual variable valve timing-equipped petrol engine, for one, makes the same 123hp of max power as before but now does so at 6,400rpm rather than the earlier Verna’s 6,300rpm. And where the engine developed its 155Nm of max torque at 4,200rpm in the old Verna, it makes a marginally lesser 151Nm at a later 4,850rpm in the new car. Hyundai has also enhanced the engine’s low-end pulling power to ease drivability. At 1,500rpm, the engine makes 130Nm as opposed to 121Nm in the older car.

The revamped power delivery characteristics, as well as the adoption of a six-speed manual gearbox in place of the old five-speeder, have had a measureable effect on performance. The new Verna petrol manual is not only quicker than the old car in flat-out acceleration and through the gears, but is actually the quickest of its peers in gears four and five, and all but matches the surprisingly brisk Maruti Ciaz in the third gear slog too. There’s a new-found flexibility to the engine, which is a boon in town and allows you to get by driving in a higher gear without much protest from the car. And it’s not that the pleasant gearbox or the light (if slightly springy) clutch are bothersome to use either, refinement levels are also excellent at low revs so you’d just find yourself upshifting early by default. At times when you do hold on to the gear, the engine will rev cleanly to 5,000rpm, after which it takes its time to get to the 6,500rpm limiter. That Honda City VTEC-like manic top-end rush is, unfortunately, missing.

Compared to the manual, the petrol automatic is quite different in character. It’s nice and well-mannered when you are ambling around town, but so much as hint at the need for more performance and, with a dab on the throttle, the six-speed torque converter automatic will respond readily, if a bit over enthusiastically, with a downshift and sometimes even two. Unlike typical new-age autos that are tuned to keep revs low for best efficiency, the Verna’s unit keeps revs around the 2,000rpm mark. While that gets you instantaneous responses from the engine, you also hear more of the otherwise quiet engine and get the feeling that the gearbox is perpetually in a sort of ‘Sport’ mode setting. You can take manual control via the gear lever to get the gearbox to behave as per your liking and it’s nice how responsive the system is.

If you happen to be a high-mileage user, it’s the diesel Vernas that will be of greater interest to you. The 1.6-litre variable geometry turbo-diesel continues to top the segment for power (128hp) and torque (260Nm) but the crucial difference is that max torque is now available at a more accessible 1,500-3,000rpm, as opposed to the narrower 1,900-2,750rpm band in the last Verna. Also interesting is the fact that the six-speed manual gearbox runs shorter third and fourth gears here.

We expected the new Verna diesel to be quicker than the old one and it is. The new Verna’s 0-100kph time of 9.32sec betters the old car’s class-best figure by 0.4sec, but what’s more telling is the improvement in in-gear acceleration. The new Verna is not mere milliseconds but full seconds quicker than the old car in benchmark roll-on times! 20-80kph in third gear takes 9.87sec to the old car’s time of 12.17sec, while 40-100kph in fourth gear takes 11.88sec to the old car’s 15.25sec time. Shorter gear ratios aside, the difference in performance is also down to how the updated engine produces its power. Where the old version of the engine bunched up its power for release after 1,800rpm or so, you get to the best of what the new version has to offer far earlier on. A Skoda Rapid or Volkswagen Vento diesel is quicker still in the gears, but where power from the VW TDI engine comes in a rush, the build of power is smooth and linear in the Verna.

The Hyundai unit is responsive and likeable, and what makes it more likeable still is the high level of refinement. Sure, there is an audible clatter at middle revs but the sound seems relatively distant and is nowhere near as gruff or as loud as that emitted by other diesels in this segment. Noise levels do increase significantly as you extend the engine, but given the ready power on offer you’ll seldom feel the need to explore the top-end of the rev range. Once again, gearshifts on the six-speed manual gearbox are nice and the clutch, though springy, has a progressive action.

The other Verna diesel is the automatic and its six-speed torque converter ’box too is well in tune with the characteristics of the engine. It effects gear changes in a timely manner, is quick to adapt to changes in driving style and is also responsive to manual inputs via the gear lever. Performance is strong too, with kickdown acceleration at par with the dual-clutch gearbox-equipped versions of the diesel Vento and Rapid.

Hyundai Verna Ride & Handling

The Verna’s ride is surprisingly absorbing at city speeds, and it seems to be unfazed by the road surface too. The suspension – just like the engine – goes about its business in a silent manner. It also gives you confidence to maintain triple-digit speeds on the highway. The cabin remains composed – and unless you encounter a really uneven section of road, you won’t feel the Hyundai bounce.

Chuck it into a corner and you’re taken aback again. Does this really have a Hyundai badge on the nose? It remains sure-footed through the twisties and doesn’t make you want to back off from having some fun. There’s a hint of body roll when hurried through corners, but it’s never overwhelming. The steering tries to be just as reassuring as the chassis, but it falls short by a whisker. Don’t get us wrong – it’s quick, predictable and direct and it does a surprisingly good job of telling you what the front wheels are doing too. But, calling it sporty might be stretching things too far.

So, the Verna might not be an outright sporty sedan, but it is definitely the sportiest Hyundai yet. What we like, is that it gives you the right mix of ride and handling. That’s a tough balance to achieve, and dare we say – it’s the only one in its class to pull it off, yet. Yes, high praise.

Hyundai Verna Braking & Safety

Though there are no crash safety ratings out for this car yet, Hyundai promises that the Verna is now safer than before with more than 50 per cent of the chassis structure incorporating high-strength steel. The top-spec trims are being offered with up to six airbags, while two front airbags, anti-lock brakes and Isofix child seat anchorages are a standard fit across the range. The seats also get adjustable head restraints all around.

Hyundai Verna Cost in New Delhi

Hyundai Verna On Road Price is 13,89,381/- and Ex-showroom Price is 11,62,118/- in New Delhi. Hyundai Verna comes in 7 colours, namely Fiery Red,Phantom Black,Flame Orange,Star Dust,Polar White,Siena Brown,Sleek Silver. Hyundai Verna comes with FWD with 1591 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 121 bhp@6400 rpm and Peak Torque 151 Nm@4850 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Hyundai Verna comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Hyundai Verna Summing Up

Judged against the old Verna, the new model comes across as a far superior product. It’s better built, even more refined and comes packed with the latest of goodies, and then some. Hyundai has also done well to (largely) address the old Verna’s wayward handling, making the new car better to drive and, by extension, a more wholesome package. Also, petrol or diesel, manual or automatic, you won’t be left wanting for the way the Verna performs.

There isn’t much to complain about really, but if there’s an area where the Verna underwhelms, it’s the rear-seat experience. It is significantly down on space when compared to rivals like the City and the Ciaz, to the extent that it could be a deal-breaker for many, particularly chauffeur-driven buyers. Had Hyundai managed to eke out more room in the back, the Verna, seen as a whole, would have simply been hard to fault. As is, the new Verna makes for a great mid-size sedan but not a perfect one.

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