Ed’s take: The interiors of the City are stylish and trendy and yet they come loaded with several new features too.
If you think that the exteriors are similar to that of the outgoing version than the interiors are absolutely new. The three dials on the instrument cluster have a blue backlit dials that even change colour to green when you drive with a light foot. The City has a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and another segment-first is the touchscreen for climate control as well. The space on offer in the new City is good and it has large front row seats. There is sufficient legroom and headroom. It does feel almost like a D segment sedan than a C+. Crawl into the rear seats and the knee room it offers will amaze you. The knee room on the new City is increased by 70mm when compared to the outgoing version. To our dismay, the rear head room is a bit tight and even the headrest at the rear is fixed. The boot is also extremely spacious at 510 litres of space, but the access to the boot could have better as it a tad higher.
As the car is full of tech, we will also like to address that it also has four charging points— two in the front and two at the rear. The new three-spoke steering wheel also looks stylish and upmarket than the previous generation cars. The City also gets rear AC vents, which will help to cool the cabin faster in summers as well.
Editor’s word on interior: Hyundai has loaded the Verna with goodies that can make it compete with the cars that are a segment above. The quality of the materials used is also decent, hence there isn’t anything wrong that can be spoken about the interiors.
Step on the inside and you shall be pleased. The black and beige interior scheme works out well on the aesthetically designed instrument panel. The fit and finish of the plastics is good and feels premium. The centre console is ergonomically designed and doesn’t feel overboard.
Front row passengers get ample headroom and legroom; and the large comfy seats provide good back and thigh support. Crawl into the rear seats and there is sufficient head and knee room. The rear seats are flat and do not provide adequate thigh support.
Base Model: The base model of the Hyundai Verna comes only with the 1.4-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel engine. Major features in this trim level are immobilizer, central lock, full wheel cover, LED turn indicators or ORVMs, chrome grille, blue interior illumination, power windows with driver side auto down, keyless entry, AC, Driver Information Display and power & tilt steering.
EX: The EX variant of the Verna comes with 1.6-litre petrol and both the diesel engine variants. It comes with comes with driver side airbag, ABS with EBD, rear disc brakes, impact sensing door unlock, rear defogger with timer, two tone chrome rear garnish & chrome interior package, high gloss black and wood grain interiors, power windows with auto down, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity with steering mounted call and audio controls, climate control, clean air cluster ionizer, sunglass holder, front seat sliding armrest with storage box, tilt adjustable driver seat and iPod cable.
SX: This variant is available only on the 1.6-litre petrol dn diesel engine options and it offers few more features that are dual airbags, 16 inch alloy wheels, supervision cluster, rear view camera with display on auto dimming rear view mirror, electric folding ORVMs, cooled glove box, luggage net and hook and adjustable rear headrest.
SX (O): Even this version is available only on the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines and it comes loaded with frills like side and curtain airbags along with front dual airbags, speed sensing door lock, chrome outside door handles, smart key with illuminated start button and leather upholstery.
Ed's take: The interiors of the Vento resemble that of the Polo, and at truly German. The rear seat knee room has been increased for the passengers, as the Vento will be more of a chauffeur driven vehicle.
Volkswagen have always been recognised for the extraordinary finesse that reflects from their work on the interiors of their creations, and that exceptional refinement is precisely what defines every minute detail of the cabin of Volkswagen Vento also. Be it the looks, the feel, the material quality or the fit and finish, everything about the seating area echoes the German expertise and contributes massively to making the ride pleasant and joyous for the occupants of Vento. Carved in a simple yet smart design, the interiors of this German sedan has been furnished with large, comfortable and ergonomically-contoured seats, both at the front as well as the rear end. While the seats provide excellent support for the thighs of the passengers, the larger wheelbase of the car facilitates more room for them to stretch their legs. Although the knee-room and head-room in the second row, just like the leg-room in the front row, is more than sufficient for an easy and fatigue-free ride, Vento comes with the option of adjusting the front seats from the second row itself to further enhance the knee-space.
Adding on to all these comfort features is the superb insulation that Volkswagen designers have effected in this car, imparting it with the feel of a bigger and more expensive ride. This, in combination with the telescopic steering column, which makes rake and reach adjustments possible, and the ergonomic positioning of the instrument console and control panel, makes Vento a fabulous car to travel in.
Trendline: Volkswagen Vento Trendline is the base-end variant of the sedan and carries the smallest, but in no ways unimpressive, pack of add-ons in the entire line-up. Starting from the driver's zone, here we can find power steering, low fuel warning light, adjustable steering column, tachometer and electronic multi-tripmeter besides a set of controls for remote trunk opener, rear parking sensors, rear fog lights and rear window defogger. On the convenience ground, Trendline packs up an AC/heater unit coupled to independent rear AC vents, front and rear power windows, rear seat headrest, front and rear cup holders, classy fabric upholstery, front- and rear-mounted speakers and power antenna. For safety purposes, meanwhile, this particular variant of Vento comes bearing central locking, halogen headlamps, rear seat belts, adjustable seats, engine immobilizer, airbags and centrally-mounted fuel tank.
Comfortline: One level above the Trendline stands the Comfortline version of Volkswagen Vento. Except for dropping the option of adjustable seats and substituting manually adjustable ORVMs with power-adjustable counterparts, Comfortline carries forward every trait of Trendline besides adding some of its own like rear seat centre armrest, outside temperature display, digital odometer, front fog lights, ABS, Auto Climate Control and a CD player/radio unit.
Highline: Next in line is the Highline variant, which replaces wheel covers with alloys and the fabric upholstery with leatherette for seats as well as steering. Plus, it also adds some extra perks in the form of automatic climate control, air quality control, multi-function steering wheel, ABS and driver and passenger airbags.
New Diesel Highline: The newer version of Diesel Highline brings with it some very interesting features and fitments including the likes of remote fuel lid opener, rear cabin light, height adjustable front seat belts, seat lumbar support, cigarette lighter, electric-folding RVM, rain sensing wiper and tinted glass apart from some additional safety mechanisms like Brake Assist, power door locks, child safety locks, anti-theft alarm, seat belt warning, door ajar warning, side and front impact beams, adjustable seats and key-less entry. But, at the same time, it also drops parking sensors and offers fabric instead of leather for the seats.
Ed's take: The engines on offer in the Honda City are brilliant and we like the peppiness of the petrol mill. This is one of the most powerful engines in the segment and also fuel-efficient.
1.5-litre petrol: The Honda City will be offered with two engines, one is the petrol and the second is the diesel. The petrol is the 1.5-litre i-VTEC that has propelled the previous generation too. The friction on the cylinder walls has been reduced, which means that the fuel efficiency has been bumped up. The engine now produces a power of 117bhp and 145Nm of peak torque. The power delivery is linear and the engine has sufficient torque throughout the rev range. The petrol is available with a five-speed manual and CVT box too. The CVT has paddle shifts and it has a five-speed set-up if you wish to use the paddles. The gear ratios will be the same like the five-speed manual to add-on to similar power. The CVT’s drivability is good when you accelerate gradually, it is only when you accelerate hard, the response isn’t that phenomenal.
1.5-litre diesel: Honda City finally gets a diesel, and it is the same 1.5-litre i-DTEC that powers the Amaze. However, this comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission instead of the regular five, as the torque spread is better and even the higher end. Honda has done what we expected it to. The i-DTEC oil burner already had sufficient power and torque for the City, just that it needed some mechanical advantage over the Amaze. The NVH levels of the diesel engine has been reduced with better dampening material. The power delivery is linear and the turbo kicks in at about 1800rpm. The power produced is good enough for driving in the city and even on the highway.
The Honda City is the most fuel-efficient car because the ARAI test cycle states that this sedan returns 26 km/l. This is also thanks to the six-speed transmission that helps the City to stretch its legs on the highway without affecting the fuel efficiency. The box is slick and even the throws are positive and short.
Verna comes with four engine options— of which two are petrol and other are diesels. Both the higher engines comes with manual and automatic transmission. All the engines are good and we recommend using the lower powered engine as this sufficient.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine produces 106bhp of power at 6300rpm and a maximum torque of 138Nm at 5000rpm. This is the same engine block that also propels the automatic version of the i20. Like any of the modern petrol engines, the refinement levels are high and there is no clatter drama. The power delivery is fairly linear, however one has to downshift to overtake. But the drivability is good and it can potter in city traffic even when lugged into a higher cog. The 5-speed manual transmission is slick and the throws are short. As per the ARAI test, the 1.4-litre petrol has a fuel efficiency of 17.43kmpl.
The second petrol engine on the Verna is the 1.6-litre mill that comes with an option to be paired with a 5-speed manual box or a 4-speed automatic. This engine produces 122bhp of power and a torque of 158Nm at 4200rpm. This is one of the most refined engine blocks from the Hyundai spectrum. The mid-range of this engine is strong and there isn’t much of low range grunt. Hence, one has to shift into a lower gear to make the overtaking move. Like all the Hyundai’s, the manual box is slick with positive shifts. The Verna manual’s mileage is 17.01kmpl and 15.74kmpl as per the ARAI report.
The 1.4-litre engine is very torquey at 220 Nm and you realize this especially when the turbocharger spools, and you feel the power getting unleashed. this is the same engine that powers the i20 diesel and here, it comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The gear ratios have been revised and the lower gears are shorter to reduce the turbo lag. However, this hasn’t worked too well and there is still noticeable turbo lag which is typical of the new diesels. The turbo kick is something you need to get used to, since the car is quite a rocket once you get the turbo spooled. To overtake, one needs to downshift. As per ARAI testing cycle, the 1.4-litre has a mileage of 23.5kmpl.
Automatic and manual versions both are offered on the 1.6-litre diesel version. This oil burner churns out 126bhp of power and 260Nm of peak torque. This engine is highly refined with low NVH levels. Crank the engine and it will spring to life and settle quickly without much of the clatter drama. The engine has enough torque throughout the rev band and at any time, has sufficient power to overtake. There is a slight turbo lag, which could be a problem in heavy city traffic, but the engine is back in business once it crosses 1800rpm.
Hyundai has definitely introduced new generation engines on the Verna, but the automatic transmission that comes mated to these motors are old-school four-speed boxes. The shifts on the box are slow and lethargic— being no match to the present day auto boxes. Being a four-speeder the fuel economy isn’t very high, and the efficiency as per the Automotive Research Authority India’s (ARAI) cycle is 19.08kmpl, while the manual Verna returns 22.32kmpl. The manual one is a 6-speed box, with slick and positive throws.
Ed's take: The diesel is certainly the pick of the duo, not just for its efficiency, but even for its outright performance and drivability. Though the power ratings are similar, but the diesel engine’s performance more superior.
Volkswagen Vento, the beautiful sedan from the German auto-marque, comes in two engine options – a 1.6-litre petrol-mill and a 1.6-litre diesel engine. Out of the two, the oil-burner comes mated to a sole manual transmission system while the petrol variant gets to choose between manual and automatic transmissions.
Diesel 1.6-litre: To propel its diesel line-up, Volkswagen Vento employs a 1598cc 16V Common Rail diesel engine, which has evolved into its 4-cylinder self from the 3-cylinder make that drives the Polo group. Capable of cranking out a peak 104bhp at 4400rpm for a top torque of 250Nm generated over a range of 1500-2500rpm, this power-mill comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox. Maintaining a linear power-delivery throughout the range, the engine ensures that overtaking remains easy in the city as well as on the highways and does not demand a downshift each time. The gearbox, on the other hand, makes sure that the gear-shifts continue to be smooth, slick and easy.
Although the oil-burner that works for Vento is excellent at its work, however, its NVH levels that range in the 'high' category come as a glitch in its otherwise spotless performance report. While the very start-up clatter is quite characteristic of a noisy diesel engine, even after warming up the noise, although gets reduced considerably, can still make its presence felt. As far as mileage is concerned, Volkswagen Vento Diesel returns a 17.25kmpl figure for the city roads and a 20.54kmpl for the highways.
Petrol 1.6-litre: The 1598cc 16-valve In-line petrol-feeder that works for Volkswagen Vento comes with two transmission options – manual and automatic. Engineered to churn out a maximum of 104bhp at 5250rpm for a peak torque of 153Nm pumped out at 3800rpm, this power-house, in its manual version, gets mated to a 5-speed gearbox while in the automatic version, a 6-speed transmission accompanies it in its workings. The manual transmission system that this mill shares with its diesel sibling performs equally well here, delivering smooth and slick shifts every time.
Petrol 1.2-litre automatic: The Vento also has a new engine, which is a 1.2-litre turbo petrol that produces 102bhp of power and it comes mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This is the new automatic transmission offering on the Vento and has been picked up from the Polo TSI. The power delivery is good and even the performance is better than the previous 1.6-litre automatic and it is more fuel-efficient too. This is also the first sedan to have a seven-speed automatic transmission and it will be double clutch. It returns about 11-12 km/l even when driving in city conditions.
Ed's take: The Honda City is a bit softer than before which means better ride, however it is a bit choppy on bad roads.
The handling of the City is good, and it carries forward the existing Honda’s fun to drive image. The steering wheel is also light and easy to drive in city. The steering response has been enhanced by changing the steering ratio and this has made it even better, as before it felt a bit vague especially around a corner.
The Honda City springs on McPherson at the front and Torsion Beam at the rear. The underpinnings are stiffer on the front, especially in the diesel due to the increased weight. The rear is soft, however it is wee bit softer than our expectations. As this was pre-production model maybe that is why the set-up was a bit too soft. The ride on smooth roads and even at high speeds is decent, and the ride at the rear is more pliant in the petrol.
Hyundai always had a plush ride quality and the Verna is no different. The soft suspension makes the ride good, however the handling is decent.
Engineers in Hyundai have focused to provide the best ride quality for passengers and they have succeeded in this endeavour. The ride suppleness of the Verna is excellent as it irons out most of the jolts on bad and patchy surfaces. The suspension soaks up all the road vibrations keeping the occupants intact.
With soft suspension, the handling cannot be phenomenal. Hence on being chucked into a corner, the car doesn’t respond with the same alacrity as its competitors. To make matters worse, the light steering wheel feels slack and doesn’t weigh up as the car gathers speed. This further reduces the morale of the driver.
Ed's take: The ride of the Vento is a tad stiffer. This is done to improve the handling characteristics of the vehicle. The handling of the Vento is good and it carries the VW DNA.
Handling and drivability have never been a problem when it comes to Volkswagen cars and the same goes for Vento as well. Based on the Polo platform, this German sedan makes use of a McPherson Strut with Stabilizer bar for the front-end suspension whereas for the rear end, it employs a semi-independent trailing arm. Although, this suspension system does a good job of absorbing the potholes in the road, it still remains unable of keeping the occupants completely unaware of the bumps and slight jerks penetrate the cabin.
The ride gets better for the occupants of the second row, all thanks to the softer springs, thereby making Vento ideal for chauffeur-driven passengers. However, the overall ride experience continues to be on the stiff side, the benefit of which comes in handling, which gets much better than before. To assist in handling, Vento gets fitted with Apollo Aceleres, which supply a much superior grip on dry as well as wet roads. As for the electronic steering wheel, it is light and easy to use on a day-to-day basis. Driving-enthusiasts, however, would need some time to get used to it, but it's not difficult.