Despite being a 2008 design, the interiors of the Honda City still looks contemporary. Though most of the competition today is offering more bells and whistles than the Honda City. The cabin is spacious enough room in both the rows.
Sporting a much larger wheelbase that its preceding Dolphin-shaped model, the present version of City has an even larger room to offer its occupants. In other words, the head-room, the front row leg-room and the rear-seat knee-room get further enlarged, making easy and airy accommodation of five passengers no problem at all. Even the boot gets a very voluminous area to its name where travel kits can be stowed away very easily. On top of that, the seating chamber has stowage, spaces and holders in case the occupants wish to keep a few things handy.
As far as the comfort is concerned, the seats lining the cabin of Honda City have never been cosier. They are plush, well-contoured, complemented with supportive head rests and jacketed in premium grade sheathing, whether fabric or leather. The rear-seats incorporate a fold-able centre arm rest as well that can double up as a storage area too. The cabin area, meanwhile, receives a sporty three-spoke leather coated steering wheel and an auto gear shifter well-sculpted to fit the palm perfectly. In addition to all this, what makes the ride in Honda City even more joyous is the trendy and elegant dual-tone theme of beige-black that spans the entire cabin imparting a very fine and sophisticated feel to it.
Corporate: Honda City Corporate is the very base model of this beautiful ride and consequently, gets loaded with only the very basic characteristics expected of a sedan. For the driver's zone, the car packs some really nice features like power steering, front and rear power windows, adjustable steering column and triple-pod instrument console integrated with an electronic multi-tripmeter and low fuel warning light. For safety purposes, the Corporate version of City involves an extensive range of tools and technologies like ABS, BA, power door locks, child safety locks, anti-theft alarm, driver and passenger airbags, halogen headlamps, rear seat belts, seat belt warning, side and front impact beams, engine immobilizer and centrally mounted fuel tank. Apart from these, other additionals include an AC/heater unit, premium fabric upholstery, adjustable headlights, power adjustable ORVM and rear window defogger.
E: Next in line comes the Honda City E, which carries forward every trait and tool that Corporate offers while adding a couple of its own like a CD player/radio unit and front-end speakers, thereby, introducing the entertainment element that was missing in the lower-end variant.
S: One level higher than E stands the Honda City S which adds fitments like multi-function steering wheel, tachometer and audio system remote control for the driver's assistance, and along with that packs up a key-less entry mechanism, alloy wheels, speakers mounted both at the front as well as the rear end and power/manual adjustment options for the ORVM.
V MT: Another step ahead along the City range, and we meet the Honda City V MT, which, besides bringing in some novel features of cruise control, leather steering wheel, front fog lights, sunroof and ORVM-mounted turn indicators, also drops a couple like tachometer and power adjustment option for ORVM. Also, the fabric upholstery that lined the lower models get replaced with sporty leather covering in this variant.
CNG: The newest member of the Honda City clan that holds an environment-friendly CNG bank at its core as a power-source costs marginally more than the V MT variant but the bells and whistles that adorn both these models are exactly the same.
V AT: On a level higher than the CNG-fuelled version stands the Honda City V AT, which is nothing but the automatic counterpart of V MT, and hence, gets loaded with an almost identical set of features and fitments with the only differences being the substitution of leather with fabric and the abandonment of the sunroof and the leather coating of the steering.
V AT Sunroof: The sunroof version of Honda City V AT sports a leather sheathing for the seats and the steering besides incorporating a sunroof as well.
Honda is known for their engines and this engine is no different. The Honda City gets a 1.5-litre petrol engine with sufficient torque throughout the rev band to pull the car cleanly, even when in a higher gear.
Just like every other car from the Honda syable, City is also waiting for a diesel-mill to fill up the space under its hood, but that's not going to happen until mid-2013. For now, the entire line-up of Honda India is driven by the same petrol engine, which, by the way, happens to be the best man for the job. Famous for its frugal yet powerful and efficient performance that it has consistently delivered for a long time now, the 1.5-litre 16V SOHC i-VTEC petrol engine capable of churning out a very impressive 116bhp at 6600rpm for a peak torque output of 146Nm generated at 4800rpm works for Honda City, at present. This power-house comes mated either to a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) gearbox depending on the model that it serves. Both the automatic and the manual systems synchronize exceptionally well with the engine, facilitating extremely smooth and precise gear-shifts. While the automatic transmission excels at tuning in perfectly with the RPM and throttle input, extracting the maximum from the engine over the complete power band is the special quality that its manual counterpart exhibits.
As far as the NVH levels are concerned, the best way to express the kind of refinement that this mill has been blessed with is that its low audible levels might fool you into cranking the engine even when it is running, and that is nothing compared to the super-silent mode that it gets into when left to idle away. When it comes to overtaking, City will never disappoint you nor will its superb dash of speed ever keep you from staying ahead of all on the street.
The ride and handling of the Honda City are a good. Some enthusiasts may not like the light steering wheel as it feels a tad slack around the corners.
Suspension system that has been employed for Honda City consists of a McPherson Strut mechanism for the front end and a Torsion Beam Axle for the rear both of which come integrated with a Stabilizer and Coil Spring.
The incorporation of such an efficient suspension system ensures that potholes and bumps are ironed out perfectly well and irrespective of how well laid or how badly marred a road is, the occupants enjoy a smooth and jerk-free ride. Besides helping in making City the supple and composed ride it is, this suspension system also goes a long way in improving the handling characteristics of the car in its 2012 version as compared to the earlier generations.
While it is practically impossible to find a handling problem in Honda City along a straight road, the car does not present any issues, whatsoever, when it is thrown in corners and bends either. What further accentuates the overall drive and ride quality of the Japanese sedan is the light weighted steering that comes in very handy when we need to weave our way in and out of the busy city traffic or when we need to park in a very tight spot.
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.
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.
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.
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