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.
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.
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.
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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