Hyundai Verna Expert Review

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Introduction

Hyundai Verna
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The Hyundai Verna was supposed to replace the Hyundai Accent in 2006. However, Hyundai decided to sell both cars side by side and the 1st generation of the Verna was born. In its first avatar, its design was a bit of an acquired taste and didn’t find too many takers. A few facelifts later, the Fluidic Verna came into existence. The design was well received, the feature list was large and the car was priced well. In a time when the segment was ruled by the Honda City, this car shook things up to temporarily take the top spot. Honda had a trick up their sleeve and introduced the diesel variant, taking back the City’s crown. In a bid to win back market share, the Hyundai Verna 4S has been released. Does it still have what it takes to threaten the City?

Pros
  • One of the best-looking sedan in the segment. The futuristic fluidic design is quite a stunner.
  • Loaded with features: projector headlamps with daytime running lamps, keyless entry etc.
  • Offered with one of the most power diesel engine in the segment. The 1.6 litre diesel offers 126 bhp and 260Nm of torque.
Cons
  • No AC vents at the rear. Much cheaper Grandi10 gets it!
  • Bouncy suspension. Passengers get thrown about over broken roads.
  • Rear seats lack under-thigh support and rear passenger headroom is abysmal.

Stand Out Features

  • Ergo Lever. It is one of the best features on offer and will be loved by chauffeur driven customers. 

    Ergo Lever. It is one of the best features on offer and will be loved by chauffeur driven customers. 

  • One of the safest cars in the segment. Offered with an option of up to 6 airbags, ABS & ESP.

    One of the safest cars in the segment. Offered with an option of up to 6 airbags, ABS & ESP.

CarDekho Verdict

The Hyundai Verna is a well-loaded package and offers a lot of unique features. The car’s features, neutral handling characteristics and Hyundai’s good after-sales network make it a safe, but well-packaged option that is in some ways, even better than the Creta.

"If you want a driver’s car though, we recommend looking at a European alternative."

The diesel Verna is a better than the Honda City, while the petrols are closely matched. If you want a driver’s car though, we recommend looking at a European alternative.

Exterior

Today, the Hyundai Verna is one of the best-looking cars in its segment. The new design feels like an adaptation of its bigger brother - the Sonata.

At the front, you are greeted by a handsome pair of projector headlamps that give it an aggressive look. The fog lamps, although similar to the previous generation, have been reworked and are placed in a different way. The twin-slat chrome grille adds a premium highlight.

Moving to the side, the Verna has two neat lines running across its length. The roofline swoops down giving it a coupe-like look.  While this does look good, it has compromised the headroom for rear passengers.

At the back, the tail lamps, although a conventional unit, have been designed in a way to give it a diffused LED look. Also, at the back are a couple of reflectors and a neat strip of chrome above the number plate.

Exterior Comparison

Hyundai Verna Volkswagen Vento
Length (mm) 4375 4390
Width (mm) 1700 1699
Height (mm) 1475 1467
Ground Clearance (mm) 165 163
Wheel Base (mm) 2570 2553
Kerb Weight (kg) - 1193

The Verna’s length is 4,375mm which is shorter than all the cars in its segment. Its width stands at 1,700mm, while the height comes in at 1,475mm.

Boot Space Comparison

Hyundai Verna Volkswagen Vento
Volume 465-litres 494-liters

Interior

As you get inside, you are greeted by a dual tone dashboard and the interiors are well put together in terms of fit & finish. It’s great to see Hyundai make a name for themselves in this department, irrespective of the segment that they enter.

Get into the front seat and finding a driving position is easy. The seat is height-adjustable and the steering wheel while previously only adjustable for rake is now adjustable for reach as well.

The seats offer decent lower back & under thigh support.

The steering wheel plays host to silver accents and a set of well-sized buttons to control the infotainment system and Bluetooth telephony. The stalk on the left controls the wipers and the automatic rain sensing wipers can be toggled from here. The right stalk controls the indicators, headlights and fog lamps. The auto headlamps toggle is present on the same stalk. On our tests, we found the auto headlamp system lethargic and we expected a more responsive system.

The instrument cluster sports a neat dual dial theme with a small multi-Information display. It displays everything from the odometer, trip meter and distance to empty readout along with graduated indicators for fuel level and engine temperature.

The rear view mirror gets the auto dimming function. Integrated into the mirror is the reversing camera display. We love that it’s been placed here which making reversing a breeze, but the guiding lines are fixed and do not change with steering input.

Moving to the centre console, the infotainment system is a touchscreen setup, which was introduced around a year after the 4S was first launched.

Further down are the knobs for the climate control system. The system works really well and is one of the best in the segment. However, likes of the Honda City and the Volkswagen Vento have spoiled the consumers who prefer to sit at the back with a rear-aircon vent. The Verna misses out on rear-ac vents. Something we feel should have been incorporated considering cheaper stable-mates like the Grand i10 and Elite i20 get them!

The doors too get similar leather treatment as the seats and have integrated bottle holders that hold 500ml bottles.

While rear ingress is easy, you will be disappointed once you’ve had a seat. The rear seats are too low and the swooping roof line has compromised the headroom. The seats also lack under-thigh support. You do, however, get a centre armrest with cup holders. The seats are well contoured which seats 2 comfortably, but 3 rear passengers will be a squeeze.

One of the best features on the back seats is the availability of an ergo lever. This allows you to push the front passenger seat all the way forward to make more legroom for yourself. You do not get rear AC vents but Hyundai claims that the circulation in the cabin has been optimised in a way that you won't be requiring one. Smart engineering or a cost cutting measure?

On first glance, you may feel that nothing has changed on the interior and that is true to an extent. The changes are very subtle, but it’s a sensible layout nonetheless.

Performance

Diesel 1.6:

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Volkswagen Vento Hyundai Verna
Power 108.5bhp@4000rpm 126.2bhp@4000rpm
Torque (Nm) 250Nm@1500-3000rpm 259.9Nm@1900-2750rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1498 1582
Transmission Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 180 Kmph 190 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 11.07 Seconds 10.62 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1216Kg -
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 20.64kmpl 23.9kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 89.22697368421052 bhp/ton -

The 1.6-litre diesel engine is one of the best engines on offer with the Verna. The motor has been tuned really well and offers a high level of refinement. The clutch too has none of the typical diesel shenanigans and is extremely light to operate.

This engine churns out a class-leading 126PS of power and 260Nm of torque. The ARAI figure for mileage stands at 23.9 kmpl. The diesel is on offer with an automatic as well as manual gearbox. The engine is responsive and works well in the city and highway. The turbo kicks in around 1,800rpm and the car can surge into triple digit speeds quite easily.

Diesel 1.4

The 1.4-diesel engine, which is also found in the i20 makes 90PS of power and 220Nm of torque. Like the 1.6, its gearbox is a 6-speed unit. The engine has good low-end torque making it well suited for city traffic. While it doesn’t instill confidence on the highways like the 1.6 does, it can pull of relaxed cruising.

The engine is suitable for the city condition and the occasional intercity run.

Petrol 1.6:

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Honda City Hyundai Verna Volkswagen Vento
Power 117.3bhp@6600rpm 121.3bhp@6300rpm 103.5bhp@5250rpm
Torque (Nm) 145Nm@4600rpm 154.9Nm@4200rpm 153Nm@3800rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1497 1591 1598
Transmission Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 195 Kmph 196 Kmph 185 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 10 Seconds 10.5 Seconds 12.3 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1041kg - 1142Kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 17.4kmpl 17.01kmpl 16.09kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 112.68011527377521 bhp/ton - 90.63047285464098 bhp/ton

The 1.6-litre petrol motor, like its diesel sibling, is again at the top of its class in terms of on paper figures, churning out 121PS of power and 155Nm of torque. The petrol engine is on offer with both manual and automatic transmissions. The automatic with its 4 gears was fine during our city tests, but it’s now an age old gearbox and a 5-speed should have been offered considering the engine’s performance figures.

Overall the petrol engine is silent and does the job well. We prefer the manual pairing over the automatic and recommend you go for the automatic only if you will frequently use the car through bad traffic.

Petrol 1.4:

Like the 1.4 diesel, the petrol engine too has been sourced from the older generation i20. This naturally aspirated engine churns out 107PS and 135Nm of torque. It’s been mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

The engine suffers from a weak low-end which means you do need to keep the engine on the boil to get into its powerband. Out on the highway, the bigger engines definitely make a difference. At higher speeds and revs, the 1.4 does tend to get vocal about its discomfort. The clutch on this version is very light and a perfect companion for city use. NVH levels are well controlled, there is very little engine noise filtering into the cabin at idling.

Our recommendation is to give this variant a miss and upgrade to the 1.6 petrol. Although it commands a premium, the additional cost is justified as it is more versatile.

Ride & Handling

The Verna is great when it comes to how the car is tuned for city conditions. When we ventured into the unkempt parts of the city with uneven and potholed roads along with the constant onslaught of speed brakes every few metres, the Verna had no problem ironing them out. This, in combination with the light steering is one of the best combos you could ask for.

It's on the open highways where the Verna disappoints. The car's steering does not weigh up well enough and the ride is too soft giving way to body roll around corners. While the 4S offers a more planted ride than its predecessor, the difference isn’t monumental. It’s best suited to relaxed driving as hard cornering isn’t its forte.

Safety

Safety Comparison

Hyundai Verna Volkswagen Vento
Airbags righticonClose righticonClose
ABS righticonClose righticonClose
EBD righticonClose righticonClose

The Verna comes loaded with anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). Also, on offer is a variant with 6 airbags. The Honda City, VW Vento and the Ciaz are offered only with two.

Variants

  • Diesel
  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
1.4 CRDi 2DIN Audio With 1GB Memory, Power Windows Front and Rear, ABS with EBD, 9.07 Lakh*
1.6 CRDi S [ In adition to 1.4 CRDi ] Cluster Ioniser A/C System, Impact Sensing Auto door Unlock, 1.6 L 126.32bhp 16V VGT CRDi Eng, [ Variant 1.4 CRDi price ] + 90,912 =  9.98 Lakh*
1.6 CRDi SX [ In adition to 1.6 CRDi S ] Rain Sensing Wipers, Speed Sensing Auto Door Lock, Leather Upholstery, [ Variant 1.6 CRDi S price ] + 68,474 =  10.66 Lakh*
Variants Features Price
1.4 VTVT 2DIN Audio With 1GB Memory, Clutch Lock System, ABS with EBD, 7.84 Lakh*
1.6 VTVT S [ In adition to 1.4 VTVT ] 1.6 L 121.3bhp 16V VTVT Engine, Rear Parking Sensors, Driver Airbag, [ Variant 1.4 VTVT price ] + 96,608 =  8.81 Lakh*
1.6 SX VTVT [ In adition to 1.6 VTVT S ] Speed Sensing Auto Door Lock, Rain Sensing Wipers, Leather Upholstery, [ Variant 1.6 VTVT S price ] + 68,650 =  9.49 Lakh*

The Verna is offered with a wide range of variants and powertrain options. The bigger petrol and diesel options are on offer with manual as well as automatic gearboxes while the smaller 1.4s are offered only as manuals.

The 1.4s are offered only with the base grades and hence, miss out on many features, but are still reasonably well-equipped.  The base variant gets ABS & EBD as standard along with central locking. Also, on offer on the base trim are turn indicators integrated on the wing mirrors, a manual air conditioning system, electrically adjustable outside mirrors, ergo lever and a 2 din media system sans the steering mounted controls.

The S variant adds a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, an electrochromatic rear view mirror, projector headlights, a rear defogger, keyless entry and automatic climate control among other features.

The top-end SX(O) gets unique features like 6 airbags, speed-sensing auto door locks, chrome door handles, leather upholstery and a smart-key with push button start. You also get rain sensing wipers and a reach-adjustable steering. Evidently, this is the variant to get and even though it commands a hefty premium over the SX, the added kit is worth it.

Hyundai Verna similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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