New Hyundai Verna
New Hyundai Verna First Drive
The car we are driving today hails from the Korean car maker Hyundai and is known as the Solaris in a few countries, Hyundai Accent at some places and is known as the Hyundai Verna in a few other countries including India. Launched way back in 2006 the Verna did sell in big numbers in India till the new Honda City came along and damaged its graph. Hyundai tried to reinvent it by giving it a facelift and re-badging it as the Hyundai Verna Transform but this change didn’t go down very well with buyers. Well everything has changed now and Hyundaperforatedi has got the latest generation Verna codenamed the RB and here is the first drive that I drove along some beautiful twists and turns of Kodaikanal.
Exteriors – Design
The new Hyundai Verna at the first glance reminds you instantly of a sports car, looks are very futuristic from any angle you see it. The overall design element is `Fluidic Sculpture` as Hyundai terms it and truly it is. The front end is dominated by large swept back two tone bezel headlamps, a very sleek and trendy bonnet that has bend lines making it and large bumper that has a sporty hexagonal grill and a chrome strip with the Hyundai logo and a low big sized and wide air dam and integrated L-shaped front fog lamps that are very eye catchy. The front grill looks very similar to the current generation Hyundai i20 grill, as mentioned in previous reviews many auto companies are taking to this and the front grill on their cars do look similar to other models from their lineup.
The sides are attractive with a high waist line that flows along the length of the Verna and is very visible. Trendy turn mirrors with integrated turn lights and the coupe like roof line and windows make the new Verna look very handsome. Chrome door handles with keyless entry like we have seen on the Chevrolet Cruze are a first for the segment, another sporty touch to the new Verna`s sides. The flowing lines on the sides mate with the large wrap-around tail lamps which are housed on the large rear bumper. The boot lid also gets an integrated lip-spoiler that adds to the sportiness to the rear profile of the new Verna. The bumper has reflectors flushed in them, a chrome strip runs across the number plate and the twin exhausts enhance the rear. The rear to me reminds very much of the Mercedes C Class. Large profile 16 inched alloys on Bridgestone tyres give a very sporty and wide stance to the new Verna.
The new Verna has a very sporty and dynamic design to it, it has everything that will make heads turn. Aggressive design styling is implemented to its highest levels and it shows in a big way.
Interiors – Cabin
Hop inside the new Hyundai Verna and you realize that you are surrounded with gadgets and the equipment level on the new Verna is more or less equal to few D segment cars. A dual tone dashboard in black and beige is very neat looking and has the perforated feel to it that holds things when kept on the rounded dash. Fresh looking instrument cluster with easy to read digits in white and blue backlit are very inspiring. The instrumentation has all the needed vital tell tale display and much more. The steering is similar to the i20`s and has mounted audio control and Bluetooth control buttons on it. The steering is adjustable for height but adjust for reach is missing. The central console has a `V` design to it with a integrate MP3/FM player and a single zone climate control under it which has an unique air purifier in-built in it. The music system comes with 2 remotes and has unique features like speed dependent auto volume. A USB and AUX ports are also on here to connect your i-pods and other audio devices. The 4 speaker + 2 tweeters audio system is capable of playing crisp quality of audio quality.
Seats are in perforated leather upholstery and the quality is fine, similar to which seen in Hyundai Sonata Transform. The Driver seat has height adjust. Front seats are comfortable and offer adequate under thigh and back support. The cushioning is good enough and offered comfortable seating to us during the long drive. The glove box has cooling in it so that you can stack up the chocolates or other stuff which you feared would melt if kept outside.
The rear seats offer well back and under thigh support and adequate in size and shape. Three adjustable headrests are mounted on the rear seats. A centre armrest is also a good inclusion. Leg room at the front and back is good enough even with the front seats set to the extreme. Head room is generous along with the shoulder room. The cabin feels roomy thanks to the light beige color of the upholstery and the door pads. Another unique feature on the new Verna is the inclusion of the rear camera that displays in color on the centre rear view mirror when in reverse gear. Faux wood inserts are seen all around the cabin. The plastic quality is good and the overall quality of the materials used in here feels much better than the earlier Verna. The top end variants of the new Verna come with push button start as standard along with keyless entry. Auto folding mirrors are also standard on this variant along with auto dimming centre rear view mirror which are a segment first. The cabin of the new Verna has all the storage bins spread around for cans, sunglasses and other stuff; we sorely missed out on the rear door bottle holders. Six Air-Bags are standard on the top end variant of the new Verna which is again a segment first. The interiors of the new Verna are very appealing and has a host of gadgets and gizmos loaded on it many of which are segment's first.
Engine – Drive Feel
The new Hyundai Verna comes with 4 engine options and 2 transmission options. Two engines each in Petrol and Diesel. A 1.4 DOHC VTVT Petrol that makes 107 PS of peak power with 138Nm of torque. The 1.6 DOHC VTVT makes 123.05 PS of peak power and has 170Nm of torque in it.
The Diesels have two engine options, the base being the 1.4 CRDI making 90PS of power and 225 Nm of peak power and a 1.6 CRDI engine that makes 128PS of power and a huge 265Nm of torque. Now Hyundai has given a 4 speed auto box for the 1.6 Petrol and 1.6 Diesel options. We drove the 1.6 Petrol Automatic and later the 1.6 Diesel Manual. The 1.6 diesel comes with a six speed gearbox while the rest get the five speed box. Hyundai with this has made the new Verna as the only car available with so many engine and transmission options currently in this segment.
The manual Verna`s also are aided with gear shift indicators that prompt the driver to up-shift or down shift gears to get maximum fuel efficiency from it. A ECO mode indicator also helps in getting maximum fuel mileage if the car is driven sanely under a certain RPM and speed. The Petrol 1.6 Automatic Verna that was driven first felt nice and nimble. The engine is highly refined and smooth. The only grouse is the 4 speed auto box that spoils the fun and does not let the driver explore the full capability of the 1.6 litre engine. Shifting is good and precise that we would have liked a 6 speed autobox with shorter gear ratios to get the maximum out of the engine. The car feels stable at high speeds and handles well. The feedback on the steering is ample while the Petrol Automatic Verna behaves sanely at all speeds. The suspension has been beefed up for India to tackle the bad road conditions which is common here. Cornering is good and body roll is present but to a limit.
The 1.6 Diesel Manual is the pick from the lot. Its highly powerful and has tons of torque under its belt. The six speed manual gearbox is great to use with perfect gear ratios mated. The Diesel version of the new Verna drives and feels a lot better than the Petrol one mostly because of the extra weight it carries on the engine and hence handles sharper than the Petrol sibling. Turbo lag is minimal and the outright power delivery is amazing. The new Verna in the 1.6 Diesel avatar is very sporty and has loads of power in it. Stable and sturdy at all speeds are the USP for the 1.6 Diesel Verna.
The all wheel disc brakes work very well aided with ABS and EBD. The ride quality is smooth thanks to the 195/55 R16 tyres that do their duty to the core. During the drive the new Verna's encountered a lot of hilly roads that included steep climbs and rough patches but the Verna suspension setup undertook all under its belt and offered a good ride quality.
Out and out a very good package with a wide option of engines and transmission to choose from. Would also like to add here that the reverse parking sensor aided with the reverse camera that shows on the rear view mirror is very practical and useful as per our experience during the time spent driving the new Verna.
The Verna has been a big seller in the 7 to 10lakh segment until the new Honda City came along and slowed its sales. The City does not have a Diesel offering but then the VW Vento came along with a Diesel offering and further damaged the Verna's prospects. Now things are looking very different with the all new Verna that is the perfect strike back from the Korean company, combined with a long list of engine options to choose from 1.4 to 1.6 and manual or automatic. The new Verna has superb exterior designing and very good interiors with many unheard and segment's first features loaded on it making the new Verna a new contender in this segment.
Wait for the new Verna to be launched early next month (May) and expect it to be priced between the 7.5 to 10 lakh price range making it a very good value for money car.