Hyundai Verna: The Game Changer
The Hyundai Fluidic Verna is the 4th Generation Accent which has been renamed as Verna for Indian customers. After having played bad with the Hyundai Verna Transform, they finally managed to take out the most beautiful feather out of its cap, the All New Hyundai Verna Fluidic. It later turned out to upset the Honda City and the Vento on one side, and the Linea, SX4 and Rapid combined, on the other.
The Verna has the most compact outer footprint, but still manages to have a wheelbase of 2570mm, which is a little less than that of the Honda City (2600mm) and the Ciaz (2650mm), but the large window area and a good choice of beige and black does not make it feel claustrophobic.
Interiors & Features:
The Verna is equipped with a feature list which is expansive and puts cars in two segments above it, to shame. It has a right sized steering wheel which is rack adjustable. It has volume controls, menu select, and mute button on the left side, and the call functions and toggle up and down for the menu on the right side. One down side is that the trip button to access the MID, is on the dash and not on the stocks. It makes you take your eyes off the wheel when driving. It takes some getting used to and the one in my car has started behaving jittery and non-clickable due to continuous use. The MID is expansive and shows the distance to empty, instantaneous fuel efficiency, average fuel efficiency, average speed, 2 trip metres, ECO Mode ON/OFF and the gearshift recommendation to maximise fuel efficiency. The current breed of Hyundais have stopped providing the fuel efficiency information which I see as a move in the wrong direction.
The faux wood is aptly used and looks classy. I personally feel that the old corolla used it too much, and the Verna defined the optimal use of wood well. The aircon vents are well placed and throws air to all people in the cabin equally. The automatic air-condition is a boon, but setting it at lower temperatures and in Auto mode, the blower runs on full intensity and gets too noisy, to the level that you have to manually lower the blower speeds so that you can listen to the passenger next to you.
The dashboard has a dimpled matt type material on the top half, and beige on the lower half. The beige usually gets spoilt very easily and one would need to spend some moolah and time to keep it clean every year. The top of the dash is of high quality plastic and gives a good premium feel to the touch. The central console has the integrated music system and is laid out in a nice waterfall effect, falling down neatly to the gear lever. The center armrest is generous and slides front and back to accommodate the driver?s elbow. There are 2 cup holders which are deep and keeps your coffee and cold drinks from not spilling. The space in front of the gear is empty for small nick nacks and houses the USB port, 12V port and aux-in apple port. All buttons come to hand easily and are intuitive to use. The electro-chromatic mirror is a boon and has an auto-dimming effect with integrated rear view camera which can be turned on/off as per convenience.
The rear bench is wide but ingress and outgress is tough especially for the elderly as it is quite low. Nonetheless, it accommodates larger head room and taller passengers would have no difficulty. The window line is a tad high, and the passenger sits very low making it a little uncomfortable for shorter passengers over long journeys. The rear has an armrest which is ample for use by two passengers but can be of inconvenience to the third passenger who sits in the middle. However, the good news is, that the floor is almost flat and there is no obtrusion whatsoever from the tunnel. The under-thigh support is not class leading but accommodating. The absence of the rear aircon vents is glaring and its omission is shocking at this segment.
Verna is a handsome car. It?s a blend of Italian and German. Look at it from any angle and one would fall in love with the design. Even after more than 5 years of launch, it still makes heads turn in oohs and aahs. The shoulder line is prominent, and the cuts and the creases are bold and brings the car?s character alive. The roof sweeps back to the rear in a clean line and blends into the rear as an integrated spoiler.
The front has the signature Hyundai hexagonal grill. The swept back headlights which are non-projectors and looks identical to the i10s are smart. The L-shaped fog lamps are good to look at, but not practical. One would complain of it being the most fragile item on the front and would not last the distance.
The side view mirrors have integrated side indicators and are generously sized. They are both auto-foldable and electrically adjustable, they are not heated though. The rear houses the bumper with integrated reverse sensors and the number plate housing has a reverse camera which is nicely tucked away. The dual tipped chrome exhaust is meaty and adds to the sportiness of the vehicle.
Many would like the no-nonsense design of the Ciaz, or the aggressive Honda with too many creases, one should still not shy away from admitting that the Verna is one smart sedan.
Drive, Handling, Efficiency:
The Hyundai Verna offers 2 engine choices each in Petrol and Diesel. The 6 speed manual has short throws and slots in the right gear pretty easily. The 1.4 liter is the more practical choice as it is tuned to deliver higher fuel efficiency, but most would still prefer the 1.6 for its sprightliness and the agility. The ride is pliant for most parts of the Indian road conditions due to the Verna?s soft suspension, but as the speed increases, the bumps creep into the cabin and the passengers get tossed around very easily. The Electronic Power Steering (EPS) is a boon to drive in the city due to its peppiness and lightness, but the downside is that it does not weigh up as much as it should, making higher speed dynamics to be less-confidence inspiring. One would not like to stretch the vehicle to more than 120kmph, even when the engine is revving at a comfortable 2200-2300 rpm in 6th gear and has still some power left to go to higher speeds. There is some tyre noise at triple speeds but kudos to Hyundai for such amazingly low NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness), that one would fail to hear any wind or engine noise at high speeds. At idle, one would not even hear the diesel clatter and would mistake it to be a petrol engine more often than not.
The car delivers a consistent 15-16 kmpl in city driving with AC and 21-22kmpl on the highways. A heavier foot would result in 2-3 figure drop which should not be an issue with a car with so many bells and whistles.
? A smart looking sedan. Look at it from any angle and fall in love with it?s design
? Fuel efficient and torquey diesel engines
? High quality paint and fit and finish
? Exhaustive feature and safety equipment ? EPS, ABS, EBD, Airbags, all 4 disc brakes
? Ease of City Driving
? Legroom and Headroom throughout and a practical Boot
? Class leading NVH levels
? Extensive list of service centers and spare part availability
? Suspension too soft and bumpy for highway rides
? Un-inspiring steering dynamics
? Steering has long-term knocking problems
? The brakes do a shoddy job of straight line even when there are disks all around
? No sunroof and projectors (projectors added in the later models)
Hyundai Fluidic Verna changed the way the customers looked at the C-segment sedans. Having had given the Honda and the Maruti, a run for their money, the Hyundai Fluidic Verna turned out to be the first successful car in their sedan line up, the Elantra and the Sonata managing poor sales figures all throughout their lifetime. The Verna?s fluidic design inspired confidence in Hyundai and the Indian customer then saw a flurry of other Hyundais sporting the same design. The first in segment features in the Verna forced the other car makers to take notice and give more and more value to the customer.
Of late, the sales are falling quiet steeply for the Verna. The upcoming 2017 Verna is all set to re-conquer the market share lost to the Ciaz and the City and once again set new standards and benchmark in terms of quality, refinement, features and safety. What needs to be seen is whether it will create the same magic as the Verna did in 2011 or if it is too late in the game.
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