Hyundai 4S Fluidic Verna 1.4 VTVT is the Base variant which sits in the beginning of the saloon?s range. Being the entry level trim, 4S Fluidic Base petrol misses out many features on the outside, inside and on safety front. On the outside, Base petrol is bereft of exterior fitments such as alloy wheels, chrome finished outside door handles, projector head lights with escort function chrome rear garnish, front fog lights and electrically foldable outside rear view mirrors. Inside the cabin, equipments that have been left out are wood grain instrumental panel finish, leather pack which comprises of leather wrapped steering, TGS knob, console armrest and driver armrest. Besides these, cabin also lacks chrome finished AC vents, chrome inside door handles and chrome rear garnish. Instrument panel is deprived of supervision cluster, driver information display lacks ignition key reminder and gear shift indicator. IC light adjustment is yet another feature missing in the cabin. From the comfort section features missing in 4S Fluidic 1.4 VTVT includes smart key with push button start, fully automatic air conditioner, cluster ionizer, sliding front console armrest with storage space, rain sensing wipers, telescopic motor driven power steering, luggage lamp, driver side auto up-down power windows with time lag, delay out interior lamps, front map lamp, sunglass holder, glove box cooling, height adjustable front seatbelts for driver and co-passenger. Leather upholstery is also missing along with tilt adjustable driver?s seat. Among the safety features, rear view camera with display on ECM, rear parking sensors, impact sensing auto door unlock, rear defogger with timer, automatic headlight control and airbags.
The first Verna to be sold in India was actually the Accent's next-generation replacement. Hyundai wanted to sell both simultaneously - at different price points, of course - hence, the Verna nomenclature was introduced in 2006. The Verna had a tough time in the market. What started off as an inoffensive, boring sedan only got worse with its scary midlife makeover in 2010 (Verna Transform - link to image). As one would expect, the ugly styling didn't go down too well with the masses, and it showed in the mediocre sales numbers. Even though the Verna had segment-first features like rear disc brakes, driver armrest, diesel + automatic combination (in 2009), the car failed to create an impact and remained a rather forgettable sedan.
Then came the 4th generation Accent - the model India knows as the Fluidic Verna. This car turned the tables around for Hyundai. Sales shot up & stayed above the 4,000 / month level for a long time, even touching 6,000 on occasion! The Hyundai Verna convincingly dethroned the Honda City from the top of the C2 segment charts. The fluidic styling (which some found overdone) became a hit with the masses. It was sold with 4 engine options (1.4L / 1.6L in both, petrol & diesel) to cover a wide range of price points, with optional automatic transmissions too. The Fluidic Verna boasted many segment-first features such as 6 airbags, a reversing camera, keyless entry & go, electric folding mirrors and more. Interior fit & finish were second to none. It did have weaknesses though. The rear seat was positioned too low, offering poor underthigh support. And just like its predecessor, high speed ride & handling were poor.
In Jan 2014, Honda launched the 4th-generation City...this time with a diesel engine & superior equipment levels. Almost overnight, the Verna went into limp mode. Its sales average for the first half of 2014 dived to 3,406 / month, while the monthly average over July - Dec 2014 was 2,283. Fierce competition also emerged from unexpected quarters, namely the Maruti Ciaz. A giant leap ahead of the SX4 in every way (including quality), the Ciaz has already sold over 6,000 copies in 2 of the 4 months of full production.
While the Verna still manages to outsell its European & American rivals by a healthy margin, it now occupies a distant 3rd place in the C2 sedan pecking order. No doubt, the Verna is also beginning to show its age, as its been around for 4 years now. When spending big bucks, Indians love the 'freshest', hence age can be a major deterrent to sales. The facelift we're reviewing here is possibly the last update to the Verna, before the next-generation model comes in
Of late, Hyundai has started adding prefixes to its model names. Case in point, the 'Grand' i10 & 'Elite' i20. The Verna undergoes the same process, although not as convincingly. Hyundai calls this facelifted version the '4S' Verna. What does 4S stand for? Style, Speed, Sophisticated interiors and Safety . For all you know, the next-generation Verna too will carry a fancy pretext before its name.
I love the styling of this facelift and can safely say that it's one of the handsomest cars from the Hyundai stable. We'll cover the exact design differences in the photo captions below. One welcome move by Hyundai is ABS coming in as standard across all variants. They have retained the top variant with 6 airbags too. However, the company has silently removed the rear disc brakes!! You might recollect that rear disc brakes were removed from the 2010 Verna Transform, but reintroduced on the 2011 Fluidic Verna. Apart from this, there are minor additions to the interiors which we'll list in the next post. On the mechanical front, Hyundai has tweaked the power steering and rear suspension.
The face looks like a toned down version of the Sonata, rather than a reworked Fluidic Verna:
Side profile remains largely unchanged. The prominent waistline, swooping roofline, chrome door handles and 16" diamond cut alloy wheels are all the same as before:
Rear 3/4th view. Changes to the rear are a lot more subtle:
Stunning new headlamps. They remind me of the Ciaz' unit for some reason. Notice how large the projector appears. It even has the eyelid we'd earlier seen in the Elite i20:
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