Snapshot: Hyundai has updated the Verna’s stylish to take on the likes of the Maruti Ciaz and Honda City. But is it good enough to bring it back to the buyer’s radar?
Hyundai has been the style icon in the midsize saloon segment for a while now. However the arrival of fresher rivals meant that some of that shine was starting to lose out. Hyundai of course have never been one to rest on their laurels alone and have now launched this. The new Verna 4S Fuidic. It’s essentially the same Verna with a new face and minor tweaks here and there. So should you be excited? Let’s find out.
The face is all new now. The Verna 4S has been around in the international market for a while as the Solaris. Hyundai claims this is truly a global car with sales in over 60 countries. The face now gets a big grille with two chrome slats that mimic a smile. The headlamps are more angular in their shape and that along with the sharp bonnet makes the Verna look similar to the much more expensive Toyota Altis – not a bad thing. The rear of the car now gets slightly modified lamps and the exhaust has been hidden neatly behind the bumper. All in all, the Verna looks stylish and appealing and most buyers will love it for the looks alone.
Little has changed inside the cabin except the addition of a small lever on the backrest of the front passenger seat. This lever helps the rear passenger push the front passenger seat forward to liberate greater legroom at the back. It’s a feature that will appeal to most chauffeur driven owners. Other than that it’s the same high quality cabin that has made the Verna such a hit with buyers. Every material used feels premium and well worth the asking price of the car. The rear seats offer decent legroom but the low set seat squab can be a chore for elderly people to get in and out of. Also, under thigh support isn’t as good as its key rivals, the Maruti Ciaz and Honda City.
Engine, performance and gearbox
You can choose from four engine options. There is a 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre in both petrol as well as diesel. We got to drive the 1.6-litre engines. The diesel makes 126bhp of power which makes it the most powerful car in its class. The petrol makes 121bhp of power. Just like most Hyundai cars the diesel on the Verna is the last word in refinement. Even when you rev it hard the engine remains largely unobtrusive and infact at idle occupants in the rear seats won’t be able to tell what fuel is powering the car.
Performance from the diesel is blistering to say the least. All you need to do is floor the throttle pedal and the Verna makes brisk progress. That along with the slick gearbox means that acceleration is very quick.
The petrol motor is also huge on refinement and just like the diesel remains quiet even when revved hard. Performance is brisk here too but it doesn’t have the same rev happy nature of the Honda City. The Verna petrol prefers to be driven in a sedate manner rather than like a sporty car.
Ride and handling
The single biggest criticism on the last Verna was about its softly set up suspension that wasn’t upto the mark for keen drivers. Hyundai engineers have stiffened up the suspension a bit. The car now fees stable than before as speeds exceed 100kph. That light and airy feeling about the handling has been negated. The steering wheel has more weight too. But it still isn’t a very communicative steering wheel and the suspension still doesn’t have the same confidence inspiring feel to it like the VW Vento’s. The steering still feels lifeless especially around the dead-centre position. All this of course means that the Verna remains a good car to drive around town with its light steering wheel and finding that tight parking space is a cinch.
Safety and equipment
The Verna comes with a 5-star NCAP across different parts of the globe making it one of the safest cars on sale in India. The top versions come with dual airbags, ABS and Elctronic Brake Distribution(EBD) as standard. In terms of equipment you get a cooled glovebox, 1GB storage space on the stereo, a reverse camera as well as climate control and a start/stop button among other things.
While the Verna may not have the rear seat comfort of its key rivals if offers best interior quality, best features as well as most refined diesel engines, which are also brilliant on performance. All that with the trusted Hyundai brand name makes the Verna a convincing buy in the midsize sedan segment.