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Hyundai Verna: First Drive Review

  • Sep 08, 2017
  • 3389 Views

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The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the Honda City form the bulk of sales in their segment that comprises of cars like the Volkswagen Vento, Skoda Rapid and the Hyundai Verna. The new Verna, therefore, has a clear goal - to beat the bestsellers. The 2017 Verna has grown up in terms of dimensions and looks more elegant now. It’s based on a new platform as well which is aimed at improving dynamics. Let’s find out if the new Verna has the mettle to make a comeback in the segment.


Exterior


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The new Verna is already on sale in Russia where it’s known as the Solaris. It’s a new car altogether, but you do get a glimpse of the old generation from certain angles, especially the front. The Verna is now equipped with LED DRLs, projector headlamps and fog lamps and the new cascading grille.


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From the side and the rear, its looks are more in line with the Elantra now. The new platform is the reason for the increase in length, which also makes it look more mature than the outgoing model. At 1729mm, the new Verna is wider than the previous generation by 29mm. Its wheelbase is also longer by 30mm. The height remains the same at 1475mm, but the new Verna appears to have a more raked roof than before. The tail lamp that’s similar to the Elantra and features LED elements is the design highlight of the package.


Interior


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Sit inside the Verna and you will instantly appreciate the material quality. The quality at touch points like switches on the steering wheel and other knobs feel well built. The dashboard design is, however, not as flamboyant as the exterior design. It’s similar to what we’ve seen from Hyundai cars before.


You get a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the centre. It can be operated using conveniently placed buttons as well, which makes fiddling with the system easier.


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The front seats of the Verna are ventilated, and they should be a boon for warm countries like ours. The seats also offer decent lumbar and lateral support. We would have liked more under-thigh support, but they should be adequate for most people with average height.


Since the wheelbase is longer by 30mm, we were expecting some more space at the rear, especially since the Verna has always been a bit ‘tight’ at the rear. The longer wheelbase, however, hasn’t really translated into a roomier rear cabin. The legroom at the rear, therefore, is sufficient but not generous.


Engine and transmission


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The new Verna draws power from the existing 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. On paper, both the engines lead the segment in terms of outright power. The petrol engine makes 123PS while the diesel churns out 128PS. Both the engines are available with a manual and automatic transmission.


The diesel engine now puts out more torque at a lower rpm, which makes it linger around city speeds with relative ease. While acceleration is noticeably quicker when the engine revs touch 1700-1800rpm, the engine isn’t really dead below that as well.


The petrol engine is undeniably quieter than the two and Hyundai says that almost 130Nm of the torque comes in at around 1500rpm. The max torque that this engine generates is 151Nm. The engine appears to be tuned for making steady progress as a lot of torque is available lower in the rev range. In our short drive, we even managed to pull (slowly) from 25kmph in sixth gear!


Handling and ride quality


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The old Verna faced quite a flak for its loose dynamics, and as a countermeasure, the new Verna is based on the K2 platform with a new front and rear suspension setup. The new underpinning makes the Verna behave well around corners as the chassis largely remains flat, with slight body roll when you push it hard. The braking is linear, but the brake pedal is slightly on the firmer side.


Just like the brake pedal, the Verna’s suspension is also more on the firmer side, does a good job in absorbing road uncertainties. While the ride was never an issue with the Verna, it was high-speed stability. And the firmer suspension setup, together with the new platform, has managed to iron out the issue. Importantly, the steering is now quite direct and communicative.


Technology, Features and Safety


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The top-end Verna gets everything from navigation support to smartphone connectivity functions like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. Hyundai has also added a sunroof to the package, which apparently is one of the most sought after features. Segment-first features include cooled front seats and hands-free boot lid, which opens if you stand within three feet from it for over three seconds with the key in your pocket. Dual front airbags and ABS come standard, but for those who don’t want to compromise on safety, the top variant also gets six airbags.


Verdict


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The new Hyundai Verna falls in the Rs 7.99 – 12.39 lakh bracket, which makes it very competitive considering the fact tat it comes with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. The Verna doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the features either, and there are two automatic variants on offer with both the engines as well.
More importantly, Hyundai has managed to sort Verna’s handling, which was a major issue with the last generation. Now, Verna’s only shortcoming could be the lack of rear seat space. But that should not be a deal breaker for those who drive themselves and want a car that gets noticed.

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