Feels at ease

K Shivraj
Saturday, 7 October 2017

The new Hyundai Verna is stylish, easy to drive and is also good value for money, but the rear seat could do with more support

Hyundai has introduced an all-new Verna, which is bigger than the car it replaces. It is the company’s fifth generation model. Looking premium, the new car flaunts a large chrome grille similar to that of the Xcent. The sweeping projector head lamps with integrated daytime running lights add to its dynamic frontal appearance. The running lights turn off when the hand-brake is engaged. 

Priced competitively at Rs 8 to Rs 12.5 lakh for the petrol, and Rs 9.20 to Rs 12.6 lakh for the diesel, ex-showroom Delhi, the new Verna is fitted with a segment-first projector fog lamps. The new Verna looks contemporary with soft lines and a taut skin. With a European hue to it, it has a coupe-like sloping roof. The 16-inch dia diamond-cut wheels and the chrome window line add a sporty undertone to the design. At the rear, the deep bumper looks ‘heavy’ but is skilfully masked by the black plastic accent on the lower portion.  

The dash is new, and seems to borrow from the Creta and Elantra. Some commonality of switchgear is evident. The trim quality and fit-finish of parts is of good quality. A large cooled glovebox and other storage areas add a practical touch to the layout. 

The front seats are supportive, and like those of the Elantra have perforations built into their upholstery. The rear seat feels a bit low and tall people could find themselves sitting with their knees up. The coupe-like sloping roof could make them feel a bit short of head room. Those at the rear get air con vents, a manual sunblind on the rear windscreen, Isofix child seat mounts and adjustable neck restraints. 

Storage capacity at the rear is 480 litres, roughly 20 litres more than the earlier generation Verna.  

While the sunroof is available on the top-spec SX (O) and SX+, the new car comes with a seven-inch touchscreen. Other than Android and Apple CarPlay, the system has voice commands. The audio sound quality is good. Apart from six-airbags, the top-spec Verna gets cruise control, hands-free boot opening, auto head lamps and auto dimming mirror. The Hyundai Auto Link includes a Bluetooth dongle that connects to an app on the driver’s smartphone. Besides distance travelled and time taken for each driving schedule, the system conveys vehicle speed and engine load, sudden braking and sudden acceleration info. The system displays these in the form of bars. The greener they are, the better the efficiency. 

The 123bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine feels more responsive at low rpm. Pulling away smoothly in higher gears at speeds lower than expected, the new Verna could easily roll ahead in top gear at low speeds with the engine turning in the region of 1300-1400rpm. This, however, does not mean that the engine is free-revving. As the rpm rises, the dual variable valve timing engages itself to result in a strong pull at revs about 4000rpm. Some downshifting and a push of the gas pedal does the trick. The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and precise. The clutch may feel a bit snappy at times, but is light. The auto transmission on the 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel Verna feels a bit sluggish. The brakes of the new Verna exert a strong bite. Revised steering geometry and a stiffer monocoque make the new car noticeably better to drive. Body roll is evident on a twisty mountain stretch. The suspension still feels a bit soft and the new chassis has amounted to a big improvement.  

A big improvement in dynamics and engine  make the new Verna appealing, comfortable and easy to drive.


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