Bang in the middle of the mid-size sedan war. Hyundai expects to sell 4-5000 units of the new Verna every month which is a big number considering the Honda City sells about 5-6000 units a month. Apart from the City, the Verna will also have to contend with the Maruti Ciaz, Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento.
The mid size sedan segment ‘was’ pretty much one of the most popular segment in the Indian automotive scene, however of late the limelight has been stolen by compact SUV’s and hatchbacks that pretend to look like SUV’s. In a bid to bring the excitement back into the sedan segment, manufacturers are loading their cars to the gills with high tech features and promise a better driving experience as well. Skoda did a major rework on its Rapid and Honda just spruced up its ever popular City as well. From Hyundai’s end, the Verna has been quite a popular sedan but it was majorly due for an upgrade and now the Korean giant has finally brought in the next-gen Verna to take the fight to the competition.
The fluidic Verna when launched was a real sensation when it came to design, especially since its predecessor was quite a bland design. The new car isn’t nearly as ground breaking when it comes to the design, but is more of an evolution. It gets the family’s cascading grille along with a more sleeker profile. We especially loved the gun-metal grey 5-spoke alloy wheels which really stand out. The car is also grown with the wheelbase going up by 10mm, length by 15mm and is also 29mm wider.
On the insides again, it isn’t a great leap forward but still quite pleasing. Hyundai loves beige and the dashboard gets black and beige dual tone treatment. It also gets a new 7-inch Arkham infotainment system with IPS panel that gets AppleCarplay, Android-auto and mirror link connectivity. Since the world lives on gadgets these days, you also get two USB ports upfront along with a 12-volt socket. There’s a USB charging port at the back too. Another first in the segment feature that the Verna gets is ventilated seats which should be a boon in those hot summer days. It also gets Eco Coating, that basically neutralises the air inside the cabin and eliminates any odour. Hyundai has also added rear curtains along with handsfree smart trunk making it extremely utility rich. Furthermore, the new car also gets leather upholstery, sunroof, 6 airbags, rear AC vents and then some.
On the mechanical front, the new car see’s a sea of changes. The platform itself is brand new. The K2 platform gets ‘super body structure’ which is built on an advanced high strength steel structure that ensures extremely good rigidity and crash performance.
Powering the new Verna is a 1.6 litre petrol and a 1.6 litre diesel engine. The talking point here are the power figures which Hyundai claims are best in the segment. The petrol motor makes an impressive 120bhp while the diesel makes a stonking 125bhp. It also gets a 6-speed manual transmission on both the engines. The big news however is the introduction of the 6-speed auto box which replaces the dreary 4 speeder in both the petrol and the diesel motors.
We got a short stint behind the wheel in the diesel variants and we must say the engines had us impressed with power delivery and refinement. Hyundai says it has moved the ride and handling game to the next level too thanks to the new K2 platform and by precise tuning of key suspension components that are vital for ride and handling. We did throw the car around for a bit and it seems Hyundai has finally hit the right balance. But we can only talk about the details once we get to drive the car out in the real world.
The new Verna then has moved the game forward when you compare it to its predecessor. It’s loaded with features, some which are first in its segment. It’s also got the most powerful engines in its class and now with a ride and handling package to match it does make a formidable package. But will it take the fight to the current champion, the Honda City and the likes of the Maruti Ciaz and the Skoda Rapid? Our exhaustive review shall answer that question soon.
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