More than 10 years ago when Hyundai India had launched the Verna CRDi turbo-diesel sedan, it behaved like Usain Bolt on a run, but wearing heels, i.e. while the engine was very powerful and responsive, the chassis and suspension didn’t match up. Not any more. Over the last few years Hyundai India engineers, it appears, have worked a lot of improving the driving dynamics of their cars. This has started to show: In the new Creta, in the Venue, and now in the new Verna. We drive the latter in and around Delhi. But first, the design. For about 10 years the Verna has maintained an edge over other midsize sedans as far as design is concerned. Agreed, design is subjective, but you’d find few people who’d not appreciate the flowing design lines on the Verna.
The new Verna, which it’s not a generation-change, has enough new design elements, and the turbo trim offers design integrations like twin-tip muffler, glossy black grille and all-black interiors. The cabin of top-end variants has features such as front ventilated seats, tyre pressure monitoring system, a 20.32-cm touchscreen with navigation and HD display, driver rear-view monitor, paddle shifters (for DCT variant), wireless phone charger and electric sunroof, among others. The digital cluster, in particular, is future-proof—it looks like a video game console. In a smart marketing move, Hyundai India is offering three engine options and four gearbox options in the new Verna, so there are 11 variants that are distinctly different from each other.
The engine choices are 1.5-litre CRDi turbo-diesel (115 PS power), 1.5-litre petrol (115 PS) and 1.0-litre turbo-petrol (120 PS). The gearbox options are six-speed manual, IVT automatic, DCT automatic and six-speed automatic. We drove the 1.0-litre turbo GDi petrol DCT SX(O) variant. Feature-loaded it is, excitement-loaded it is more. Turbo-petrol are a new set of engines that produce immense power and yet are fuel-efficient. But the suspension and chassis has to be capable enough to rein-in that power, and this is precisely the case with the new Verna—no matter how quickly you accelerate it on a straight road or on curves, the car doesn’t feel it is going out of control. Harsh braking, similarly, doesn’t make the car lose its line, provided the driver is in complete control over the steering wheel (in extreme conditions, like on gravel or when it’s raining heavily, it anyway would).
The turbo-petrol is surprisingly fuel-efficient—driving in traffic-free Delhi at an average speed of about 35kpl, I got 17.7 km to a litre of petrol. The Verna also gets Hyundai connected car technology, i.e. Blue Link, the in-built device powered by Vodafone-Idea eSIM and a cloud-based voice recognition platform. Blue Link services in the Verna are complimentary for three years from the date of purchase. Some of its variants also, surprisingly, offer SUV-like features, such as hill-start assist control, and some variants have luxury-car-kind of features, such as front park-assist sensors.
The new Verna is priced from Rs 9.3 lakh for the entry-level 1.5-litre petrol manual variant, going up to Rs 15.09 lakh for 1.5-litre diesel automatic. However, more or less similar variants are also available in other midsize sedans at more or less the same price. What sets the Verna apart is the futuristic 1.0-litre turbo GDi petrol DCT SX(O) variant, which you won’t find in any other midsize sedan, and is our pick.
(For this review we drove the 1.0-litre turbo GDi petrol DCT SX(O) variant, priced Rs 13.99 lakh, ex-showroom.)
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