New Hyundai Verna first drive review: A warning flare for the competition

The new Hyundai Verna has a lot of new features that make it a serious competitor in its segment, but does it have what it takes to take on the Honda City ?

By:Updated: Nov 14, 2017 11:21 AM


The new 2017 Hyundai Verna has been in the news for a long while and today we got an exclusive preview of the car at the company’s plant near Chennai. Verna has been a popular model both globally and in India and has sold more than 8.8 million units globally and more than 3.17 lakh in India since its launch. The new Verna will provide Hyundai with the much-needed competitiveness in the segment as the present model felt outdated to the much newer Honda City, Skoda Rapid and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. In order to all out against the competition, Hyundai has done with the Verna what it does best – load the car with features from a segment above and offer a striking design. So, does all this come together to offer an experience that would force people to consider the Verna? We have driven the car briefly and here’s what we feel.

New Hyundai Verna Design

Like most global carmakers, Hyundai has adopted a homogeneous Fluidic design language for the 5th generation. However, it does have enough differences to make it stand out from a crowd of Elantras, which it does resemble when looked at from a distance. Come closer and the unique aspects of the design start unwrapping before your eyes. Approaching the car upfront, the hexagonal grille with chrome lines will be the first to catch your attention. The sleek and swept back head lamps with a triple-vertical layout and projector head lamps and LED DRLs to lend a sleek and expensive look to the front.

The side angle is one of the best-looking angles on the new Verna in my opinion as the roof tapers right from the B-pillar to the tip of the boot lid. This gives a coupe-ish stance to the car, which in turn adds a dash of sportiness to the overall design. The rear is reminiscent of the Elantra, primarily due to the similar looking tail lamps, which aren’t exactly similar though.


New Hyundai Verna Engine & Gearbox

The new Verna will be offered with a petrol and diesel engine, both displacing 1.6 litres. While the petrol will develop about 120 hp, the diesel one will develop around 123 hp. The petrol unit is a Dual VTVT unit, while the diesel one is the U2 CRDi VGT mill. Hyundai has played it smart with the transmission by offering the six-speed automatic gearbox with both petrol and diesel engines along with a six-speed manual unit.

On our brief drive on the company test track, the benefits of the new body shell and improved NVH insulation were clearly visible. At a cruising speed of 90 km/h, there was almost no sound inside the cabin except the tyre roll sound. The engines are the same as found in the present model but have been worked upon for better efficiency and improved drivability. As a result, the car now picks up from a standstill without any hesitation in the manual version and the automatic too shifts at a quick pace. However, we drove the car only on a short test track so we’ll need to drive it on the roads to give a clear verdict on the powertrain performance.

Clutch is quite light in the manual version and the gear lever throws are short and smooth, which should result in an easy-to-drive car in traffic. Acceleration was impressive and the new Verna reaches 120 km/h effortlessly and that’s the maximum we could manage on the short straight we drove on.

Fuel-efficiency figures are yet to be disclosed by Hyundai but we expect them to be at par with the segment leader and maybe better too in the case of the diesel versions.

Hyundai claims to have improved the handling and around corners, it was evident that they have. The car feels significantly more stable than the present Verna and body-roll is lesser now. The front too now dives a lot lesser than the present model and we are confident this should be a good car to drive.

New Hyundai Verna Interior and Cabin

The new Verna comes with well-appointed and premium looking interiors and this is the main area where the present Verna has been losing out to the competition. The cabin is packed to the gill with features as you would expect from Hyundai. Key new features include front-ventilated seats, rear curtain, an updated infotainment system and the eco coating, which is a global debut by Hyundai. The Eco Coating helps control/ eliminate bad odour inside the cabin to maintain a pleasant experience for the occupants.

In terms of space too, the new Verna has witnessed a considerable improvement as the length, width and headroom are more than the present model. The front seats are impressively comfortable and are going to appeal to many due to the ventilation feature, which is going to keep the backside of front occupants cool in the summer. The rear seats too felt comfortable and had good side support and under-thigh support. Even with the front seat pushed all the way back, I was able to sit without my knees brushing against the front seats with a height of 5 feet 8 inches.


With the brief time spent with the new Verna, I can confidently say that Hyundai is all set to give headaches to the competition. The new Verna looks dynamic, has multiple class-leading features, comes with powerful and refined engines and offers an automatic transmission with both petrol and diesel engines. There is a significant improvement in the way it handles at high speed too and that shows the effort Hyundai engineers have put in to improve on every possible area reported by the consumers.

In the end, though, the extent of the new Verna’s success will largely depend on the pricing but looking back at the company’s past track-record, our hopes are high for a super competitive price-tag.

It should be noted though that these impressions are based on a short drive in a controlled environment. We will soon be driving the new Verna in real-world conditions so do look out for our detailed review soon.

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