Verna 2017

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Review: 2017 Hyundai Verna

Driven August 2017

Review: 2017 Hyundai Verna

The Verna has been around for a while now. It’s a name that India is familiar with. And through its time with us, it has gone through two major refreshes and one minor facelift. The facelifted Verna is the most recent one we have gotten. It’s never been the greatest in its segment and with the arrival of the Ciaz and the new City, the numbers haven’t been great despite its trump card of features. All that is about to change, because the all new Verna just brought out the big guns.

Let’s start off with the way it looks. The new Verna now uses the new K2 platform that the Elantra uses. So, this is in no way a rehash of the older car. It looks completely new. The car itself is now longer and wider. The front end is all new and gets a fresh grille and new headlight clusters that incorporate LED DRLs, cornering lights and a new projector fog lamp. It also gets new 16-inch, diamond cut wheels and a new tail section. The tail uses an all new, sportier bumper design and an Elantra-esque LED tail light. The entire car has spent a lot of time in the aero room and as a result the profile is very coupe like and flowing. Overall, it is a great looking car even though one can complain that it looks too much like the other new Hyundais of late.

The insides too are new. And while the design itself takes after the family look, there is not a complaint that can be voiced about the quality of materials or the features that it comes with. The dual tone colours give you a sense of space and the seats themselves offer adequate support. There is adequate space at the rear for the average Indian and Hyundai has redesigned the rear footwell to make room for rear passengers too. What we really like, though, is its extensive list of features. The Verna brings over 20 new features in its new avatar. Rather than going into every single one of them, we will tell you about the most significant ones.

Our favourite is the new ventilated front seats. A segment first, the seats are a welcome addition to our hot climate. The new car also gets a sunroof, a new infotainment display that uses an IPS display that ensures good visibility in all light conditions and across all viewing angles. The system integrates Android Auto, CarPlay and Mirror Link for smartphone connectivity and also gets SatNav and Bluetooth connectivity. The unit gets a new surround sound module from Arkamys for excellent audio output. Aside from this, all variants will get at least two airbags and ABS as standard with the top end variant getting six airbags. There are also a lot of other interesting features like the automated bootlid release that will open the boot by itself if the key fob is within 3 feet of the boot for more than three seconds – useful when you have two full bags of groceries. The new car also gets rear AC vents and a new rear privacy screen.

So yes, that is an impressive list of features, half of which we haven’t even discussed yet. But more than all of this, what is most impressive is how the car handles and rides. The new K2 platform uses 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel. This itself has some amount of impact on how rigid the car now feels. Hyundai have also changed the suspension mounting systems and the suspension itself so as to find a good mix of dynamics and ride quality. The car still uses McPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear, but the tuning has now become stiffer. This means there is no body roll around corners and the car holds its line impressively well. Turn in isn’t the quickest in the segment, but it isn’t something to complain about and works well for what this car is meant for – lots of urban use and moderate amounts of highway use. And despite the low rolling resistance Hankooks it was running, the Verna kept up well at high speeds over twisty roads.

What is really surprising, though, is how good the ride is despite the improvements in handling. The older Verna was always too softly sprung for me and at anything less than urban speeds, the car would crash through potholes and uneven roads. The new car is very different. The ride quality on this Verna might just be the best in the segment right now. The suspension stays well behaved and refined over almost every road condition. The rear suspension did feel a lot stiffer than it needs to be. It felt like it needed some more weight at the rear to start working well. But otherwise, top class ride!

The new cars use 1.6L diesel and petrol motors. The diesel, which is the one we drove, makes 126bhp and 260Nm of torque. The new tuning makes the torque come in way earlier and also makes for a fatter torque spread. Unlike the old car, the spike in torque when the turbo spools up is not as aggressive. There is also more usable power before the turbo kicks in. This does wonders for city driving. The old 4 and 5-speed automatic gearboxes have now been tossed and both the petrol and diesel cars come with a new 6-speed ‘box. The petrol manual too gets a new 6-speed gearbox. Hyundai says that the new cars are also a bit more efficient than before. But actual numbers and figures will have to wait till we test the car later this month.

Overall, the new Verna is a superb car. When you compare it to its rivals it offers more value and that too without any compromises in any department. It handles well, rides really well, has a great engine, has a ton of features and also looks very contemporary. And the top end diesel manual will cost you Rs 12.40 lakh (ex-Mumbai). The price alone makes for a compelling argument for the Verna considering everything that it brings to the table. All we can say is, Hyundai has now taken the game to the next level and the competition better watch out.

Specs: 1582cc, 4-cyl turbo-diesel, 126bhp, 260Nm

Pros: Features, ride and handling
Cons: Braking

Verdict: The Verna is so good that the competition had better watch out

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Ashok George

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