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Review: New Hyundai Verna
Driven January 2014
The Verna, in its Fluidic form, took the mid-size sedan market by storm. It unsettled the market leader, managed to get long queues outside the Hyundai dealerships and got Hyundai back in the game after the not-so-pleasing previous-gen Verna.
But critics’ had a different story to tell and car nuts hated it. And there are two reasons for it – the steering was too light and the ride was too wallowy when you took the Verna to speeds. In fact, it was so floaty that you’d wet your pants if you attempted to be too courageous with speed.
But now there’s an update. But before telling you if the engineers at Hyundai have done anything to make the Verna better at speeds, let me tell you what the designers at Hyundai have been up to.
The headlamps now get a strip of LEDs running inside the cluster. They’re not daytime-running lamps, mind you, but they do pass like ones quite easily. There are new alloy wheels that make the Verna look sportier than it already did. And that’s about it.
So getting back to whether the Verna has changed at its high-speed manners, the answer is, yes. Definitely it has. And we mean in a good way. Thank god.
So the Verna is less wallowy at expressway speeds now and there’s noticeably less vertical movement. Luckily, the change in the suspension setup has not resulted into making the low-speed ride any worse. It’s still the way it was – very good. It absorbs potholes with ease and the suspension doesn’t make an awful noise while it’s made to encounter road undulations. The not-so-good part about the suspension tweaking is that there’s still ample of body roll through corners.
The other problem that the Verna had was the super-light steering. Yes, light steerings make life easy at city speeds, but they need to weigh up with speed, which wasn’t the case in the Verna. You needed continuous correction while you were doing good speeds. And that in turn would end to be a tiring job. But Hyundai now has a solution to that and you don’t need that continuous correction anymore. On the feedback front though, it’s the same old story – there’s almost no feedback.
Under the hood of this updated Verna is the same 1.6-litre engine that was used in the previous one. And yes, it’s the same one that sits under the hood of the Elantra too. It’s good for 126bhp and 260Nm of spin. With that power rating, it makes the Verna the most powerful car in its class.
The power rating is great, but the way it puts the power down to the road isn’t very impressive. There’s lag before the blower steps in at about 2000rpm, but once that, there’s no looking back right till 5000 revs.
The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s a wonderful piece of machinery – it has sorted ratios and it is slick with short and precise throws. With this combination, the Verna hits 100kph from standstill in 11 seconds. And the motor is efficient too – 12.8kpl in the city and 18.3kpl out on open roads.
Another strong point that the Verna had, apart from the styling, was the features. It got more features than cars with much snazzier price tag did. There’s everything from a media system with USB, Aux inputs and Bluetooth connectivity, reverse camera, leather seats, electrically-folding mirrors, steering controls, the works.
Overall with an Rs 11.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai) badge, it doesn’t demand for a ransom for the kind of features that it offers. In fact, it’s Rs 17,000 cheaper than its biggest nightmare, the Honda City.
4 cyl, 1582cc, turbo diesel, 126bhp, 260Nm, 6M, FWD, 0-100kph: 11.0sec, 30-50kph (3rd): 4.30sec, 30-50kph (4th): 7.92sec, 50-70kph (5th):8.23sec, 80-0kph: 26.74m; 2.63sec, City kpl: 12.8, Highway kpl: 18.3, Rs 11.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
The Verna is now a more complete car than it was. The update has made it more solid at high speeds. But even after that, it’s still far from being a driver’s car.