Executive sedan segment is one segment that has witnessed some ferocious battles in the Indian automotive scene. The major contenders are the trio from the Maruti, Honda and the Hyundai stables. Hyundai’s Verna always enjoyed a significant share of this pie. However, Maruti’s Ciaz and the recently updated Honda City pushed the Verna far below the ranks in the segment. Finally, after a gap of six years since the launch of the Fluidic Verna Hyundai has brought in a comprehensively updated version of the car.
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The updates on this version are not just skin-deep but the Korean manufacturer has mended most of the chinks in the Verna armory this time. The new Verna is built on the all-new K2 platform developed by Hyundai. We test the 2017 Verna for you.
For an untrained eye, the Verna may pass on as the new Elantra. The new Verna shares a lot of styling elements of its bigger sibling. The front end is dominated by Hyundai’s new signature ‘cascading’ grille. The swept-back headlamps houses projectors and LED DRLs neatly integrated inside. A lot of chrome elements finds into the front. The chrome elements used around the fog lamps look a little out of place, but most of the Indians have a fetish for chrome and so we cannot complain.
The side profile is a blend of the previous gen fluidic Verna and the Elantra. The 16-inch diamond cut alloys get a new design along with a blend of smooth flowing lines and just enough creases and a swooped roofline renders a beautiful character to the side profile. The only gripe in the design is the rear, which looks tad ungainly with a bulky bumper and a curvy boot, which spoils otherwise beautiful and sharp design.
Hyundai has given a new design to the dashboard layout, however, it reminds and resembles many Hyundais running in India. The fit and finish as the tradition go by, is best in the class. However, we expected Hyundai to give some soft-touch plastics on the dashboard. Interior is finished with a black plus beige theme and looks just nice and nothing revolutionary. You will notice the new 7-inch touch screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
On the practicality front, the new Verna scores high with a lot of cubbyholes and storage bins including a cooled glove box. The front seats are pretty wide and comfortable, comes draped in artificial leather. The seats have tiny perforations, which pumps out cool air and that’s thoughtful feature for a hot country like ours. Due to the low seating at the back, ingress and egress are not that comfortable. This can be a concern for tall passengers at the rear. Rear seat comfort is much better in the Ciaz and the City. However, Hyundai more than compensate it with a wide and deep set of features, the packs in rear air-con vents, adjustable neck restraints at the rear, Isofix child seat mounts and manual sunblind on the rear windscreen to name a few. The car also gets an electric sunroof on the top trim SX (O) and SX+ (automatic diesel) variants. The top trim Vernas also enable you to monitor data related to engine rpm, vehicle speed and load right from your smartphone thru you a Bluetooth dongle connected to the car and the phone, a pretty cool tech.
The car gets a spacious 480 liters boot that is 20 liters more than the car it replaces. The new Verna comes with six airbags on the top variants.
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Engine and Performance
Powering the Verna is a pair of 1.6-liter petrol and diesel motors, the 1.4-liter motor now don’t find a place in the 2017 Verna assembly line.
The 1.6-liter diesel engine is a straight pick from the old car; however, Hyundai has tweaked the car to dish out power that is more useful for the daily grind. The engine generates a peak power of 128 hp with a max torque of 260 Nm at a very accessible 1500-3000 rpm range. The car has a linear power delivery and is silent at lower revs. However, the engine emanates clatter and becomes a little vocal at higher rev range. Moreover, there is no point revving the engine past 3500 rpm as the max torque starts tapering post 3000 rpm.
The 1.6-liter gasoline motor is a smooth operator and dishes out an impressive peak power of 123 hp and a decent max torque of 1250 rpm. Though not an exactly rev-happy engine, you can make some fast progress once you dial the revs post 4000 rpm.
Both the engines are mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic one. Our pick is the diesel auto.
Handling and Comfort
Hyundai Verna was never known for its handling prowess. This started with the first gen Verna which could scare you with its crazy power delivery and scary handling. Hyundai kept working relentlessly on the handling front on all the generation of Vernas, still, they all remained like boats on the road preventing the driver to explore engine’s full potential. However, this time, they nailed it! The new Verna is a huge improvement when it comes to handling and ride compared to the previous gen Vernas. Hyundai has hit a sweet spot with a reasonably stiff suspension that obviously translates to good handling but without compromising on the ride comfort. The ride is well settled and has a great straight-line stability as well. You can carry lot more speeds into the corners confidently on this Verna. The car comes with 195/55 R16 tires which also significantly aids handling. Wish the electric steering gave us better feedback to complement the improved handling and ride.