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The fifth-generation of Hyundai’s Verna is built on brand new hardware. Its new underpinnings extensively use high-strength steel to offer better rigidity and strength, without compromising too much on weight. The current Verna faced tough competition from the Honda City and the Maruti Ciaz. And so, Hyundai intends to bring it back to serious contention again with this new version.
On the outside
In terms of profile, it may resemble the outgoing car, but step closer and you’ll soon notice it’s an all-new car. There’s Hyundai’s new chrome-lined ‘cascading’ grille, flanked by larger headlight units, and there are projector beams and LED running lamps. The fog lamps are encased in neat chrome-lined housings. The roof has a coupe-like appearance and the gently rising window line make it look like its predecessor.
There are smart new ‘diamond-cut’ design for the 16-inch alloy wheels fitted into 195/55 R16 tyres, which look a tad small for this car, especially at the rear. In the quest to raise ground clearance, the car does appear a bit ‘jacked up.’ The triangular tail-lamps are now slimmer and wider, and they make the car look wider than it is. The new Verna, however, doesn’t look as big as the City or the Ciaz.
On the inside
The interior is familiar - the steering wheel is new, while most of the other controls and switchgear are shared with other cars. They’re of the high-quality and this is a very neatly laid out cabin. Hyundai has, as ever, loaded this car with equipment.
There’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen, found in other Hyundais, but upgraded in the Verna – it features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and you can also use voice commands (a segment first) to operate some of the infotainment features. The car comes with cooled/ventilated front seats, that chilled brilliantly, even on the lowest setting. Safety is paramount in this car – the K2 platform has a very high level of crashworthiness. The top-spec cars comes fitted with six airbags, ISOFIX mounts for child seats and adjustable height seat belts.
There are rear air-con vents now and the seat offers more legroom as well. The seat is set a bit low, lacking slightly in thigh support, while the car’s swooping roof and thick headliner (to accommodate the sunroof) means headroom is a little tight for tall people.
Under the hood
The old car’s 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines return virtually unchanged in the new Verna. But Hyundai has added new transmissions. There are new six-speed units now. We tested the automatic and manual versions of the diesel motor. The manual is rather quiet and the gearbox is very smooth. There’ a nice, linear build-up of power but it doesn’t feel phenomenally punchy for a 128hp motor. Power is very generous – it pulls cleanly from low revs, and you can cruise at high speeds comfortably. Hyundai’s 1.6 diesel motor is clearly a step ahead of the competition.
The diesel auto feels a bit lazy and gearshifts are not particularly quick, but, overall, it’s quite smooth and refined. The car pulls generously and the engine always feels like it has a lot of power on tap. The car feels much more stable now – Hyundai has listened to feedback from customers and has heavily reworked the suspension geometry. The stiffer chassis allows far better body control and the car is quite stable at high speeds.
Is it worth the money?
Though it’s still not the sportiest to handle, the steering doesn’t feel as loose or disconnected as before. This car scores high on refinement – it’s possibly one of the quietest diesels in its class.
The New Hyundai Offers better dynamics, along with a powerful and refined diesel that is now mated to six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. A grouse is that it looks a little bit like the old car in many ways - the styling is more evolved and the interiors are also too familiar, which may turn some buyers away. Bookings for the new Verna have now commenced and the carmaker will announce prices soon.