Hyundai has unveiled the next generation Verna sedan for the Indian market. The Verna moniker is one of Hyundai’s long running brand names and aims to keep the South Korean automaker’s two-box presence strong in a segment that is slowly starting to get dominated by SUVs both compact and regular.
This is the fourth generation for the C-segment sedan and this time around it’s a completely new car and is underpinned by a new platform (K2). Ahead of its launch on August 22, we were given a chance to preview the sedan and here are our first impressions.
The first thing that catches your attention when you look at this new Verna is the face. It gets Hyundai’s latest cascade grille and projector headlamps with LED DRL inserts. This top-of-the-line SX diesel model gets grey coloured 16-inch five-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels. The concept of the family look seems to have caught up with Hyundai as this car mimics the Elantra in its lines and in turn appears to be the base for 2017 Xcent.
If there is one place that Hyundai manages to score well is with regard to the cabin and features. Given its place and positioning, Hyundai has ticked all the boxes and then some more when it comes to enhancing the experience between the four pillars.
In terms of matching the rivals, Hyundai has given this car a 7.0-inch touchscreen system with a mobile app, climate control, reverse camera with sensors, rear AC vents, rear central arm rest with cup holders, a 12 volt socket and 2 USB fast charging points. In addition there are 1.0-litre bottle holders in all the door pockets as well as a cooled glove box.
The ‘then some more’ line that I had referred to earlier comprises a ventilated seats and an auto boot opening feature both which are first in the segment. The space at the front is sufficient while the rear lags behind the competition and lack knee room as well as under thigh support especially when compared to the competition.
In terms of appearance, it’s a beige and black affair with hard grainy plastics for the dashboard and storage areas. However, there are padded materials and soft touch plastics for the areas of regular contact like the door handle and arm rests. The steering is leather wrapped while the gear lever gets a ring of chrome around the edges.
This next generation Hyundai Verna when launched will be offered with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as well diesel engine of the same capacity. Both of these engines can be had with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The former produces 121bhp while the latter is good for 126bhp making both the options segment leaders in terms of pure numbers.
You get McPherson struts with coil springs and gas shock absorbers in front and a coupled torsion beam axle setup for the rear suspension.
We had a go with 1.6-litre diesel automatic and manual at Hyundai’s test track in their factory outside Chennai with the new Verna.
First the manual which surprised us thanks to its punchy response. The engine pulls cleanly and in a linear manner and you hit the limiter at the 4500rpm mark. The six-speed AT is a new option for the Verna as the previous car was only offered with a four-speed AT both for the diesels as well as petrol options.
However, what impressed us the most was that Hyundai has worked on improving the handling of the car. It feels much more complete and should finally be able to ditch the ‘extra’ soft image that the previous car had developed.
On the short run that we had at the test track, we could see some of the result of a new chassis and reworked suspension as the car did decently in the corners. However, it is still on the softer side a choice we suspect that Hyundai has made to put ride quality over handling. We should be able to give you a complete picture when we test the car post the launch.
The Hyundai Verna has a tough fight as it has a lot of ground to cover in terms of taking on its two main rivals- the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Honda City. It will also face competition from the likes of the Volkswagen Vento and Skoda Rapid. The Hyundai Verna has made a comeback but now in the age of SUVs and has a large hill to climb but this time armed with modern and better tools to work its way up.