The Hyundai Verna in India has been around for three generations (the first being the original Accent) and has long been overdue a major update. The new Verna will be launched in India on August 22 and will be the fifth generation of the sedan globally. With competition like the Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz outselling the current gen by almost 10 times and even the likes of the Skoda Rapid selling more units every month as compared to the Verna, the launch of the 2017 Hyundai Verna will bring a much needed push to Hyundai in this sedan segment.
So lets start with the way it looks. In a move that is very unlike Hyundai, the Korean automaker has taken an evolutionary approach to the styling on the new car. The new 2017 Hyundai Verna though does look like a shrunk down version of the larger Elantra with the swept back headlamps that house the daytime running lights and projector units and the chrome festooned projector fog lamp. The Verna also gets the new Hyundai grille design that is a lot wider than before and also a lot edgier. When viewed in profile, the Verna still has that very typically swoopy and almost fastback like look that is complimented by the 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheel that come on the top spec car.
The rear though is the most interesting and also the most progressive when it comes to overall design. To begin, the Elantra influenced tail lamps with the arrow head lighting pattern looks very edgy and the bumper has very strategically placed cuts and plastic trim that give the car a sportier stance. The Verna also gets a chrome accent piece on the boot along with new 1.6d badging nomenclature and ORVMS with integrated turn indicators.
When it comes to the interior of the new Verna, similarly to the exterior, Hyundai has opted for an evolutionary update. That said, the new interiors do look and feels considerably better than the last gen car. To begin with, the new Verna has a two tone dark grey and beige interior palette which has been matched with a satin grey central console screen bezel. Hyundai has taken a conscious call to stay away from the gloss black that you see on almost all cars today and the satin grey finish is also found on the steering wheel and other smaller plastic trims.
The new Verna gets a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment setup that comes with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also gets mirror link and the Verna’s infotainment can also be controlled by a cell phone app. The new Verna also gets Bluetooth/USB/AUX connectivity. In terms of convenience features, the new Verna gets cruise control, rear windscreen blind and a rear AC vent along with a fold down hand rest for rear passengers. But the most important addition to the Verna has got to be the addition of cooled seats, which is a segment first in India and is available only on the SX(O) variant that also gets a push button start. The Verna also comes with a sun roof in the SX and SX(O) variants.
We have had the chance to drive the new Verna for a few laps at Hyundai’s own test facility in Chennai and here is our first drive analysis. But before we go into details of how it drives, let us talk about the engine. The new Hyundai Verna comes with a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel engine, both mated to an automatic or manual 6-speed gearbox. The petrol engine makes 121 bhp and 130 Nm of peak torque while the diesel puts out 126 bhp of peak power and 245 Nm of peak torque.
We got behind the wheel of the diesel in both the manual and automatic gearbox version, so lets start with the manual first. The impressive figures on paper when it comes to power and torque figures have always translated well to tarmac in the Verna and this generation is no different. Power delivery is smooth and kicks in as low as about 1200 rpm going all the way up to about 4000 rpm. There is no sudden jerky delivery either – but linear and smooth, a trait that the Verna has always had in the past too. The big other noticeable factor in the new Verna is the level of refinement. It might not be revolutionarily quiet but it is most certainly one of the most quiet diesel sedans in its class. The Verna also scores high when it comes to vibrations and harshness with levels low enough to be invasive especially in cruising conditions.
And now to the important question! One that we are sure we will be asked over and over again by a plethora of Indian consumers who are keen to buy a sedan in this category. How does the new Hyundai Verna handle and ride? Well, the last generation Verna was plagued with issues when it came to handling due to Hyundai making sure that the chassis was tuned more towards comfort. And although this new generation Hyundai Verna is still very much tuned for comfort, it handles much MUCH better than its predecessor.