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2017 Hyundai Verna: Comfortable, and feature-loaded

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-09-2017 Priyadarshan Bawikar

When Hyundai introduced the fluidic Verna a few years ago, it was a car that appealed to a wide audience. It looked futuristic and, in true Hyundai fashion, was loaded with features. Naturally, the car went on to dominate its segment for a fairly long time. Then competitors like the Maruti Ciaz and Honda City offered customers more comfortable and spacious alternatives at similar price points. Hyundai now intends to take back its crown with the fifth-generation Verna. Prices start from Rs7.99 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi).

The new Verna is built on an all-new platform—dubbed K2. The platform uses a lot of high-strength steel without compromising too much on weight. When you look at its profile, it may resemble the outgoing car, but step closer and you’ll soon notice the difference. 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 and the roof has an almost coupe-like appearance.

The 16-inch alloy wheels have smart new “diamond-cut” design, which look a tad small for this car, especially at the rear. The triangular tail-lamps are now slimmer and wider, and they make the car look wider than it is. The inside is familiar with most of the controls shared with other Hyundai cars, though the steering wheel is new. They are of the highest quality though and, overall, this is a very neatly laid out cabin.

There’s a 7-inch touchscreen which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and you can also use voice commands to operate the infotainment features. The car comes with cooled/ventilated front seats, a feature taken from the more expensive Elantra sedan. Safety is paramount in this car. The top-spec variants come 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 seating is a bit low and lacks adequate thigh support. The car’s swooping roof means it can feel a little tight for tall people.

The old car’s 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines return virtually unchanged in the new Verna too. There are new six-speed automatic and manual transmissions as well, which replace the four-speed automatic transmission from before, and the five-speed manual of the outgoing car.

The diesel is the same 128hp, 1,582cc four-cylinder engine. What’s immediately noticeable when you start off is just how silent this motor is at idling speeds. In fact, this is one of the quietest diesels in its class. The engine feels refined and driveable, and the motor pulls very nicely right from the word go. The 1.6 litre petrol motor makes 123hp and is also incredibly smooth. Sure, it doesn’t have the same kick as the diesel, but power delivery is linear throughout. The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and precise, and even the clutch is pretty light. The diesel automatic feels a tad lazy and gear shifts aren’t particularly quick, but it does the job for everyday commutes.

The company focused a lot on this car’s handling, based on feedback from customers. The stiffer body has resulted in the car being significantly better to drive than the outgoing Verna. This car’s ride in the city feels great, and bumps as well as potholes are handled well. It doesn’t bounce around at highway speeds or over less than perfect driving surfaces like it used to. The new Verna feels much more composed overall.

It offers better dynamics, along with a powerful and refined diesel that is now mated to six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. It rides and handles a whole lot better than the outgoing car and the cabin is a bit more spacious. Its equipment list, which goes head-to-head with cars in the Rs20-lakh bracket, will definitely be a big draw. The only grouse is that it looks more evolutionary in terms of design, than revolutionary. But, overall, this Hyundai is for buyers who want a comfortable, feature-loaded and effortless car to drive.

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