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2018 Hyundai Verna first test drive impression

S. Muralidhar | Updated on January 09, 2018

Verna1.1

Verna2.1

Verna3.1

Smarter looks and features should help bring excitement back to the C-segment

The Verna has been an under-performer for Hyundai over the last two years. It has managed to clock only about a tenth of the sales of its two key rivals - the Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. And the Verna's sales numbers are barely over four per cent of the segment total.

The time is then ripe for the new generation of the Verna to make its India debut. Frankly, the entire segment could do with some fresh blood and the key takeaway for a car maker looking to be the disruptor is to offer the buyer in this segment the big car experience. That then translates into more features, more space and more power. For Hyundai, the answer then lies in making the Verna seem like a slightly smaller, but no less significant a sibling of the Elantra.

Design

The new 2018 Hyundai Verna, the fifth generation of the mid-size sedan, gets a whole new platform; internally called the new 'K2' platform. The platform is intrinsically more rigid, involves an increased use of high strength steel (50 per cent of it in the new Verna). The platform boosts the overall structural integrity and safety of the sedan. The new model also gets a design overhaul making it obediently follow the Fluidic 2.0 Design language which by now we are familiar with. But, while there are clearly identifiable elements from the Elantra in the new Verna, it still refers back to the lines of the outgoing model. The large signature bonnet grille with chrome slats now follows the Cascade design, the curved headlamps, the tail-lamps with the signature LEDs have all been inspired by the Elantra, but reinterpreted in the Verna. Even the Verna's boot-lid lip has been borrowed from the Elantra.

The new Verna is also bigger, though the exact figures for the India-spec model haven't been revealed yet. The only observable bit about the dimensions which we didn't like was the roof, which is quite tight at the rear. The tightly curved roofline seems to have affected the headroom, so it will be a bit of a squeeze for six-footers.

Build and Interiors

With the addition of LED DRLs, the new 16-inch diamond cut alloys and the LED tail-lamps, the new Verna's exterior looks plusher, though by not much, since the outgoing model was not a pushover anyway. The interior of the new Verna tells a better story with a distinct improvement in material and finish quality.

Quality of plastic parts, and knobs and controls get a big jump in touch and feel quality. The new Verna gets a big jump in the number of features and many of them seem to have been brought in from the more expensive sibling. Cruise control, ventilated front seats, smartphone connectivity, rear aircon vents, electric sunroof, cornering lamps and a new eco-coating tech for the evaporator to make the cabin air odour-free are some of the new premium additions in the Verna.

Engines

The new Verna gets revised versions of the same petrol and diesel engines that were offered in the outgoing model. The 1.6-litre Dual VTVT petrol engine now offers 123PS of peak power. This petrol engine is now paired with a 6-speed manual transmission and a new torque converter 6-speed automatic transmission. The diesel engine is the 1.6-litre U2 CRDi mill. This engine now produces 128PS of peak power and is mated to the same two (MT and Auto) transmissions. More details regarding the engine's torque outputs and the fuel efficiency figures are awaited.

Ride and Handling

Light-weighting and increased torsional stiffness, thanks to the increased use of high strength steel means that the new Verna's handling gets better than the predecessor. Together with increased width and the longer wheelbase, the new Verna doesn't understeer as much as the outgoing model.

We got to test drive the new Verna on the test track at Hyundai's Chennai plant and the first impression is very positive. The handling seems to have gotten much better. The overall ride quality and poise on the road is good. Steering precision has also improved, and though it still lacks in feedback and feels over-assisted, there is a lot more confidence while taking corners in the new Verna. We were driving on smooth, well-laid black top tarmac, so the suspension quality can't be commented about.

But, Hyundai officials say that the suspension has been tuned for improved rear seat ride quality. The rear suspension geometry has been modified by increased vertical angle of the shock absorbers and coil springs on the coupled torsion beam axle. Front suspension gets a hydraulic rebound stopper.

Bottomline

The new Verna is a clear step up from the model's previous iteration. The bump in quality and features will unsettle the competition even more if the Verna gets an aggressive price tag too. For the buyer in this segment, the new Verna is good news because it will deliver more value, and the feel and features of a pricier car.



Key USPs of Next-Gen Hyundai Verna

- New Cascade Grille

- New projector headlamps with LED DRL

- LED Tail-lamps

- Shark-fin antenna

- 16-inch Diamond cut allots

- Built on new K2 Platform

- Cruise Control

- Auto Link smartphone connectivity

- 7-inch Infotainmant

- Ventilated front seat

- Rear A/C vents

- Rear privacy curtain

- Eco-coating Tech for evaporator for odour control

- Hands-free smart trunk

- Electric sunroof

- Voice Recognition

- 6 Airbags

- Cornering Lamps



Published on August 04, 2017

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