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Hyundai gives new Verna added kit, better ride

S.Muralidhar | Updated on August 20, 2020 Published on August 20, 2020

There has been a gradual shift away from Fluidic design S Muralidhar   -  S Muralidhar

The most prominent change on the dashboard is the new floating, 20.3cm HD touchscreen for the infotainment system   -  S Muralidhar

The compact family sedan buyer gets more choice and new features in the Verna

The Coronavirus lockdown and its debilitating effect on the sales of passenger cars is still an ongoing situation. But that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from going ahead with their planned new launches. The competitive spirit is alive; and one significant launch of last month was the new 2020 Hyundai Verna. More than a refresh, the new Hyundai sedan will take on the likes of the new Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the Volkswagen Vento.

The Verna has evolved over the last nine years to become a more universally appealing car with improved road manners; especially the generation launched in 2017. The outgoing 2019 model year Verna was already quite good in the design and build quality departments and in driving dynamics too, with a lot of the understeer that plagued the previous generation being sorted out.

Design

Hyundai has used the change over to BS VI emission standards to take the new 2020 Verna’s build quality, features and refinement level a notch higher. In recent years, Hyundai’s design philosophy has been a mixed bag with its different models. There has been a gradual shift away from Fluidic design and the current generation of models feature sharper leading angles and oversized grilles etc., that have made the design of some vehicles such as the new Sonata’s quirky and radical. Thankfully, the new Verna’s design sits just right, comfortably straddling family connect and appealing proportions.

Common design language that connects the new Verna with its predecessor and at the same time with other cars in the portfolio is very evident at the front, where the crescent shaped headlamps merge into the frameless grille, and the sharp angles in the sculpted front fender remind me of the bigger sibling Elantra. My test mule organised by Hyundai was the SX trim variant of the 1.5-litre petrol engine with the IVT gearbox. This one featured a dark chrome finished grille, a new, more attractive set of alloys, front and rear diffusers with more chrome trim highlights. From the side the new Verna remains almost unchanged. At the rear, there are small changes to the tail-lamps and the boot lid with its integrated spoiler lip. Incidentally, the boot lid is now auto opening; walk up to it with the key in your possession and it opens up allowing access to the luggage area. The one-litre Kappa, turbo GDI engine that we’ve seen in the Venue makes it to the Verna too at a higher state of tune, this version gets a few special trim changes to the exterior.

Cabin

The 2020 Verna cabin gets a considerably differentiated dashboard with new features, though a lot of the layout of the rest of the interior seems to have been carried over. The cabin gets a dual tone beige and black colour theme, except in the Turbo GDi versions which get an all-black interior. The most prominent change on the dashboard is the new floating, 20.3cm HD touchscreen for the infotainment system. Positioned at the top of the centre stack, this screen offers access to all the functions of the AVNT including Hyundai’s own BlueLink connected car features. The multi-function steering wheel can also be used for access to all these functions and voice commands too. The top trim variants also get cooled front seats, a feature that was earlier only offered in the Elantra.

The Turbo versions get an all-black theme with red accents on the aircon vents and contrast stitching on the seats, while the other two powertrain versions get dual-tone seats and chrome accents depending on the trim level. The instrument cluster is now a 10.7cm digital display showing a regular speedo and a tachometer in reverse progression. Thankfully there is a numeric readout also, in addition to a MID (multi-info display) in the middle offering fuel efficiency, distance to empty and other such information. A cooled glovebox and a wireless phone charger are a couple of the other features on offer. Fit and finish quality has improved, and the switchgear also feels solid and like a segment above. However, the space inside the new Verna continues to feel more cramped than some of the other sedans in the segment. The notchback style roofline and the relatively tighter legroom at the rear means that tall passengers may feel cramped.

Performance

The 2020 Verna is being offered with three engines (all BS6 compliant) and three transmission options. The 1-litre Turbo GDi engine is offered only in one SX(O) trim level and only with the 7-speed DCT (dual clutch) gearbox. This engine delivers 120PS of power and 172Nm of torque. Despite the relatively lower popularity of diesel, the Verna will continue to be offered with the option of the 1.5-litre, U2 CRDi Diesel engine that generates 115PS of power and 250Nm of torque. The transmission options for this engine are a 6-speed manual and a torque converter automatic. My test mule, however, sported the 1.5-litre MPi petrol engine with the IVT automatic transmission. The engine delivers 115PS of power and 145Nm of torque. The improved refinement of the engine and the better cabin isolation measures is immediately evident when I step behind the wheel and pull out of the driveway. The cabin is really quiet and the steady ride quality makes it feel like a car from a higher segment. Power doesn’t get delivered in dollops though, with the peak at a relatively high 6,300rpm and the redline at 6,500rpm. But the midrange offered by this engine is strong enough to quickly climb into 3-digit speeds and the IVT delivers decently quick, imperceptible shifts. Engine noise levels start becoming audible in the cabin when the needle crosses 4,000rpm.

Bottom Line

The ride quality of my test mule was excellent over bad roads. The suspension soaks up undulations and manages to let the Verna keep its poise without even so much as the noise of the wheels going over a pothole being transmitted into the cabin. But, though it seems rigid yet well-behaved over the straights, the suspension is not stiff enough to tackle hard cornering. Ride quality is still a big improvement over the predecessors.

The new Verna gets a number of small, but significant upgrades (for example: tyre pressure monitoring system). The Turbo version also gets steering-mounted paddle shifters, making it an option for enthusiasts. Prices for the 2020 Verna start at ₹9.31 lakh for the 1.5 petrol S variant and go up to ₹15.1 lakh for the 1.5 diesel SX(O) AT variant.

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Published on August 20, 2020
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