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Hyundai gives Verna the facelift treatment, again

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on February 19, 2015

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It is still a nip and tuck. But the result is much better looking than the predecessor



The Hyundai Verna was one of the strongest contenders in the premium sedan category. With its build quality, the current generation of the Verna also managed to raise Hyundai’s brand image in the Indian buyer’s mind. The car picked up steam after a slow start in 2006, when it was launched. And by 2011, when the Fluidic Verna was introduced, the car was slugging it out with the Honda City - the segment leader. 

The Fluidic Verna also heralded the start of a new design philosophy for Hyundai’s cars in India. But, after a brisk start the Fluidic Verna couldn’t hold on to its share of the pie. The reason for its slide in numbers, where the Honda City is a distant Numero Uno today, were both because the Verna has remained a bit over familiar in design over the years and of course, the City has had a significant upgrade with the new generation coming in.

The Hyundai Verna, also known as the Solaris and the Accent in other markets, is due to go through a full model change, with the next-gen due out in 2016 globally. But to take the fight to the City, Hyundai officials have decided to introduce a second facelift to the current Generation.

Design

Through its two upgrades - the Transform in 2010 and the Fluidic Verna in 2011, the car’s design has remained recognisable in terms of its dimensions and its design language. This time around again the overall dimensions have largely been retained, but the new Verna presents a much more pleasing face. 

Big changes to the front of the 2015 Verna now give it a very global feel – in fact it now looks more like a Japanese model. The hexagonal bonnet grille design, which was a signature of the Fluidic design, is gone and in its place is a new wing-design dual-slat chrome grille. The headlamps are also all-new, with the previous model's LED lined unit, now being replaced by a larger pair of projector headlamps and boomerang shaped fog lamps. Deeply ridged, nearly clamshell style bonnet slab gives it the look of a larger, more powerful car. Also the larger airdam built into the front fender gives the onlooker the same impression.

The new Verna is mostly similar in design to the outgoing model when viewed from the side or from the rear. And so, the body panels remain the same. But there are changes to the various individual elements that have been incorporated so that they may gel with the new face of the car. The tail-lamps sport a new combination with LED tube effect design, the 16-inch diamond cut alloys are classy and the two-tone rear bumper with the concealed exhaust, gives the rear a crisp and clean look. The deeply carved out waistline and body sideline have been carried forward and still manage to add character to the car.

Interior

The new Verna’s cabin has been given bigger changes in terms of features both comfort and safety and that is key to take on the might of the Honda City. Step into the new Verna and you’ll be greeted by a recognisable dashboard layout. But there are a lot of new materials, and a lot many more new features. You’ll also observe that you are sinking into the seats and getting a more comfortable seating position. 

The front and rear seats have been completely redesigned with new, softer squabs that offer more thigh support, for rear passengers too. Finding the right driving position is also easy thanks to the tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel. The seat is also adjustable for height. Our test drive car came with faux leather upholstery which offered a bit more of a firm seating - something that users will appreciate during a long drive. 

Some of the comfort features in the cabin that we liked best are the new 2 DIN infotainment system with Bluetooth audio and 6 speakers, the automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, the new Blue-backlit instrument cluster and the automatic air-conditioner with cluster ionizer.

There are additional storage and utility features like the sliding armrest for the front occupants, and an flip open armrest with cup holders for the rear passengers. There is also 465 litres of storage space in the boot. Hyundai engineers have also added an India-spec special in the ‘Ergo’ lever (as company officials call it). It is basically a lever positioned on the right-side of the front passenger seat’s backrest, which can be operated to push the seat forward for getting more legroom the rear.

There is also the reverse parking camera, the escort headlamps function and the auto folding door mirrors. Safety gets a big boost too in the 2015 Verna, with anti-lock brakes being made part of standard fitment across all variants - gets a big thumbs up from us. Depending on the variant, there are other safety equipment too, including six airbags, speed sensing auto door lock and impact sensing auto door unlock functions.

Performance

The Verna continues to be offered with the same powertrains as the outgoing model. It also continues to be the car that offers the most engine options in the segment. Two petrol and two diesel engines with a six-speed manual or an automatic gearbox give the buyer a wide choice. The two engines we tried out were the 1.6 GAMMA VTVT petrol engine and the 1.6 U II VGT-CRDI diesel engine. The 1,591cc petrol engine with variable valve timing tech generates 123 PS of peak power and peak torque of 15.8 KgM. The similarly sized diesel engine puts out peak power and peak torque figures of 128 PS and 26.5 KgM respectively.

Rated mileage numbers are 17.01 kmpl and 15.74 kmpl for the petrol’s manual and automatic variants and 23.9 kmpl and 19.08 kmpl for the diesel’s manual and automatic variants. Both the powertrains are just right in terms of their power delivery and tractability. The engines are refined and quiet, but despite a change in the NVH packaging there didn’t seem to be a significant improvement in road and wind noise levels in the cabin. Handling has seen an improvement with the addition of a motor driven power steering and substantial changes to the suspension set up. There is good steering response at low speeds, but, though it stiffens up at higher speeds, it still lacks the feel and directness that some of the European cars in this segment offer.

Overall, the Verna still feels much more confident to drive and ride quality has seen an improvement over broken tarmac and at high speed straight line stretches.

Bottomline

The Verna gets a lot of new equipment and is now a much more likeable design. There is none of the earlier model’s edgy and slightly overdone looks. The 2015 Verna has been launched in the ₹ 7.88 lakh to ₹ 11.67 lakh price range. This new face-lifted model could just be what Hyundai needs to take on the City’s might.

Published on February 19, 2015
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