Hyundai Verna 1.6 diesel review
What is it?
Hyundai’s third-gen Verna, which at least on paper, is the most powerful diesel mid-size saloon. It also is dimensionally larger than its predecessor and is one of the most stylish cars you can buy under Rs 15 lakh.
Design & Build
- The Hyundai Verna looks like a mini Elantra and that’s a great thing. In fact, we believe that Verna’s rear, with its sharp character lines and long angular tail lights, actually makes it look more expensive than it really is!
- Up front, the design is unmistakably Hyundai. There’s a big cascading grille with horizontal chrome slots. Then, the DRLs are, again, very Elantra-esque. When viewed from the side, the Verna looks quite similar to its predecessor, which looked great to begin with.
- The third-gen Verna’s build is supremely impressive and the car does not feel flimsy at all. In fact, the fit and finish is on par with European mid-size saloons, and Japanese rivals feel tinny when compared to this Hyundai.
- However, the cabin design, while simplistic and clean, is a bit boring. Hyundai has been recycling the same design and cabin colours on most of its cars from quite some time now and we which the brand had differentiated the Verna better.
Space & Comfort
- This is an area where we must be critical. You see, the Verna’s seats are very comfortable and the cabin is reasonably wide, but tall rear passengers (over 6 feet) would certainly wish for more headroom.
- The legroom isn’t particularly great either. This is not to say that the rear is very cramped, but the bar has been long raised by the City – and specifically the Ciaz – in this field. Therefore, the Verna leaves a lot to be desired.
- That being said, the ride quality is very good and only the worst road imperfections are felt inside the cabin.
Performance & Handling
- The Verna variant we tested is the 1.6-litre diesel version with a manual transmission. This 4-cylinder engine makes 126 bhp and 260 Nm.
- This engine is an absolute gem! While borrowed from the previous-gen Verna and shared with the Creta, the tuning on the new Verna is such that its power delivery is supremely linear. There is negligible turbo lag and when the turbo kicks in, the speeds build up in a non-intrusive manner.
- All that great performance does not come at the cost of refinement either. The motor is very smooth (for a diesel) and vibrations are kept to a minimum. The short throw 6-speed manual gearbox only adds to the pleasant driving experience.
- In terms of handling, the Verna is a reasonably fun car to drive. The car takes sharp turns with no signs of nervousness. Then, the high-speed stability is very composed as well.
- It must be noted that the steering is light and gives inconsistent feedback, but the same can be said for all saloons in this price segment. This aside, the Verna will be a good companion for spirited driving.
- The Verna diesel manual gives around 15 km/l in the city and 19-20 km/l on highway. However, it may vary depending on your driving style and conditions.
- Our tester was not the top-spec SX(O) variant, but the SX, which is one level below the former. However, it still came extremely well equipped. A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with reverse camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), cruise control, steering-mounted audio controls, LED DRLs, cooled glovebox, etc. were standard.
- The SX(O) will get you premium equipment like a sunroof, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, passive entry with push-button start, etc.
- Safety kit like dual front airbags, ABS and EBD is standard across the entire Verna range. Opting for the top-spec SX(O) will bring you 6 airbags.
- The Verna is a good value for money proposition in the mid-size saloon segment. It undercuts the City and Yaris (petrol only) by a big margin. While the Ciaz is more affordable, it also misses out on a lot of equipment.
- Overall, the Hyundai Verna is the car to buy if you in the market for a self-driven mid-size diesel saloon. It is handsome, well built, very good to drive and offers great value for money.
- However, those who’d spend most of their time at the rear must look elsewhere. There are better cars suited to the chauffeured audience.