Intro: Come 2020 and bang! The Verna is the talk of the town yet again after facelifts in 2011 and 2017. A decade ago when Verna first came in its fluidic avatar, it marveled audiences on account of its silhouette and crisp detailing, but the car was not the best bet when it came to riding and handling. Six years later the Verna in its 2017 avatar, grappled audiences for it had a super-refined motor and behaved much better than the phased out model. It was also feature-laden making it a favored car in its segment. So what has the 2020 Verna got to offer? For starters it gets a 120hp version of Hyundai’s 1.0-litre turbo GDI engine and mated to it is the twin-clutch automatic gearbox. On other trims, you get 115hp petrol or diesel.
Exterior: This is a thoroughly refreshed model, it no longer looks like a scaled-down Elantra. Upfront you get a new frameless grille there is no separation between the grille and the headlights. There is a sportier nose and there are lots of cuts and creases. The fog lamps are deep into the chin and there is a mini spoiler integrated into the nose. On the side, the roofline is arched down like a coupe’ and like its predecessor you get that slight spoiler appearance on the boot. The alloys are great to look, the low floor stance of yesteryears is gone and it feels raised than before. Adding to the glamour is the squared-off exhaust tips done in chrome.
Interior: Unlike the exterior, the cabin feels quite familiar. Notable changes include a floating 8-inch touch screen, the vents receive some metallic inserts, the instrument cluster looks like a take away from a full-sized saloon. But the absence of needles in the instrument panel makes it difficult to gauge what the car is doing. The digital meters provide some solace when you want to figure out what speeds you are doing. The black dominated cabin makes the car feel a little smaller, and unlike the dual-tone color scheme on other trims, the black tone on certain trims gives a very plastic appearance. The majority of the interior remains unchanged. The seats feel comfortable providing great under-thigh and lumbar support. Certain trims of the Verna come with paddle shifters and the touch screen houses Hyundai’s connected blue-link app. The app helps you connect with the car, it gives you access to functions like – remote start, door lock/unlock, remote air conditioning, real-time fuel status, real-time location, tire-pressure information, SOS, emergency road assistance, etc. Connectivity to the car was easy, low data transfer speeds, there is also a voice command system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and onboard navigation. The back seat is where you will find complaints, the legroom on offer is not as much as you get in other sedans, headroom is an issue too, that being said, there is more than enough thigh support and the back seat feels nicely reclined offering good side support. On the backseat, you get a big air-con vent and a USB charging too. The top-spec variant gets a sunroof, wireless charging, 6 airbags, Electronic stability control, traction control, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and hands-free boot release.
Drive: The 1.0 three-cylinder petrol is super refined and well balanced. The engine mated to a twin-clutch automatic gearbox makes driving in traffic very easy. At lower revs you find turbo-lag, however, a quick downshift and with your foot hard at the accelerator will see to it that you receive ample amounts of torque to reach the max of the power band. The midrange is impressive, thanks to the 172 Nm of peak torque. The wide powerband means the car supports spirited driving often you will notice the car revving up from 2000 to 6000 rpm with much ease. Compared to a VW or a Skoda the Verna might not be as quick as the TSI on the other two but it does not lag. 0-100 times are as quick as on other mid-size sedans. The three-cylinder noise although not very evident on idle does become vocal when you go hard on the throttle. The steering is improved from before and feels better weighted and responsive. Taking it on windy patches of the road should not be a problem as the Verna does feel agile. Push it hard at corners and the Verna does not create much fuss. Discs on all four’s mean that you feel confident to tame the car at higher speeds. The overall ride is a significant improvement, even on bad patches, the raised suspension sees to it that you don’t receive thuds on the underbelly.
Should you have one – This certainly will appeal to the driving enthusiast, the 120 hp motor is a serious contender to the TSI on the VW and the Skoda. The twin-clutch automatic mated to the 1.0 three-cylinder engine does a decent job too. Ride and mannerism are appreciable and so is the overall drive of the car. When it comes to comfort, the cabin feels well built on the inside, and the feature list is a definite thumbs up for a car of this segment. Ignoring the cramped rear legroom and the fact that it is not the best to push it at corners means that the Verna carries all credentials of being a sought after product from brand Hyundai.