The Hyundai Verna, when it was first introduced back in 2006, was a rather mature looking sedan for its time, which carried a design that did not offend anyone, though it didn’t either manage to evoke any wows. In an interim effort till Hyundai got their fludic lines right, they launched the ‘Transform’ variant, which didn’t look good, to put it gently. However, when the young and dynamic Hyundai Verna emerged, it took the car market by storm, striking many bolts through its competitors. But then that was four long years ago, and given the number of updates a vehicle receives these days, like some sort of an annual mandatory health check up, an upgrade was long overdue. Say hello then to the new 2015 Hyundai Verna 4S, which, though more cosmetic in nature, should help the car to sustain its allure, until the all new next-gen sedan arrives.
What we really appreciate is the respect Hyundai has towards the Indian car market, as they did not waste much time to get the updated Verna to us, which as a global product, is available in similar-spec across 66 countries. Elaborating the 4S in the nomenclature, Hyundai insists that it is an abridgement of Style, Safety, Sophistication and Speed, this new Verna will try to lure car buyers with. They are rather serious about it, as the New Hyundai Verna 4S has been tested across the globe, ranging from the vodka freezing frosty environs in Russia, to the throat parching, tricky terrain of the Death Valley in the US, and even around the treacherous mountains in China. What will iron out forehead frowns is the fact that the Hyundai Verna has received a 5-star safety rating by N-CAP, across different parts of the globe and has also been rated “Good” by the US Government Insurance Institute for highway safety.
So let’s twist the key as we tell you more about this cosmetic treat from Korean, Oh hold on! There is no key. So when you can’t twist, all you do is, push!
Styling and appearance
Hyundai has followed the “If it ain’t broke, don’t try too hard fixing it” approach with the new Verna 4S. However, although the visual changes on the car are minor, they go a long way in escalating the appeal of the Fluidic Design that will now look to appease a wider audience. Starting with the face, the horizontal single slat grille encased within the Hyundai hexagon, has now become wider. The earlier ellipsoidal grille has been replaced with an upward sweeping grille, that now has two wing like horizontal chrome slats, flanking the ‘H’ logo. The angular, hexagonal Hyundai face has given way a more organic, curvy shape.
The headlight follows a new design pattern. It looks more modern now, cutting deeper into the bumper near the grille, drooping slightly on the opposite side, then rising up in a curvaceous fashion at the flanks to meet the bonnet’s shut line. The headlamp also gets a projector setup, encapsulated in a chrome ringed cylinder, surrounded by a brushed aluminum insert that mimics a DRL, while a curving chrome stripped partition separates the blinkers.
Coming to the lower part of the new front bumper, where the earlier car incorporated the grille and the air-dam in an trapezoidal environment, the air-dam on the 4S Verna has become shorter, but has also gained more width at the same time. ‘L’ shaped fog lamps have been replaced by a boomerang design, while a wide crease continues from the front wheel arches extending itself onto the lower portion of the bumper, lending that added character to the front. Overall, Hyundai has been successful at making the Verna 4S look more global now, where although the earlier car looked dynamic and enticing, the front revealed its roots at the very first glance.
Sideways, it continues to be a clone of the existing car, except the 16” alloy wheels which follow a diamond cut design pattern now. At the finishing end of things, the tail light has undergone minor changes and now displays a more pronounced LED effect. The rear bumper too has been slightly tweaked to incorporate reflectors that compliment the fog lamp’s design. At the bottom, a blackened out strip does a neat job of hiding the exhaust pipe. However, we still prefer the exposed twin pipes coming out at the back, adding to the sporty appeal. We also noticed that the Verna badge has switched sides from right to the left, while that space is now occupied by another moniker that gives away the engine size and the variant.
What remains commendable is the top notch quality of paint. The shutlines which fit flush at most places, widen as you move backwards, the gap between the boot and the tail light could’ve been thinner.
Interior & Features
Everything on the inside has been carried over from the existing Verna, where Hyundai’s obsession with beige shines out to make the ambience in the cabin feel warm, comfortable and upbeat. Usage of high quality materials amplify the feel good factor and make you believe that your money has been well spent. Plastics, fit-n-finish, the perforated leather seats and everything that you touch and feel exude of quality workmanship.
Beginning with the conventional looking steering wheel, it can be adjusted for rake and reach. It incorporates controls for the audio system and telephony, switches for which feel robust and operate with a positive feedback. Our only grouse, the little horn pad requires one hand to be taken off the wheel in order to honk. The other thing that would make you take your palm off the wheel is the toggle switch for the Multi-information display, which has been placed behind the round thing, bordering the instrument cluster. Incorporating it in the steering itself would’ve made life easier. The stalks handle the regular fare of controls for the automated headlights, wipers and blinkers. The OBD port and dials for the follow-me-home headlight delay function and leveling adjustment are provisioned just above the bonnet lever.
The Instrument cluster features two chrome ringed white dials which stay lit throughout. Needles are white too, pointing out from what appears as some moon eclipsing a blue lit Sun. The Multi-information display unit is located in the center and displays multitude of information, including a cell phone network bar type display for fuel levels and engine temperature, distance to empty, average fuel efficiency, instantaneous FE, external temperature, and the usual warning signs. It also displays eco mode status and recommends the right gear to upshift to, in order to extract maximum economy, while driving the manual variants.
The upper half of the center console houses twin AC vents, the audio system, buttons for the hazard lights, and front and rear demisters. Flanked by a U-shaped faux wood insert, the Start/Stop button sits right next to it, housing itself in a chrome surrounding.
The lower half of the console is finished in the same rubberized plastic material that also covers the top of the dashboard. It features controls for the automatic air-conditioning system and also has a little display that tells you about the current settings and outside temperature. Right at the bottom, you’d find a 12V power outlet, USB and Aux-in ports.
There is plenty of storage space in the cabin, including a cooled glove box that runs quite deep, a sunglass holder below the twin cabin lights up front, space in the front and rear center armrest, twin cup holders right next to the handbrake lever, a small cavity which can hold your phone just above them, bottle holder in all four doors and map holders in the front seat backrest.
Windows all round are powered, however, it is only the driver side glass that gets an anti-pinch and auto up / down feature. Faux-wood makes an all round appearance around every window switch on all doors. External mirrors fold electrically and have been embedded with repeaters for the blinkers. Both sun visors come with a mirror, while the internal rear-view mirror is an electro chromic unit that also incorporates the screen for the rear-view camera which works alongside parking sensors.
Among the two new features which have been introduced is an ergo lever on the front passenger seat backrest that allows the rear passenger to slide the front seat, liberating more legroom, while another nifty addition is a sliding front center armrest that enhances driving comfort even if your arms are lengthier than those of the law. Talking about comfort, the driver seat is height adjustable and coupled with the adjustable steering; it is easy to achieve a comfortable driving position. Both front seats provide good side bolstering, which is a boon when the Verna is driven in a spirited manner. Well, more about that later. Coming back to the front seats, under thigh and back support is fairly good and we were quite comfortable after a 120 km drive.
The rear seats though, don’t score all that high on under thigh support, especially for folks who almost reach or breach the 6 feet mark. Although there is space to rest your arms on all doors, the rear seat has been equipped with an arm-rest in the middle that also has a cup-holder and can be stowed away when there is a need to ferry five humans, although that would be a bit of a squeeze. Head and shoulder room is adequate for people of all sizes.
Hyundai hasn’t equipped the 4S Verna with a rear A/C vent and given the time of the year, we weren’t really able to test the cooling efficiency of the unit. However, it has something Hyundai calls a ‘Cluster ionizer’ that ensures the air quality in the cabin remains fresh and healthy. Shedding some more light on the music system, we feel a touch screen infotainment unit should’ve made an appearance, given the fact that even cars from a lower segment have started coming with one. Audio quality from the 6-speaker unit isn’t something that would please the audiophile in you, but does its job, filling the cabin with distortion free sound. It can play discs, music from your cell phone via Bluetooth, the Aux-in port, or you may choose to use the 1GB internal memory to store the symphonies of your choice.
At 490 litres, boot space might not be class leading, but can swallow a really large and a medium sized suitcase and a couple smaller bags. Beneath all that, the spare wheel is a steel unit.
Like its predecessor, the new 2015 Hyundai Verna 4S will be offered with not two, not three, but four engine options. The petrol variants can be bought, powered by either a 1.4-liter GAMMA motor that pumps out 107 PS @ 6300 rpm and 13.8 kgm of torque @ 5000 rpm, or a 1.6-liter engine that churns out 123 PS @ 6300 rpm and 15.8 kgm of torque @ 5000 rpm. Both motors have been rated for an ARAI tested efficiency figure of 17.43 and 17.01 kpl respectively. Both engines come mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, however, there is a 4-speed auto option that promises to return an efficiency figure of 15.74 kpl. At the drive event, Hyundai let us sample the 1.6 petrol and diesel motors, here’s our take:
The 1.6-litre petrol engine powering the 2015 4S Verna features an electronically controlled throttle that regulates the amount of air intake according to the engine speed, along with Dual VTVT the controls the opening and closing timing of valves, again based on driving parameters. All this promises good low-end torque, reduced emissions and higher economy. The Verna even makes tall claims of churning out an impressive; segment topping 123 PS of power on paper. However, all that excitement in ink doesn’t really translate into on-road whoosh. Not that the Verna is a slouch, but it somehow fails to display alacrity, fails to make you believe that the motor underneath really displaces those many horses. Taller gearing that assists economy, makes watching the rev needle climb through the white dial a lethargic sight, although keep pushing and the engine will rev all the way to its 6500 rpm redline. Having said all that, the engine is pretty refined and delivers power in a linear manner, the strong mid-range making it a pretty efficient highway cruiser. Once the devil inside starts controlling your right foot, the GAMMA motor emits a raspy tone, which is in stark contrast to the 5-speed shifter that is butter smooth and a joy to use. Shifts are creamy, and if you like, it just requires one of your fingers to slide it through the gates.
Although decreasing fuel prices have brought back petrol engine to the fore in a strong manner, modern diesel engines have managed to pull away some section of the rev happy crowd, luring them with efficiency and higher torque. The 1.6-litre CRDI engine on the Verna 4S is again the most powerful diesel motor in the segment, developing 128 PS @ 4000 rpm and a healthy 26.5 kgm of torque between 1900 – 2750 rpm. Armed with a variable geometry turbocharger, a swirl control valve that improves combustion and nano diamond coated pistons for reduced friction, the Verna, with those dynamic looks, will really make you believe that all you need to do to shrink distances is floor the throttle.
Start the motor and you’d be greeted with an audible diesel clatter, that doesn’t filter into the cabin. However, as you set off, the motor isn’t a benchmark for drivability, further let down by taller gearing, making you shift into lower gears, every time the revs drop to anything below 1800 rpm. Once on the move though, there is a gentle surge you experience near the 2000 rpm mark as the turbo kicks in. Post that, acceleration is pretty brisk, the car not running out of breath, even near the 140-150 kph mark, and with enough juice in store to register a few more hops over the speedo markings. The additional sixth cog makes the Verna 4S an effortless cruiser, while at the same time it will ensure that economy figures are brilliant. The Hyundai Verna 4s has been rated to return 23.9 kpl (ARAI tested).
Gearshifts again, are smooth and slot into place with positive reassurance.
Ride, handling & Safety
Something has to give, so while Hyundai has updated the rear shock absorbers, arming them with low velocity control valves to ensure finer damping and ideal spring stiffness rate. What they’ve done essentially is firm up the suspension, which has taken away the spongy ride quality of the earlier Verna, making the new 4S ride stiffer. While it doesn’t really crash into potholes or makes you aware of every little pebble on the road, the ride quality has firmed up, in effect, making the excessive vertical movement that plagued the outgoing car, a thing of the past. In situations that might make the suspension travel to its very limit, Hyundai has added a bump stopper with emboss finish that counters any ‘Thud’ noise. The environment inside the car remains composed and comfortable at normal speed, however, things transform once the car crosses the triple digit mark. If you happen to be cruising at high speeds on uneven surfaces, which are the norm for the roads in India, the firmed up suspension doesn’t really absorb all of that, which translates into an iffy ride quality. Minor undulations and dips or crests on the surface are not dealt with in a composed manner and all that travels through the chassis. However, with some added weight up-front, the diesel Verna rides better in comparison to the petrol variant.
Coming to the Achilles heel then, handling has never been the strongest points of the Verna. Hyundai has tried to address that, tweaking the suspension and the steering unit which has been tuned for better response. There is some weight to the steering as one gains speed, but it fails to send across any feedback. Employing McPherson struts at the front and torsion beam at the back, the setup is known to favor ride quality at the cost of dynamics. Although they have tweaked the rebound, eliminating the excessive vertical movement, the firmed up bits make things skittish while cornering at high speeds, where the lack of precision from the steering wheel, and a fair amount of body roll make the Verna feel, well, nervous.
Sudden directional changes aren’t as reassuringly executed as some of the other sedans in the segment have gotten us used to, and maybe due to the added weight and different suspension setup, the Diesel feels more planted compared to the petrol Verna. Braking is adequate, although ABS cuts in earlier than you’d like.
Coming back to the stronger points on the Verna 4S, where it shines and towers above all cars in the segment. This has to be one of the safest cars to be sold in the segment. The car’s rigid structure is reinforced at multiple points and made out of high tensile steel. Hyundai has added 6 Airbags, two in the dashboard, two side airbags and twin curtain balloons. ABS is standard across all variants, and the Verna 4S locks its doors automatically after reaching specific speeds, unlocking them in the unfortunate event of an impact.
Much has changed in the last 9 years since the first Verna was launched. In the current scenario, the Honda City and the Maruti Ciaz have been consistently eating into the Verna’s sales pie. An interim update until they get the next generation car, which is still a few years away, the new 4S Hyundai Verna has charmed the Indian customer with its flamboyant looks and unmatched features. The new version builds on the strengths of its predecessor, and continues to be a good-looking, feature laden model which will appeal enormously to the Indian audience. Loaded with safety features, equipment and style, it excels at many things, and is still improving. Outright dynamic ability and space are not segment leading strengths here, though unless you plan to drive it wearing your Schuberth helmet, it is all the car you need for the everyday things you do. You just can’t miss taking a test drive of this one, if a feature rich C-Class sedan is what you’re out on the hunt for.
Hyundai will formally launch and announce prices of the face-lifted Verna on the 19th of February. Stay tuned to Motoroids for more information about this refreshed Sedan.
Face lifted Verna looks more premium than outgoing car when viewed head-on
Cooled glove box keeps chocolates and your fizzy drinks cold
Not to boast about the features they add, but to tell you that you shouldn’t add seat covers there
Boomerang shaped fog-lamps
Traditional wiper blades
No rear ac vent
Rear seat space is adequate for two large adults or three teenagers
Faux wood makes an appearance on all four doors. Rear doors get bottle holders now
To stop the train, do not pull the chain. Just push the button
Driver side sun visor gets a mirror. Good thing, we hope drivers use it only when the car is stationary
Auto wipers, auto headlamps, auto this, auto that and a 4-speed automatic variant
Figure 8 or a tiny infinity ?
That button needs to move to the steering wheel
Wondering why all our pictures are dark? We couldn’t get the headlights on our camera to focus right
No door sills
Notice the filament bulb that creates the LED effect
One of the slats looks like a traditional shaving razor
Headlights are quite effective in the dark, take some time to switch themselves on when you enter a tunnel
Paint quality is top notch
Another car has a similar lever but it looks different
Auto up / down feature only reserved for the driver. The rest of the passengers can hold the button and appreciate the wood