The launch of the new Hyundai “Fluidic” Verna automatic in India has set some big tones for other car manufacturers. While many have went back to their drawing room boards, there are many others who just cannot digest that Hyundai is taking away all their sales and stuff. It has got more to do with first the Etios taking up all the pie and now the Verna. However we feel that all this is just for show sakes and after the initial ownership reports and stuff of the Etios coming up, many people are now not inclined to buy this car. Whilst Hyundai may have recorded around 5000 bookings in the initial month for the new Verna, all the reviews and reports point that the Verna has very sloppy road manners. Nevertheless, the new Verna has one of the widest engine and transmission options in its class. Two petrol and two diesel motors available with both manual and automatic transmission is something which even some of the premium car manufacturers don’t offer. So it comes down to whether the new Verna challenges the erstwhile but still very much desirable Honda City automatic in India. There are also other cars like the Maruti SX4 with an automatic tranny and the Volkswagen Vento automatic, however those don’t sell as much as the City. Due to a cut in production and lack of diesel engine, the Vento has edged past the City which has held its dominion from the last 13 years in the C segment in India. We now pit the City automatic with the Verna automatic.
The Hyundai “Fluidic” Verna automatic in India benefits from an all new look which however doesn’t detract far from the odd ball design that the earlier Verna carried. In front of the City, the new Verna looks plain ugly. The Vento would have atleast looked plain Jane but it never looked ugly. However while the City looks hewn from a single sheet metal, the Verna looks as if too many designers worked on its looks. The City’s arrow shot design is a far better thing than the Verna’s “Fluidic” design. The Verna is a chunkier piece of metal while the Honda City automatic in India looks comparatively slim and also longer. 15 inch wheels as against the 16 inch ones on the Verna also are a distinguishing factor. Moreover, the Verna has got fatter rubber than the City’s low resistance ones, configured for better fuel economy. At the rear, however, it’s the Verna which looks better than the City’s just too straight design characteristics. The Verna’s all LED tail lamps coupled with the extremely clear lens configuration make the City’s neat lines pale in comparison. Moreover, the Verna has got twin tail pipes to the City’s single one.
In the design field, overall, the Honda City imparts a big car feel from outside while the Verna looks like a small alien.
As for the interiors, the only common thing between both the cars is the steering wheel. Mind you, by this we mean only the look of it and not the exact feel or how the steering wheels behave. Like the switchgear used in its bikes, most of the controls on the steering wheel are concentrated to its left while for the Hyundai, they are evenly distributed. The meter dials for instance, on the ones on the Verna have a white backlight for them and for the City, they emit a red glow. The City’s ones have an ancient feel to them while the Verna’s ones have a nice soft ambience to them. As far as the dashboard contours go, this is no contest since the Verna wins it hands down. The City gets the aluminium fascia which looks like an after market fitment with its archaic AC controls and stuff. The new Verna in the meanwhile gets a solid build quality with a use of very good materials. Infact the materials would easily eclipse the ones used on the Civic. The Honda City’s ug bear has been a music system which recognizes only USB sticks and there is no provision for even a proper CD player. The Verna gets a 6 CD changer system with AUX and USB input to it. The silver garnish treatment by the City on the door pads looks down right cheap. However the buttons and rest of the mechanicals operate with a solid feel. As for the Verna, as discussed before, the door pads have a quality feel attached to them. Now coming onto the seating comfort, in this matter, the Honda City is the more comfortable of the two. Be it the front seat or rear seat comfort. The Verna simply cannot match its comfort factor. The City has ample of leg room, head room and also under thigh support which shows why it has been the best seller for these many years. Boot space is nearly the same however the City has much more usable space than the Verna’s which is marred by suspension intrusions.
Handling and ride quality
The Hyundai “Fluidic” Verna automatic in India has got the softer suspension of the two here. Needless to say, it has a superb ride quality going on for it. Come what may in its way, the Verna delivers a sort of air cushion like comfort. However, this very same ride quality becomes its Achilles heel while the put through a corner. The Verna feels very nervous while negotiating a corner. Infact on the highway, it seems to be floating all around. But what Hyundai have done is a commendable job and that is of keeping the NVH like a super luxury car. Rev the engine or even break it, there is no engine noise permeating inside the cabin. The Honda on the other hand is a raucous performer. It does let you know that there is something which is going to happen. It would either be the acceleration or the unlinear way in which power is built. The Honda City automatic in India has got the harder suspension setup of the two and this means that ride quality over undulating surfaces is not that good but it in this car, you can move quickly over undulating surfaces, of which the Verna has to go a bit slow. Nearing its redline, the Honda’s engine becomes coarse and loses its refinement. But then the handling is spoilt only by the weedy tyres that the City comes shod with. The steering wheel has a much more connected feel than the vague one on the Verna. Both the cars come with an electric steering wheel which is far more efficient than hydraulic units.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Verna comes with a choice of two engines, one petrol and one diesel and both are available with auto transmission. While the Honda City only has a petrol engine with a 5 speed auto option with paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. The Verna only gets a dated 4 speed auto transmission. The 1.6 liter petrol motor in the Verna automatic makes 122 Bhp of power while the torque figure is rated at 155 Nm. In comparison, the Honda City automatic makes 115 Bhp of power and 149 Nm of torque. The Verna’s torque converter may be an old unit however the engine more than makes up for the deficit with it posting 0.4 seconds quicker time for the 0-100 run than the Honda City. But the City claws back its 5 speed automatic advantage by posting higher top speed than the Verna. The Verna’s box is a dim witted thing which has a mind of its own while the City’s auto box obeys the driver’s commands. Hyundai have kitted the Verna with an all wheel disc brake configuration and this ensures that stops are nearly 15 meters before than what the City can manage. Both the cars get ABS and ESP as an added advantage. For the safety features, the Hyundai beats the Honda squarely by throwing in 6 air bags as compared with the Honda’s 2.
In the critical fuel efficiency stakes, the Honda is once again beaten by the Hyundai’s far more efficient unit. The overall figure that the City automatic returned was 12.4 kmpl whereas the Hyundai turned in 12.9 kmpl.
The City once again is beaten squarely in its own game by the Hyundai by returning better fuel efficiency and also with more safety features.
The Honda City has had a good run for over 13 years in India however its reign has now come to an end first when the Vento overtook it in the sales figures and now when the Hyundai Verna has come in. The Verna’s looks may definitely be subjective however its exhaustive features list and wide range of engine options with both automatic and manual transmission options ensure that it comes out at the top of the hill. This is considering that the City is still the priciest car in its class by a fair margin. The Hyundai “Fluidic” Verna automatic price in India is Rs 9.95 lakhs while the Honda City automatic price in India is Rs 10.33 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai ones. Our pick for the day is the Hyundai Verna automatic.
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