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Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” CRDI vs Maruti SX4 DDiS vs Volkswagen Vento TDI vs Fiat Linea Multijet







A person watching a TV channel would come to know that there are many cultural changes coming across in the music from India or from the West. Even the Arab nations have a different set of instruments and music theme in mind. The same trend is followed amongst the car designing companies. Some like the Koreans adopt a wait and steal attitude. Whereas the Germans are more like bringing up their own designs however with a sense of staidness. The Japanese on the other hand were earlier known for their staid designs however as of now, they have being putting out some of the best designs in the automotive business. Proof is the Maruti Swift and the SX4. One more comes in the form of the Maruti Kizashi. But are we here to discuss the design policies of the different regions or is it just that this thought crossed our minds? The answer lies in the new Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” which was launched recently in India. When the news of its arrival started pouring in as early as January 2011, people withheld their bookings, then came another news about the launch of the 2011 Ford Fiesta, so the car sales in the mid size segment slowed down all the more. However in between, came in the SX4 diesel and things started to look more rosy or even confusing. Don’t believe us, check out article of Maruti SX4 Zdi vs Volkswagen Vento Tdi vs Fiat Linea MultiJet and the related comments. So today, we have the Maruti SX4 DDiS in India competing against the Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” CRDI in India, the Fiat Linea Multijet in India and the Volkswagen Vento TDI in India. Its actually a war between the 4 distinct regions namely Italy, Japan, Germany and Korea. The battle ground is India.

Looks

Well, lets talk about the newest contender in here, the Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” CRDI in India. Yes, its not a revolution as far as design from the older Verna Transform is concerned but it still is eye catching. Hyundai have been harping about finding a new design philosophy and have named it as the Fluidic Design language. Seems that they have been inspired by a water drop. The new Verna looks like a Korean fish. The familiar family face, which first showed up in the 2011 i10 is now part of the Verna as well. The hexagonal grille frame is said to be a Hyundai original. The L shaped fog lamps however seem to have been inspired from the Volvo S60’s tail lamps. Twin tail pipes are unique in this comparison. Next up is the Fiat Linea, which is the design champ in this segment. People just fall in love with this big looking sedan from Fiat. The Maserati inspired face for both the Punto and the Linea work in their favor. The head lamps has a stance which shows that most of the bulk is concentrated in the front whereas the rear end has been nicely integrated culminating into petal shaped tail lamps with a slight LED feature in them. As for the Maruti SX4, it looks like a cross between a sedan and SUV. Its bold stance cannot be emulated by any other car in here. It actually looks a Japanese in here with its boy racer aspirations poking out from every nook and cranny. The added on body kit in the top end variant only heightens this feeling. Except for the Vento and the SX4, the other two cars come with 16 inch wheels while the former two make do with 15 inchers. The Volkswagen Vento looks very solidly hewn and more Poloish in its appearance than the Linea with its Punto snout. The Vento also has a traditional looking Volkswagen tail lamps.

Well, there is still nothing that is going to turn over the Volkswagen Vento’s clean lines. Next in comes the Fiat Linea, the Maruti SX4 and then the Hyundai Verna “Fluidic”.

Interiors

Oh well, inside the story is very much different than on the outside. Some of the cars stick true to their exterior design while some make one feel as if they have entered a different car. Take the case of the SX4 diesel. It may have got lots of detailed styling in the exteriors however the interior trim is not upto the mark. In isolation, it may seem good however in this company, it has already started to show its dated nature. The steering wheel is the same one which is now being shared with half a dozen Marutis, It boasts of audio controls on the steering wheel though. There is a big speedometer and besides it, lies the tachometer and rest of the stuff. The steering is adjustable for rake however it doesn’t telescope. The music system as also the climate control are integrated and have a feel good factor to them. The interiors however aren’t as subtle as the ones in the Vento which, even though, is a new car, dates back to the time when Skoda from the Volkswagen stable first entered India. The dash materials are soft to touch however they mimic the exterior features and look too boring. Moreover, there is seriously a lack of features. It’s the only car here which comes without steering mounted controls. The steering wheel however is adjustable and a comfortable position can be achieved by the driver. The meter dials are a separate unit and have a multi information display between them which displays average fuel economy and rest of the stuff. As for the Fiat Linea, the two tone interiors are exactly the same as one would expect from this classy Italian. The steering wheel is an all black thing with leather wrapping. The meter dials however look retro but look nice when they are lit up. The fonts however are hard to read. While everything looks high quality, some fit and finish leaves a bit desired. However the Linea comes kitted with equipment and some innovative ones like the Blue & Me at that. Now, the odd ball design amongst all in this comparison, the Hyundai Verna. Well, the Verna even eclipses the Linea as far as equipment is concerned. The dashboard is one swoopy thing and falls back well in line to give it an overall waterfall effect. There is a cooled glove box, Ioniser equipped climate control system, Inner mirror rear parking camera and many other stuff. The Linea makes do without a cooled glove box as also the rear parking camera. As for the Vento, it cannot even hope to match this features while being nearly available at the same price.

Now comes the comfort factor. Shorter passengers would find that the Linea’s steering wheel comes too close to the chest. This would take some time getting used to. The SX4 with its tall proportions ensures that getting in and out of the cabin isn’t a hassle. For the Hyundai Verna, passenger would think it’s a cozy fit however once inside the cabin, people would appreciate the roominess and the use of beige to lighten up the cabin and bring about a sense of more roominess. The Vento is the only one in this comparison to bring in a lever which can be used to move the front passenger seat a bit ahead to liberate more leg room in the rear. The Verna’s rear leg room space isn’t that great and hence fitting in taller passengers would be a chore. But the Verna apart from the SX4 is the only one here which can accommodate three passengers with ease. The Verna has the flattest floor of all the 4 cars here. As for the Linea, it is a bit on the lower side and ingress egress seems to be a bit of problem. However in the rear, head room is lower than the others in its class. If you are looking for only seating comfort, then it’s the SX4 for you. Both the Linea and Vento come with rear individual AC vents, which proved to be very useful in the May end summer heat.

As for boot space, all the three cars here are equally placed with the Verna boasting the slightest edge out here. Cubby holes are aplenty in the new Verna, just like the I20. The Vento is the one which provides the least cubby holes. Build quality in the new Verna is comparable with the Vento. The Fiat and also the Maruti are similar in their build quality stakes.

The SX4 ranks third as far as goodies are concerned but has the maximum space. The Verna comes in second as far as space is concerned while on the goodies front, she ranks in number one. For the Vento, it comes in last as far as goodies are concerned but comes in first place as far as overall comfort is measured. For the Linea, it ranks in second for the goodies and last for the optimal use of space.

Handling and ride quality

All the cars here come with McPherson struts in the front with a stabilizer bar however at the rear, things shape up differently with the suspension varying here. The Verna is the softest of the lot and this means a fantastic ride quality. Bobbing and pitching action has been well controlled than the earlier version. On rough roads, the Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” CRDI in India just continues on its path without being unfazed. It also has a good ground clearance which means scrapping the nose or underpinnings on speed breakers isn’t a problem. On the highway, the equation reverses and the Verna feels slightly unstable and reluctant to change directions quickly. This may be down to the steering wheel which simply put, doesn’t have any life in it. The Verna is a mix and match since its 1.6 liter diesel is more suited for highway driving and aggressive one at that. There is lots of body roll on offer as well. Next up is the Maruti SX4 DDiS in India with its stiffly setup suspension. The ground clearance is even higher than some of the SUVs. This means that notorious speed breakers in your city would be dispatched without even a whimper. But the passengers would whimper a bit with the hard edged ride quality. On the highway, the SX4, even with its tall dimensions doesn’t seem too prone to crosswinds and holds its line very well. The steering wheel is also communicative but it takes a slot more effort than the Verna to turn it. Its gives a labored and heavier feel to it. As for the handling, it is predictable and inspite of its taller dimensions, the SX4 manages to attack corners well. Where the SX4 feels a bit reluctant to attack corners, the Volkswagen Vento seems delighted at spotting them. The steering wheel in the Vento has reasonable feedback for the driver and give him assurance that all is well. As for the ride quality, the Volkswagen Vento TDI in India absorbs all road undulations very well. However it lets in a bit of the ruts and ride quality is just a bit harder than the Verna. For the highway stability, the Vento feels extremely stable. However its front overhangs mean that scraping over speed breakers is an issue. The Fiat Linea Multijet in India is one car which has been tuned aptly for the Indian conditions. It has a suspension which is not too hard and coupled with the long wheelbase, give a stable ride quality. It does let the occupant know that there are some road imperfections however never too disconcerting to give the spinal cord a true workout. For the handling front, it is one eager beaver but the ground clearance is lowest of the lot and hence one has to be careful over speed breakers and stuff. Also visibility is a slight problem due to the sloping rear roof. However its steering wheel is the most communicative of the lot and hence lets the driver know what is going on beneath. However maneuverability in town is a bit of an issue since the Fiat has a bigger turning circle.

NVH is one of the lowest in the new Verna and after that comes the Fiat Linea followed closely by Maruti SX4 and Volkswagen Vento.

As for the best choice in the ride and handling category, it would be the Volkswagen Vento followed by the Linea, Verna and SX4.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

Two of the cars here share their engines and those happen to be the Fiat Linea and the Maruti SX4. The 1248 cc engine makes 93 Ps of power and 209 Nm of torque in the Linea whereas in the SX4, it is 90 Ps of power and 200 Nm of torque. Both these cars have 5 speed transmissions. The petrol SX4 had a slightly notchier shift action, which has been totally eliminated in the new diesel. Infact, the diesel shifts quite unobtrusively. The Fiat Linea also has a gearbox which is a willing one but with long throws. The 0-100 kmph figure for the Linea was 14.6 seconds whereas for the SX4, it was 13.7 seconds, a good one second difference. Both the cars have approximate top speeds in excess of 160 kmph. For the Volkswagen Vento, it is a 1.6 liter common rail turbo engine which develops 105 Ps of power and 250 Nm of torque. Turbo lag is apparent but not so much as in the Linea or SX4. This engine along with the smooth shifting 5 speed manual transmission enables the Vento to post a time of 11.6 seconds for the 0-100 kmph run whereas top speed is close to 180 kmph. As for the new member on the block, the Hyundai Verna, it boast of an all new engine for the Indian market. This 1.6 liter engine is a common rail Variable Geometry Turbo unit which pumps out 128 Ps of power and 260 Nm of torque, which are the highest figures in this comparison. It is mated with a 6 speed manual which is one of the slickest gearboxes which we have tested recently. It enables the Verna to move past the 0-100 barrier within 10.5 seconds. It also registers a top speed of 190 plus.

The Hyundai Verna Fluidic has got all wheel disc brakes which none of the others in this competition boast of. Needless to say, there is no fuss from the car whilst coming to a complete stop. However the brake pedal feel, like the earlier Verna is still wooden and it doesn’t inspire much confidence. ABS and EBD contribute to the decent stopping distances by the Verna. The Vento has got a brake pedal which communicates the most to the driver and hence is confidence inspiring. It only gets ABS as a company. For the SX4, it is EBD and ABS coupled with drums at the rear and discs in the front. The Fiat Linea also has a Verna mimicking brake pedal feel but one with a wee bit more of confidence. It also has got ABS and EBD for assisting it in retardation duties. In the safety features stakes, it is the new Verna which comes out on top with a collapsible steering column and never seen before 6 airbags. The others have 2 air bags for company along with a steering that collapses and side intrusion beams. Speaking of security features, the central locking in the Vento is actually a security hazard since only the driver can lock the door and unlock it for all the 5 passengers. This is seen in other VW group cars as well.

For the fuel efficiency stakes, if one thinks that the new Verna Fluidic has got the fuel efficiency sacrificed at the altar of the performance, then you are wrong. It has an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 22.32 kmpl which translates to an overall 15.8 kmpl. The Fiat Linea Multijet has an ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure of 18.3 kmpl which however in the overall stakes comes down to 14.9 kmpl. The Volkswagen Vento TDI returns an overall 14.8 kmpl against the ARAI figure of 20.5 kmpl. As for the Maruti SX4 DDiS, it’s a real world figure of 14.6 stacked against the ARAI certified 21.5 kmpl.

Its easy to see here that the Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” CRDI in India has got the better engine with safety features and better fuel efficiency. It is followed by the Fiat Linea, Volkswagen Vento and the Maruti SX4.

Verdict

As far as the verdict goes in this test, the Vento wins the overall comparison. However that is not the real verdict. A person buying a Rs 10 lakhs car would obviously want his car to have nice interiors, which the Vento simply doesn’t have. Don’t get us wrong here. The Vento has a good, solid cabin but one which is staid by its appearance and lack of features. The latter is the most irritating part in this car. Stack that up against Volkswagen’s weak dealer network and the prospect of owning a Vento diminishes into oblivion. So out goes the Vento out of the window. Next down is the Maruti SX4 diesel. It has the same cabin which seems Spartan as compared with the Verna. However it has Maruti dealer and service network as a good backup plus the lower cost of spares as compared with any other car in this category. Now, it’s the turn of the Fiat Linea. The Linea has its share of handsomeness thrown in along with a beautiful cabin filled with features. However in the main stakes and that is interior space, form takes over function. Its fuel efficiency is a surprise package and the Linea has the big car feel. So, this leaves the new Verna “Fluidic”. The new Verna has got its beautifully sculpted interiors as a plus point and the bomb of a CRDI engine which not only is highly energetic but also very fuel efficient. However its looks are a big no-no and its wish wash handling. However it delivers that all important feel good factor which only the Linea can match somewhat. Plus the sales and service part is almost at par with Maruti if a trifle more costly.

The price of these sedans also are different in their characteristics. The Fiat Linea Multijet price in India for the top end variant ends at Rs 906320 while the Hyundai Verna “Fluidic” CRDI price in India is Rs 10.98 lakhs. The Maruti SX4 DDiS price in India is Rs 9.98 lakhs whereas the Volkswagen Vento TDI price in India is Rs 10.61 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai.

Our pick of the day is the new Verna followed by the Volkswagen Vento, Fiat Linea and the SX4.

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122 Responses

  1. Copare Handling : Vento v/s Verna

    The Vento has proved its mettle in the handling department by being one of the best handling cars in India today. Its precise handling combined with a good steering feel and feedback and almost no body roll have made it a segment leader. And, frankly, I feel that the Verna has a long way to go before it can challenge the Vento in terms of handling. The Verna has a soft suspension set-up because of which the car rocks a lot when it goes into a ditch or over a speed-breaker. Body roll is quite noticeable when you take a corner unlike the Vento, which remains much more stable round corners and holds the line right until the exit. At high speeds the Vento is rock-solid whereas the Verna does not inspire in you the confidence to push harder. The feedback from the Verna’s steering is a little strange and the car doesn’t seem to communicate with the driver much whereas the Vento’s steering is a delight, albeit a little on the heavy side. Both the cars are almost at par in braking, but I felt that the feel on the Vento was much better than that on the Verna.

  2. Don’t agree with lots of thing in the review, but overall a good review.
    @ Dvansia, you are right, Vento has proved its mettle in the handling department, but the author hasn’t compared City here. Anyways, a buyer living in any city of India, and who would be spending 10 Lkhs, wont just need a good handling car, but need all the other basic and some D segment features in his C segment sedan. Basic features like rear sensors, USB connectivity, Bluetooth and many other Verna features. I wont talk about Linea and Sx4 as both are under power car but yet better over Vento & Verna too compares to prices they offer and amazing service network of Maruti. I’ll just stick to V & V.
    1stly, buying such expensive sedan means overall satisfaction, Vento lacks in Looks, features (compared to Verna), Service network big time. Off-course you do get these stuff in outside market, but then these things are available in cheaper sedans as well. So just for the sake of good handling, why would anybody spend 10 Lakhs? Vento is a brilliant car but lacks features, looks and poor VW service network big time. Whereas Verna with amazing looks, many 1st in segment features, powerful & best fuel efficient proven engine, best service netowk (after Maruti), becomes the best sedan in C segment. In fact only Verna dares to challenge D segment cars when it comes to Features, looks etc.
    The feel of the car is any-day better then Vento, let it be driving pleasure, inside feel, sound of engine in the city. About handling, well this depends people to people, so I would say Verna is good enough in this department too. I would rate Vento after Verna only in terms of powerful sedan. In total comparison, I would put Sx4 after Verna with cheap spares/service, best network, good enough space, basic features, mini SUV feel, amazing mileage etc. That way, Vento becomes 3rd in my comparison of C segment diesel sedans.
    Cheers!!

  3. Good one..but the the facts is those who ready to spent 10 lacs..gives quality and safety the first priority.

    Features are just a gimmik to sell the car.

    Thoghg SX4 and Linea were launched with the features that no one were offering, but, Honda City remained the leader inspite of not offering climate control…!! Why ?

    In india, people want quality for money and not the features..and the same mentalily has worked behind the success of VW Vento..!!!

    Only Vento offeres
    - Six years anti rust warranty for the body paint (that too in Indian climate..)
    -Recently got extended warraty for another two years (i.e total 4 years now).
    - First service is only after 15000 Kms (Maruti / Hyundai starts charging you from the first day of your purchase on the name of free services for oils / coolants / oil filters etc.)

    For those who wants features…. Linea, SX4 and New Verna are there..

    But for those who want quality in all the fronts,I rate as below :
    1) Vento
    2) City
    3) Linea
    4) New Verna
    5) SX4

    Happy Motoring folks..

  4. I am following your reviews since long time now. I am planning to buy a car and need your suggestion. following is the

    -Diesel Sedan Car as my per day travelling would be 50km min
    -Low on Maintenace and reliable Car
    -Good fuel efficiency
    -City (Bangalore- B to B Traffic) travel Week days and sometimes long drive on week ends
    -Budget – Exshowroom 8~9L Bangalore
    -Planning to retain as long as 8~9 years
    -Comfortable for 5 people seating

    I liked the linea MJD but I have following concerns
    -Pickup in City Traffic
    -Ground Clearance with car fully loaded
    -After sales and service
    -AC

    Appreciate your help

    • The AC for this car is a tad weak but the ground clearance isn’t a problem. As for the spares and service, it is also now comparable with the others in its class.

      • Thanks for reply. As I will be driving daily through the City traffic (Bumper to bumper traffic) Will Pickup and Turning Radius would be an issue? I do not need the powerfull car but I should drive with comfort and without fatigue…

        • The turning radius is a bit of bother but with the diesel engined Linea, there have been complaints regarding the lower power. However, you would get used to it pretty much early on.

    • Hi Sharad,
      If you are planning to retain such long period 8-9yrs.Linea is not suitable as rusting problem with linea with in 1 year( you can find out on google just type rusting problem with linea with images) and also AC is not good. Go for vento or verna and for quality that retain such long time go for vento

      • Thanks Amit. I had TD of linea MJD few days back. I noticed the AC functioning was not upto the mark. The prices of Vento and Fluidic are on higher side of my budget. Even if I stretch to the base versions It doesnt have safety features like Airbags and ABS…

    • i am owning linea emotion diesel from last year.its a great car packed with class leading features.very reliable and fiat is trying provide best of care.getting mileage of 15+ in gurgaon city. I suggest to keep it for at least 8yrs. Because its trouble free and resale value is not good for fiat cars at moment will improve when fiat’s market improve which definately will because they are putting effort.

    • y r u not purchasing toyota etios? I thnk its a nce car…. bcoz toyota showrom z 225km far away from my towm that the reason i m purchasing volkswagen vento.

  5. ‘rusting problem’ is blown out of proportion….it is there with a few bosso nova white lineas, the paint compound is the culprit.Also vento`s long term reliability is nt proven either.If you search major forums you will find many polos with non functioning turbos and defective engine blocks,

  6. I am planning to buy a new car with following conditions:
    1. daily running = 150-200 kms (approx)
    2. good fuel efficiency
    3. good ground clearance
    4. fully loaded car
    5. good pick up in city
    6. budget = 9-10 lacs (Goa)
    7. good after sales service network
    8. fuel = Diesel

  7. vento is best,, solid car, smooth handling’

  8. confused between VENTO DIESEL,HONDA CITY,NEW VERNA DIESEL.

    WAITING FOR URGENT REPLY AS I HAVE TO DECIDE IN A WEEKS TIME

    • Dear Rajesh,
      You wont get delivery of Verna in a week, you have to wait for at least two months or so. Check with the Hyundai dealer in your area. If you want a car future proof (in terms of specs, brand name etc.) Verna is class leading car. If you are obsessed with Western names and just want a good diesel engine and can compromise in looks, specs, space, but good handling, go for Vento. If you just want a diesel car with good enough features and other specs, go for SX4 diesel as you’ll also get best re-salve value in SX4.
      Same goes in Petrol car but City is definitely the best but lacks features big time. Also Honda is launching face lifted City in a month or two and new model of City in 2012. Your 10 lakhs would look older in few months, if you don’t want that, go for Verna which is future proof. Fyi, VW also plannin to launch face lifted Vento next year Mark or April.
      So Verna is not just the best but also future proof sedan. Choice is yours..
      Cheers!!

  9. I am looking for a diesel car, max 9 lacs ex showroom . Can any one suggest which one s good with al good features like mileage ,look ,interiors ,quality, suspension and so on. Basically i am lookin for only top end cars with manual gears.

  10. OK guys, with the launch of the Nissan Sunny, your ratings will have to change. The Sunny is beautiful in all respects including a fantastic price. Want to re-rate?

  11. 2 months waiting period for Fluidic Verna clearly shows how well it has been perceived by the Indian consumers that the demand is going so high.. You can’t compare Nissan Sunny with Verna Fluidic and other upper C segment cars. Sunny is good when compared with Verito, Dzire, Toyota latest crap, n other similar cars… Verna Fluidic comes under upper C segment and the sedan has been compared with D segment cars as well.
    When we buy a sedan, go by features, engine power, luxury, facilities, safety, brand, after sales service etc.. every car with a big boot isn’t a complete sedan…
    Cheers!!

    • excuse me!!!….does anybody know a company named ford which also sells its cars in india..guys do include the all new ford fiesta..took a test drive few days back..its just a cream to drive…do include it and check it out

  12. Hi
    I m looking forward to get a diesal sedan upto 9 lacs.
    With good features mileage looks interior
    Among fluidic n linea which one is better in looks

    • hi both cars have equaly good looks.linea is package of looks performance and built quality of ship but it is not value for money if you got sell it out early say with in three yrs . Verna is better value for money but dont have the handling comfort and class of performance linea has.

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