There is a way one runs a Formula 1 team. Order, decorum and a lot of moving parts falling in the right places at the right time. One needs that kind of attitude and workflow to do a lot of winning. From the days of the fluidic design being incorporated into their line-up, Hyundai India has been regularly been taking the fight to segment leaders with the aim of dethroning them. With that, same spirt in form and strategy comes the 2020 Hyundai Verna facelift! So what has Hyundai done to keep the 2020 season plagued by COVID-19 interesting for buyers? Let’s find out.
Sensuous sportiness! Those are the words on which the design language is based for new cars from Hyundai. I see it a bit in the Elantra for sure. The Aura and Creta do not show off those traits well at all. But what about the Verna? Yes, finally sportiness is taken care of. The car in its regular avatar or the turbo fascia looks pretty well balanced. In that I mean it has not been overdone. The taillights have been minutely updated, the grille with black chrome looks in your face and sophisticated.
The black grille on the Turbo looks dare I say – a bit badass along with the black alloy wheels, inserts on the bumper and the faux diffuser beneath it. I like the nine LEDs in the headlamp and the front bumper which projects a sporty stance. The one thing I should warn you about is that, you cannot walk up to the boot of your car and convert it into a makeshift table on the roadside highway because the Verna will count to three and flip your coffee and burger off itself like a temperamental girlfriend.
Ya, it gets a smart trunk. You’ve got to surprise your car by quickly walking past its rear before it decides to open the boot. I’m sure it helps and you might be able to switch it off if gets annoying. Now it’s the side where we see an old friend – the last hints of the old ‘fluidic design’ Verna. There is no problem with that. I think all fluidic design cars from Hyundai looked good and elegant.
The c-pillar is the best looking rear quarter look in the segment but this car needed a sporty line here to now go with the front and rear to bring both the front and rear in complete harmony. But that is fine. I like that its a party in the front and rear, while the middle is very business. Let’s get in the middle now…the interior I mean.
Here come the facelift hits: BlueLink, Ventilated seats, wireless charging and a new digital instrument cluster. Done? No, let me dwell a bit now. The interior might come off a bit boring but it is a nice place to be in everyday…for the next few years. I like the seamless touchscreen experience. For me Android Auto is important and the interface here is good. And when I’m not using the Android Auto in a Hyundai with BlueLink I like to see how smart is the voice assistant and the navigation.
I called up people with weird names and after two tries and loud pronunciations, the system got through. The navigation is too detailed which shows if I’m too take the next flyover or exit in graphic detail. The buttons are well placed for the air-con controls, steering mounted functions and even the seats are fine. This whole front row layout is great, Hyundai has resisted adding faux wood touches too. Overall the unexciting interior is nice place to be in and the ambience is taken a notch or two higher by the Turbo variant’s black interior with red stitching.
Now we are not done. The second row is where the Verna loses the buyers who don’t care about it’s gizmos to the Honda City. Knee room is just adequate but someone over six-foot will feel utterly cramped by the slopping roofline cramping the headroom. Yes you get rear AC vents and an armrest if you are a passenger but the front row is the one to be at, in the Hyundai Verna
We have driven the 1.5-litre diesel manual and 1.0-litre turbo petrol with a seven-speed DCT version of the Verna. And here is a shocker – I liked the diesel manual. Maybe its the kind of driver I am, (i liked the manual Honda City petrol over the CVT too. READ REVIEW. #SaveTheManuals) the six-speed paired with the 115bhp diesel mill is much more involving for a keen driver. The gearbox is smooth, yes the pedal has some lag but you can feather the clutch in to make things more frantic and fast.
I like that Hyundai diesel is the least noisy when it comes to cabin NVH levels. And with all that low-end torque of the diesel engine, it makes for easy driving in third gear around the city. I’m sure the petrol might have an even lighter clutch and the petrol CVT will be the choice of city dwellers but I don’t find the need to go for the petrol in this regard cause we have to review those cars still.
Speaking of convenience and power, let’s talk about the Turbo. You see over the past two weeks we drove both cars back to back. Off the line, the DCT is going to be quickly provided you leave it in drive and don’t take manual control with the paddle shifters. The paddle shifters are nice…to show off. They really won’t let me downshift even though I know the RPM is correct that will result in a burst of acceleration. No, the electronic nannies are there to look after the expensive DCT gubbins.
Obviously it can misbehave with the Traction Control switched off but I sense you still are not in complete control (cause the car thinks you are out of control). I like the Turbo cause it exists and now that Hyundai has paired this engine with its iMT gearbox in the Venue DCT I hope they do it with the Verna too. I’d love to revisit this car then, that offers more involvement and control. For now, the diesel manual is great. I liked the handling too which is nothing to boast about but let’s just say is simple and easy to drive as a Hyundai should be. The diesel engine is better refined from the 1.6-litre it replaces, makes up for serious speed if the gearbox is worked, is involving on the highway and will return double-digit mileage in contrast to the Turbo which was guzzling fuel too quickly.
This 2020 Hyundai Verna facelift might not look like much but is a lot. It is the companies attempt to set a benchmark and dethrone the City which has till now fought off all invading parties. If the buyers today want to boast features, it has them in bucketloads. Where the principle of comfort and moderation arise I still think the new City has the Verna cornered. But the pressure is mounting.
The Honda City might still offer a majestic throne and brilliant ergonomics but when it comes to technology, new aids and I have to add this – LOOKS, which the tech-savvy buyer is after, the Verna will come on the top. Also suddenly the Maruti Ciaz and Toyota Yaris have become a sort of ancient. So, this clever facelift, in the end, packed a punch to shake the new generation car? I think it’s not done punching. The story will continue once we get hold of petrol and the City unveils its price. It’s nice to talk about sedans going after each other this year before we go back to SUVs.