2011 New Hyundai Verna launch: First impressions!

Hyundai Motor India Limited, today launched the new 2011 Hyundai Verna, which was earlier dubbed the Verna RB.

The company has priced the car aggressively, with five variants each in petrol and diesel, and a total of four engine choices. Prices range from Rs. 6.99 lakhs for the base 1.4 petrol to Rs. 10.74 lakhs for the top-end 1.6 diesel automatic.

Hyundai verna interior photo gallery

verna exterior photo gallery

At the launch of the new Verna we got a close look at the car, and will get you a detailed test drive report also very soon. Now here are some first impressions about the car.

Scroll down for a video walkaround of the car

new hyundai verna colours
Photo: One of the new colours on the Verna

LOOKS

verna-petrol factsThe new Hyundai Verna boasts of a “fluidic” design. One of the key designers of the car, G.H.Hyun, design manager, Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea, was there at the launch. Hyun says the car has “dynamic movement with the smoothness of silk.”

He adds, “We wanted to design a compact car with a dynamic, sporty image. We’ve given it a coupe-like sporty profile.” The body side character line along the side is a unique design element as well, which gives the car a strong road presence.

Hyundai is developing the hexagonal grille pattern as a family look – the i10 has it and now the Verna, while the next generation i20 will get it too. The other family look among Hyundai’s cars is the winged-grille, which the Sonata and Santa Fe have.

When you look at the 2011 Hyundai Verna from the front, you can see the resemblance to the i10 and i20. The headlamps, grille and bumper give it an aggressive, Piscean look.

From the side, you begin to see what Hyundai means by the fluidic look, with the car looking aerodynamic and coupe-like.

verna diesel factsViewed from the rear, the Hyundai Verna seems thankfully very proportionate and much better looking than the Maruti Suzuki SX4 or the new Ford Fiesta, with a smart boot lid, neat chrome garnish (that also hides a tiny rear-view camera on the SX variants) and wrap around tail lamps, while the bumper gets neat reflector inserts. The dual-chrome exhaust tips, look better than the earlier Verna’s rectangular tip.

The car features disc brakes with ABS all around, and 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/55 R 16 tyres. These fill up the wheel well neatly and give the car a sporty look.

INTERIORS

The interiors of the new 2011 Hyundai Verna were very impressive on the top-end 1.6 SX petrol automatic that we checked out. It features leather upholstery, push-button keyless ignition, electric folding mirrors, steering audio controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity with steering buttons, climate control with an ionizer to purify the air (this was earlier seen on the Hyundai Sonata), and speed-sensitive auto-locking doors to name a few. The automatically dimming electro-chromic inside rear view mirror has a built in screen that acts as a display for the rear view camera and parking sensors.

The automatic has a comfortable dead pedal, and front seats have good lumbar support. The electronic power steering is only tilt-adjustable and does not adjust for reach. The 2-DIN CD-MP3 audio system seemed neat, but we would have liked Hyundai to provide the GPS-navigation system that the i20 has. Hyundai has said they would consider this if customers demand it. It comes with USB and Aux-in as well as an iPod cable.

hyundai verna interior

In the rear, seating comfort is good. Legroom is better than the new Ford Fiesta and also better than the SX4, and at par with the Volkswagen Vento. Under-thigh support is good. The middle passenger in the rear seat also sits fairly comfortably, as the floor is almost flat – which is a good thing, and there is an additional adjustable headrest for the centre passenger too. However, the seats are pretty low and one has to sink into them, not slide in like the SX4.

2011 Hyundai Verna walkaround video

If only two people are seated in the rear, the centre armrest can be flipped down and it has a small storage box in it for knickknacks like a pad and pen perhaps. There’s an armrest in between the front seats as well, under which is a storage box.

Headroom is a bit tight in the rear, for six-footers or tall Sikhs, due to the sharply sloping rear roofline. Visibility out the rear window too is slightly restricted by the centre head rest and high parcel shelf. It’s a good thing Hyundai provides parking aids with this car.

The 1.6 SX option pack version features six airbags – driver, passenger and four side curtain airbags. The plain 1.6 versions have only a driver airbag, while the 1.4 does not have airbags, while the 1.6 SX gets two airbags.

What we also missed were rear AC vents. This car definitely needs rear AC vents, and we hope Hyundai can add that in a future update.

Overall plastic quality was pretty good, with some use of fake wood around the centre fascia and door-armrests.

ENGINE

The 2011 Hyundai Verna that we checked out was a 1.6 SX petrol-engine Verna with a variable-valve timing engine that puts out 123 PS of power at 6,300 rpm and 15.8 Kgm of torque at 4,200 rpm. The 1.6 VGT diesel puts out 128 PS of power at 4,000 rpm and 26.5 Kgm of torque at 1,900-2,750 rpm.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine puts out 107 PS of power at 6,300 rpm and 13.8 Kgm of torque at 5,000 rpm. The 1.4-litre diesel engine puts out 90 PS of power at 4,000 rpm and 22.43 Kgm of torque at 1,750- 2,750 rpm (this engine is similar to the i20 diesel).

The manual transmission petrol Verna features a five-speed transmission with both the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines. The diesel Verna gets a six-speed transmission with both the 1.4-litre diesel and 1.6-litre diesel. The top-end SX models in both petrol and diesel also have a four-speed automatic option, which features tiptronic manual selection as well.

Hyundai claims an ARAI-certified mileage of 17.43 kmpl for the 1.4-litre petrol Verna and 17 kmpl for the 1.6 petrol Verna. Among the diesel engine options, Hyundai claims a mileage of 23.5 kmpl for the 1.4-litre diesel and 22.32 kmpl for the 1.6-litre diesel engine. If real-world mileage is anywhere close to these figures, which we shall find out in our road test in a few days, this car has all the makings of a winner. The Honda City and Volkswagen Vento will seriously need to rethink their fuel-efficiency settings, while the SX4 diesel comes close, but is underpowered compared to the Verna.

PRICING

Hyundai seems to have pulled a coup of sorts with the introductory pricing. It has put 10 variants (five-petrol and five diesel) on sale, to completely straddle all segments and competitors. With the base 1.4 petrol priced at Rs. 6.99 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, it’s at par with the SX4 VXi petrol, but is slightly more powerful.

The 1.4-diesel Verna is just marginally more expensive than the SX4 diesel at Rs. 8.09 lakhs, compared to the SX4 VDi’s price of Rs. 7.79 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, and at par with the Volkswagen Vento TDI Trendline. The 1.6 diesel Verna’s starting price is Rs. 8.74 lakhs, and beats the SX4 diesel and the Vento on sheer performance.

The car is available in silver, grey, beige, black, white and purple colors.

VERDICT

In our opinion, the Verna 1.6 SX petrol at Rs. 8.24 lakhs and the Verna SX diesel at Rs. 9.34 lakhs are the best choices among the 10 variants on offer, looking at a balance of safety features and conveniences. The car looks to woo buyers on a budget, as well as those looking for bells and whistles. It will make Maruti SX4 loyalists and Honda City loyalists take a second look. Hyundai plans to sell about 45,000 Vernas in a year. Going by initial reactions to the car, the target looks achievable, but it will have to sell close to 4,000 cars a month to get there, knocking the wind out of the current segment sales leader – the Volkswagen Vento and the second best-seller, SX4. We still need to see what Ford can pull out of the hat now with the new Fiesta.

The Hyundai Verna will appeal to both chauffeur driven and self-driven individuals, given its good rear seat comfort and decent driver ergonomics. Looking at the power and mileage specs on paper it has all the makings of a class leader, but we’ll wait for our full test drive to give you a better-informed opinion on the car. Go test drive the car, it’s reaching dealers today!

Also check out the 2011 Hyundai Verna photo gallery.

PRICES

 

Variant 2011 Hyundai Verna – ex-showroom, Delhi (Rs.)
1.4 1.6 1.6 SX 1.6 SX(O) 1.6 SX(O) AT
Petrol 699,000 764,500 824,500 894,500 964,500
Diesel 809,000 874,500 934,500 1,004,500 1,074,500

Technical Specifications

2011 Hyundai Verna Petrol Diesel
Engine cc 1396 cc 1591 cc 1396 cc 1582 cc
Power (PS/rpm) 107 / 6,300 123 / 6,300 90 / 4,000 128 / 4,000
Torque (Kgm / rpm) 13.8 / 5,000 15.8 / 4,200 22.43/ 1750-2750 26.50 / 1900-2750
Gearbox 5-speed manual 5-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
4-speed auto 4-speed auto
Tyres 185/65 R 15 195 / 55 R 16 185 / 65 R 15 195 /55 R 16
Brakes Front disc Front disc Front disc Front disc
Rear drum Rear disc Rear drum Rear disc

Cool features

Engine start/stop button

Smart key

Rear parking camera

Rear parking sensors

Auto dim Electro Chromic rearview mirrors

Clean air cluster ionizer

Sliding centre armrest

Electrically foldable outside mirrors

Multi-information display with blue-while backlighting

Eco indicator for automatic transmission

Six Airbags

Speed sensing auto door lock

Impact sensing auto door unlock

Front & rear disc brakes

Six-speed manual transmission for the diesel engines