2020 Hyundai Verna 1.5 petrol manual road test review
A big part of Hyundai-Kia's strategy for dominating the Indian market has been to have all bases covered with every new car they offer. We saw it with the Kia Seltos and its innumerable variants, then in the Hyundai Creta and in the Nios/Aura twins. A similar situation has played out with the facelifted Hyundai Verna.
The highlight for this update is the fiesty new Verna Turbo that we've also just driven. But Hyundai is also offering the facelifted Verna with its 1.5-litre BSVI petrol and diesel options. Like with the Seltos/Creta, the petrol can be had with a CVT and the diesel with a torque-convertor automatic transmission. This aside from a six-speed manual for both. The result of this is that there will always be a version of the Verna that perfectly suits your needs.
And if your needs amount to largely having a comfortable, spacious car that'll fit into your daily grind easily then this petrol manual might be a good way to go. Its 1.5-litre motor loses just 5PS to the Turbo with 115PS at 6,300 rpm. The gap in torque is wider but still a respectable 145 Nm at 4,500 rpm. We drove it with the six-speed manual, and with this drivetrain, we were impressed by how this motor behaved around town. This is due to this engine's sharp low-end response. Combined with the light, progressive clutch and a shift action that has that typical Hyundai precision, setting off from traffic lights and such, is a brisk experience. In fact, our testing found this version to be a full second quicker to 100 kmph from standstill than the Turbo, but that has more to do with the Turbo's DCT limiting revs during full-bore launches. A situation you are unlikely to face very often in day-to-day driving.
Of course, the 1.5-litre petrol loses this advantage in part-throttle manouveres, given its peak power is at a higher point in its rev-range. Despite the muted mid-range, compared to the turbo petrol, this 1.5-litre motor is extremely tractable. You can drive around in 2nd or 3rd gear all day in the city. It's only during quicker overtakes or merging into faster expressway traffic will you need to drop down a few gears to fully awaken the motor. This version loses out on the rear disc brakes that the Turbo provides. There is a very mild drop in braking performance as a result of this, but in practice some of the twitchy brake feel of the Turbo is also gone, making for a more progressive experience. Another advantage over the Turbo is real-world efficiency, the 1.5 petrol returns 14.6 kmpl versus the Turbo's 13.9 kmpl.
We suspect that having chosen this version of the Verna, you will also like to spend more time in the rear seat. The non-turbo Verna gets a dual-tone black and beige interior. This livens up the already spacious interiors further, especially in the rear. Here the reasonably large glasshouse and good under-thigh support from the seats make for one of the best rear-seat experiences in this class. There is enough space here to fit in a tight three or a very comfortable two, although more legroom would be welcome. The ride quality is very similar to the pre-facelift Verna, largely stable although medium to large-sized imperfections do filter through.
The petrol Verna will also hold up well if you like the occasional family road trip. The light but progressive steering, the steady high-speed demeanour, six-speed gearbox and a free-reving motor help in this regard. Like in the Turbo, equipment levels are very good with the new eight-inch infotainment, digitized instrument cluster and connected car features. There's also the sunroof, wireless charging, ventilated front seats and the hands-free boot release. Hyundai has been loading up its cars with power sockets and charging ports and that convenience carries over here too. We only wish that the petrol also got the front parking sensor that are available in the Turbo. Otherwise, the stong safety equipment list remains intact.
To round things off, the non-Tubo Verna gets slightly differentiated styling to go with its more sedate demeanour. The wider new grille is finished in brushed chrome, that doesn't look as flashy as you might expect. The new LED headlamps and tailamps are identical to the Turbo but the bumpers are different. The front gets different fog lamp inserts and a wide chrome strip while the rear is a completely different unit with different faux air skirts, a less-aggressive faux diffuser and chrome detailing. The exhaust tip is also hidden here. There may not be the added aggression of the Turbo here, but like in that version, these changes have livened up the Verna's look.
The Verna was always one of the cars we liked most as a daily commuter, in its long stint in the OD Garage last year. Of the many engine options available with the sedan now, we think the petrol motor will be the one to go for if you are looking for a well-equipped car that will allow you a stress-free urban driving experience. Yes, the Turbo's drivetrain may be more flexible, but for almost Rs 1.5 lakh less ex-showroom, this could be the version that is the most value in the new range. This is especially true now given that the long-term cost advantages of running a diesel car have been largely diluted.
0-100 kmph (dry): 11.5s
100-0 kmph (wet): 47m/3.5s
30-50 kmph (3rd): 4.5s
50-70 kmph (4th): 6.0s
60-80 kmph (5th): 11.3s
City: 13.2 kmpl
Highway: 18.9 kmpl
Overall: 14.6 kmpl
Watch our video review of the 2020 Hyundai Verna below
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