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All about the new Hyundai Verna
BSM Desk | August 05, 2006
Okay, before you ask, this car is not replacing the Accent. What you are looking at is the new Hyundai Verna, slated to be launched this September in the country.
In Europe and in the US, the Verna is known as the Accent because it just replaced the facelifted version of the one that's still doing sterling service in India.
In India however, the Verna will be positioned at a segment above the Accent... which means it will take on the invincible Honda City, while also facing off with the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Aveo. So does the new Verna have what it takes? Let's have a look.
The Verna is larger than the Accent in all aspects, but more importantly, it comes with a longer wheelbase than the above-mentioned competition. Which translates to better room, especially for rear passengers. Dimensionally, it is similar to the City, though it does not look as funky as the Honda.
In terms of appearance, the new Verna will not exactly set your pulse racing, but it is neat and well-tucked in like a well-groomed schoolboy.
While the Honda looks avant garde, the Verna looks contemporary, almost a generation ahead compared to the architecture of the Fiesta and Aveo. If you remove the Hyundai logo, and fit the Toyota badge, it won't look out of place either, it's that safe when it comes to design. And comparable in build quality too.
Hyundai's now putting together cars better than ever before, and the Verna comes through as a quality product with tight shutlines and an attention to detail.
The overall layout of the interiors are not that exceptional, but the quality of materials used in Hyundais has been substantially improving. The look of the entire dash is more Korean rather than European (like in the Getz and Sonata), but expect it to be comprehensively equipped.
But a contemporary design language, quality materials and better engineering tolerances is not enough for the Verna to grab some market share.
What's critical is the drivetrain package, and it looks as if Hyundai has done its homework in this area. Two all-new four-cylinder engines are on offer, a 1600cc CVVT petrol and a 1500cc CRDi.
A new five-speed manual gearbox will transfer the power to the front wheels, that promises to be much more crisp than the one in the Accent. The 1599cc all-aluminium gasoline motor is from Hyundai's new Gamma family and features double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and Continuous Variable Valve Technology.
Which means a free-revving engine that, with CVVT, will save fuel at lower revs and offer better performance at higher rpm. Developing 110 bhp at 6000 rpm and 14.8 kgm of torque at 4500 revs, this engine looks quite fit and ready to take on the City VTEC and the 1.6 variants of both the Fiesta and Aveo.
Still, the engine to watch out for is the new CRDi motor. The Accent, with the three-cylinder CRDi engine was no shrinking violet, and now, the Verna's diesel version will just put that in retrospective.
Firstly, it is now complete, with the addition of a cylinder. Then, it incorporates a variable geometry turbocharger, which makes it less wild than the three-cylinder CRDi, allowing for seamless and virtually lag-free performance.
And boy, will it be torquey! Displacing 1493cc, this new CRDi motor develops 108 bhp at 4000 rpm, and a whopping 23.8 kgm of torque between 1900 and 2750 rpm.
That's better than the turbodiesel that all performance enthusiasts love, the Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDi, and comes close to the Laura's 25 kgm. If Hyundai manages to keep these figures intact without having to modify them to adapt to Indian fuel quality and operating conditions, then we'll have a diesel car for petrolheads indeed.
The suspension setup on offer includes McPherson struts at front and torsion beam axle at the rear. Of course, the whole setup will be modified to adapt to Indian conditions, in terms of being able to tackle bad roads, while keeping the ride comfortable for the rear passengers.
The new Verna has spent some serious time at Hyundai's proving grounds at Namyang in South Korea to get its ride and handling sorted, while its architecture is stiffer than the Accent - allowing it to give a more integrated feel. But we'll wait for a full test in India to tell you how good its dynamics are.
So will the new Hyundai Verna manage to garner some marketshare at the expense of the strongly entrenched competition?
A safe reply would be it depends on the pricing. Expect the Verna to be competitively priced - between Rs 6.5 and Rs 7.5 lakh - and loaded with plenty of equipment too, including safety features and other modern conveniences.But more important, it has two promising engines that can tilt the balance in its favour - the CVVT petrol tackles the Honda City variants, while it looks like the turbodiesel will beat the Fiesta's 68 bhp/16 kgm TDCi outright in the performance stakes. It's pretty exciting, isn't it? So hold on till we get behind the wheel of the new Verna.