Words by Aniruddha Rangnekar
There are cars that grow on you with their all-round ability. The new Hyundai Verna is definitely one that has done this to me. After driving it initially when it had come for test, it didn’t leave a very lasting impression to be honest. Although everything felt good in the cabin and the car drove well, I only began to truly understand why the Verna has won the prestigious Indian Car Of The Year award when we took our long term car out on a shoot recently.
We drove over 150 kilometres on a mix of national highways, village roads and twisty mountain roads, where the all-round ability of the Verna started to shine. Planted and stable at three-digit cruising speeds, it absorbs most bumps and undulations easily, making the driving experience absolutely relaxing. The added benefit of Cruise control on our car makes things even better, when the roads allow it. Though the steering doesn’t give you much feedback, the handling characteristics of the car are safe and very predictable. I enjoyed the it most coming out of corners, as the turbo would come on boost and rocket the car out. All this is thanks to the more rigid build of the new Verna, as Hyundai have used more high strength steel.
It looks properly premium too and when you see another one on the road, it could easily be mistaken for the more premium Elantra that Hyundai offers. I particularly like the sharp-looking 16-inch alloys wheels, which also fill up the wheel arches nicely. They of course aid in the great ride and handling package this car has to offer. Aiding this is the new set of MRF Perfinza tyres we’ve recently installed on our long term Verna. The tyres have improved the driving experience by offering more cornering grip, while the softer compound has further improved on the ride. On the inside, the Verna feels very familiar to other Hyundai (Creta and Elite i20) long term cars we’ve had in the past, which from our experience is a very good thing. There are of course many premium touches as well, the cooled seats being the most distinctive one. The only niggle on the car so far have been the air bag lights, which kept flashing intermittently on the instrument cluster. The sensor had failed and has been replaced by the company under warranty.