The popular Hyundai Verna compact sedan is back in business with its midcycle facelift. After a fairly successful launch in August 2017, the compact sedan has returned with a bang, and the timing is good! After all a new generation of the Honda City is just round the corner. Yes this segment is fierce, and while it has lost some sheen thanks to the subcompact and compact SUVs hogging the limelight, it is still very relevant. Okay so on to the makeover on the Hyundai Verna. A facelift usually involves only minor changes, but I have to say with the Verna the changes are pretty extensive. It's more than just a typical facelift and you know what? That's not a bad thing because unlike its predecessor, it wasn't necessarily a very good-looking car anyway. It was attractive and contemporary, but it wasn't really pretty. So now you get new looks.
Also See: 2020 Hyundai Verna Facelift Gallery
Huge changes up front, and the first thing that hits you - the Verna's face is now more in keeping with the global design language we're seeing on cars like the Sonata or next Elantra. The 'cascade' grille, which used to have rounded edges has become sharper. It is most noticeable on the Turbo model, as it gets a different and very angular, edgy design finished in a glossy black. The other variants get a honeycomb sort of pattern, and it's all chrome.
Angular is what you get, even in the metal - with sharp creases and cuts - all straight lines, no curves. It's different, it's attractive, and it's also a good way to prepare for the new Hyundai i20, that has a similar sort of a face, and will launch soon. The Turbo is available only in the top SX(O) trim of the Verna and so gets all the bells and whistles. It is the car I am testing today - naturally my curiosity was towards the new engine.
At the back, the changes aren't really a whole lot. The housing of the taillight remains the same but it's got a new LED pattern. The bumper has been enhanced and on the Turbo, it gets a glossy back scuff plate. The twin chrome-tipped exhaust is also new and just on the Turbo. This variant of the Verna also gets its own signature pattern around the corners in the bumper - finished in black plastic - embedded into the body coloured bumper. The profile of the car and all of the other things on the side, no changes as such. Overall, the Hyundai Verna looks new and more modern now. Yes that grille is disproportionate, but I bet most Indians will love at least the chrome overdose avatar of this baby.
As I said, the Hyundai Verna has an additional engine now; the biggest change if you ask me. Typically facelifts do not include new powertrains, but Hyundai is playing it smart by bringing in its new modern small displacement turbo GDI engines to most models. This turbo petrol is shared with the Aura and Grand i10 Nios, but those cars get a less powerful iteration, and with a manual only. It is also shared with the Venue in the same state of tune, and with the 7-Speed DCT gearbox only. So you get 118 bhp here, and 172 Nm of torque. This combo's almost a given on the upcoming next gen i20 too. Some might wonder if the 1-litre engine will be good enough for the Verna, and I will say this - it makes the car come alive. There's even an audible growl to it which is not disturbing and actually sounds quite nice. It certainly has a different character, than the one we've seen in the Venue. While that's also fairly nice and sporty, I think the longer revs and more aggressive throttle response on the Verna feels more fun. There's also a little bit more of a control and then, of course, the paddle shift helps you to take over. The handling on the new generation was always good, steering a lot more improved over the older car. But on this Turbo I would have preferred a bit more heft, a more planted feel, and a slightly stiffer, sportier feel to the steering. That's the only thing that kind of goes against the character, of what's otherwise a nice and sporty variant.
Yes the 1.0 GDi is a welcome addition to the Verna. And I encourage more variants being offered with this engine, including a manual. Claimed mileage on this variant is 19.2 kmpl. The other two engines offered are new too. The 1.5 petrol MPI makes 113 bhp and 144 Nm, the diesel has a similar displacement and makes the same exact amount of power, but gives you 250 Nm of peak torque. Both get a 6-Speed manual and while the diesel gets a 6-Speed auto, the petrol has a CVT too.
A feature that's been carried forward from big sister Elantra, is the smart trunk. So imagine you've got a lot of stuff in your hands as you approach the rear of the car. The key is in your pocket, and as you get close to the boot, a little beep and it pops open on its own. Throw in what you have, and that's certainly convenient. Of course, it's only on the top end - no surprise. Beats having to unlock using the key, or waving your foot around below the bumper, does it not?
Not a whole lot of changes inside - the cabin layout remains largely unchanged. But on the Turbo you get black treatment. Red elements on the set, steering and AC vents are nice little 'accents' (pun intended) thrown in to enhance the sportiness. It would have been nice to have some red elements on the digital cluster too. The central armrest now slides forward and back for your comfort. You've also now got wireless phone charging, a carryover from other recent Hyundai models. There's also a USB charging port at the back, for the passengers in the rear. The car does well on safety at the top end with 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Control or ESC, tyre pressure monitoring. Dual airbags, ABS or antilock brakes, and ISOFIX child seat anchors are standard. And a new emergency stop signal has been added that flashes the brake lights during hard emergency braking. It is standard.
Hyundai put up prices of the new facelifted Verna on its site way back in March, so we have known these for a while. The new petrol GDI has just one fully loaded top end version, priced at ₹ 13.99 lakh. The 1.5 MPi petrol with manual transmission starts at ₹ 9.30 lakh and goes to ₹ 12.59 lakh. On the IVT or CVT automatic variants the prices range from ₹ 11.95-13.84 lakh. The diesel manual is priced between ₹ 10.65 and 13.94 lakh, while the auto gearbox options are from ₹ 13.20-15.09 lakh.
The Verna is reloaded and back. Is there enough here to impress? Yes. Don't get me wrong there could have been more - if you want to be greedy! But for the most part the car remains one of the most modern, relevant, connected offerings with a huge array of variants to fit many budgets. And a lot of the equipment is standard across variants. The Toyota Yaris has failed to make a dent in this segment, though has its merits. Niche yet worthy of mention are the Skoda Rapid and the ageing Volkswagen Vento. Despite updates, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is now once again looking dated. That means the real battle will come when the next gen Honda City launches. I can't wait!