All New Honda City vs 2020 Hyundai Verna: Exclusive Comparison Review

The battle of the compact sedans was certain when a new generation of the benchmark car arrives. But the Honda City has lost its grip on the segment off late, so does the legacy car have enough to beat the reigning champ Hyundai Verna?

By Siddharth Vinayak Patankar


1 mins read


Published on July 1, 2020

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    The new 7th generation Honda City has arrived in the market, and its official launch and pricing information are just a few days out. But once you have a new generation of any car in the market, the conversation quickly turns to how it stands up to its rivals. Now with the Honda City it takes on an even more important meaning because this is a very highly competitive segment and the City used to be the benchmark for the longest time. But the current and last generation Hyundai Verna have been chipping away at that fortress, and the Verna is our winner in this segment. In all our shootouts –  and we did several – it beat out cars like the Vento, the Ciaz, of course, the City. But will that change now? 

    Also Read: All New Honda City Review


    The Hyundai Verna has just received a facelift while we've just driven the new generation of the Honda City

    You may still ask why the battle doesn't include the newly added 1.0 TSI VW Vento and Skoda Rapid, the long in the tooth Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, the Toyota Yaris – do u see a pattern here? They are all also petrol-only. The Verna and City are the only remaining compact sedans with a diesel option. The Hyundai Verna recently got a well-timed refresher, and the facelifted, updated car drove in recently. We have already told you what's new on it – and besides that monstrous front grille, there's something more significant. This car you see has a black finish grille, because it is the 1.0 litre Turbo GDI, and so yes the Verna now has a 3rd powertrain option, and every one of those three has an automatic variant. In the case of the turbo it's a sophisticated DCT or dual clutch transmission. But let's start with looks before we get to the performance on those engines. 

    Also Read: 2020 Hyundai Verna Review


    Now the City is the bigger car and it certainly looks the part, very obviously. The Verna is trying to be sporty because we do have the Turbo variant that has also driven in. It is the range topper and the car with us today too. That grille is very polarising – you're either gonna love it or hate it – and it's gonna be an absolute nightmare for your car cleaner (to some it might be just an actual nightmare because it's kind of scary-looking!). On the other hand the City is a little more conservative and yet looks very modern.


    There's a lot of chrome on the front grille of the City, but the turbo petrol variant of the Verna gets an all black treatment

    There's a whole lot of chrome up front which is something that Indians love so the City is the safer design but certainly one that will have a greater following. But let's call it – yes that is way too much chrome. But I reckon on the regular non-turbo Verna you will get just as much of it, only it's distributed around a larger pattern! The LED lights up front and back give the City a modern flair, and its proportions do make it appear bigger, and it is – as we have established. 


    The LED lights up front give the City a modern flair, and its proportions do make it appear bigger when compared to the Verna

    Dimensions Honda City Hyundai Verna
    Length 4549 mm 4440 mm
    Width 1748 mm 1729 mm
    Height 1489 mm 1475 mm
    Wheelbase 2600 mm 2600 mm
    Boot Space 506 litre 480 litre
    Wheel Size 16-inch 16-inch


    That space really matters inside, where the City's plush cabin certainly is way roomier. This is especially true in the back, where you have better legroom, a more comfortable seat and better headroom too. Why Hyundai chose to make the Verna on the Elantra's platform and yet not offer more space in the rear, will remain a mystery.


    The City's cabin is roomier than the Verna's 

    Both cars with us are in their top trim, so there's faux leather galore. The City uses a lighter beige palette, while the Verna has two tone beige and black. This sporty all-black treatment is reserved for the Turbo. The black leather with red stitching does look sharp, but overall the City looks more high-end. The City's dash is slimmer, and gives better knee room for the driver. Both cars have a tilt and telescopic adjustment on the steering, in the higher variants. 

    Feature List

    The City still seems to be playing catch up on equipment. The new generation has only now got a bigger touchscreen, digital instrument cluster, and the connected car suite of features. It also gets a G-force display. Hyundai has blue link on the Verna, along with other goodies like ventilated seats, cooled glove box, wireless phone charging, rear USB charging point, and even the smart trunk option. The City has none of those. But it gives you the country's first Amazon Alexa access in a car.


    The City offers a feature-rich cabin with 15 mm more legroom at the rear despite the same wheelbase as the predecessor 

    The Verna also has an 8” touchscreen. Both cars get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both have dual airbags standard, and 6 at the top end, tyre pressure monitoring, isofix child seat restraints, and while the Verna gets front parking sensors in the top spec, the City gets the lane watch camera view to avoid left side blind spots. Its middle passenger rear seatbelt is also a three-point affair – which is great. 


    The rear seat of the Verna is not as comfortable as the City 

    At the top end both also get a sunroof, keyless entry, start stop button, climate control, steering mounted controls, and a lot more. But the Verna can pamper you more on equipment. So on features, it's no surprise that Hyundai clearly has an edge. On comfort and space, the Honda City has it cornered! But which one becomes the better driver's car? Obviously something like that interests me, just a little bit more, and so let us find out.  

    Powertrain Options

    Remember we are comparing the top spec petrols here, and while the Verna gets a 1.5 litre petrol just like the City, it also has this gem – the 1.0 Turbo GDI. The City has an updated IVTEC now with a dual overhead camshaft and so its mid range is improved. While the regular petrol Verna's power output is a tad lower, but torque is more or less the same. Both get a CVT auto option or 6-Speed manual. But when you compare to the Turbo, the numbers start to look juicier on the Hyundai side, especially because of that quick changing DCT with paddle shift. The CVT on the City also does give you paddles, but there's no comparison otherwise.

    Specifications Honda City (Petrol) Hyundai Verna (Petrol) Hyundai Verna Petrol (Turbo)
    Engine 1.5-litre 1.5-litre 1.0-litre
    No. Of Cylinders 4 4 3
    Max Power 119 bhp@6600 rpm 113 bhp@6300 rpm 118 bhp@6000 rpm
    Peak Torque 145 Nm@4300 rpm 145 Nm@4500 rpm 172 Nm@1500 - 4000 rpm
    Fuel Economy 17.8 kmpl / 18.4 kmpl 17.7 kmpl / 18.45 kmpl 19.2 kmpl
    Transmission 6-Speed MT / CVT 6-Speed MT / iVT (CVT) 7-Speed DCT

    The Honda City is the more refined out of the two but is not sporty 

    You expect the Honda i-VTEC to be smooth and refined and that is exactly what you get. It is a very pleasant experience driving this car and you'll really enjoy the level of refinement the City has now got into. But is it Sporty and fun? No, not really. I mean it will do the job for you and especially with the CVT you'll find things being comfortable. And you won't ever really need to use the paddles. But will it give you a little bit of a punch that you sometimes want from your car (especially if you're going to be the one driving it and not sitting at the back)? No! However ride quality and driving comfort on the new Honda City are easily best in class.  


    There's a hint of turbo lag during initial acceleration on the Verna's GDI variant

    On the Verna there's a bit of turbo lag that does kick in during initial acceleration. That's something you won't feel in City, but once the turbo kicks in this is a whole lot more excited and raring to go than the other car. There's a better urgency to the performance in terms of just the kind of response you get, especially when you put the gearbox into sport, and use the paddle shifters too. The car handles pretty well and overall you'll find that it's just a lot more enjoyable if you want to be able to drive it a little bit harder get that sporty sort of performance that you might be looking for. The ride quality in Verna is pretty good but as I said, the City's is better.

    A quick word on the oil burners on offer. The two diesels may have similar displacements but the Verna's unit is definitely more powerful and punchier. That said, the diesel is the most fun to drive in the City portfolio.

    Specifications Honda City (Diesel) Hyundai Verna (Diesel)
    Engine 1.5-litre 1.5-litre
    No. Of Cylinders 4 4
    Max Power 99 bhp @ 3600 rpm 113 bhp @ 4000 rpm
    Peak Torque 200 Nm@1750 rpm 250 Nm@1500 - 2750 rpm
    Fuel Economy 24.1 kmpl 25 kmpl / 21.3 kmpl
    Transmission 6-Speed MT 6-speed MT / 6-Speed AT


    Old Honda City (Petrol)

    Prices (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

    New Honda City (Petrol)

    Hyundai Verna (Petrol)

    Prices (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

    SV MT

    Rs. 9.91 Lakh


    S MT

    Rs. 9.30 Lakh

    V MT

    Rs. 10.65 Lakh

    Rs. 10.89 Lakh

    SX MT

    Rs. 10.70 Lakh

    VX MT

    Rs. 11.82 Lakh

    Rs. 12.25 Lakh

    SX iVT

    Rs. 11.95 Lakh

    V CVT

    Rs. 12.01 Lakh

    Rs. 12.19 Lakh

    SX(O) MT

    Rs. 12.59 Lakh

    ZX MT

    Rs. 13.01 Lakh

    Rs. 13.14 Lakh

    SX(O) iVT

    Rs. 13.84 Lakh

    VX  CVT

    Rs. 13.12 Lakh

    Rs. 13.55 Lakh

    SX(O) DCT

    Rs. 13.99 Lakh

    ZX CVT

    Rs. 14.31 Lakh

    Rs. 14.44 Lakh



    Now a look at the prices in this comparison. Honda has stayed reasonably competitive, though the clear Honda pricing premium is definitely evident. Honda has also deftly left room for the old City to stay on in the market. And I expect some rationalisation of these variants going forward. Remember the old City is now petrol-only. But the updated Verna's prices start a tad lower, are evenly matched on some variants, but there is a stand out – in that the top end petrol auto is Rs. 60,000 cheaper than the City ZX CVT. Even the 1.0 GDI Turbo with its superior DCT gearbox (which is just Rs. 14,000 higher priced than the SX(O) petrol IVT variant) is Rs. 45,000 cheaper than the top spec automatic Honda City. And then there's the fact that Hyundai has two auto variants on the diesel, while Honda has none.

    New Honda City (Diesel)

    Prices (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

    Hyundai Verna (Diesel)

    Prices (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

    V MT

    Rs. 12.39 Lakh

    S+ MT

    Rs. 10.65 Lakh

    VX MT

    Rs. 13.75 Lakh

    SX MT

    Rs. 12.05 Lakh

    ZX MT

    Rs. 14.64 Lakh

    SX AT

    Rs. 13.20 Lakh



    SX(O) MT

    Rs. 13.94 Lakh



    SX(O) AT

    Rs. 15.09 Lakh


    So if it's a safe, reliable, comfortable, modern, family car you're looking for or even a chauffeur-driven one - The City is definitely the car to go with and it becomes a very obvious winner because of the fact that it also sports a new platform, and improves on features over its predecessor. But if it is features you are looking for, the Verna has still got the longer list.


    The Turbo petrol engine of the Verna outclasses the City in the performance department

    Add to that – if it's a driver's car you are looking for, the fact that you now have a Turbo option being offered on the Verna sets the cat amongst the pigeons. Yes you could very well consider the TSI engined Vento or Rapid that also drive very well – but those are dated platforms, and not as roomy or well specced. Hopefully, we see more such engines driving in. If Honda decides to do a 1.0 turbo Type- R version of the City, that would be terrific. For now that is wishful thinking! So the Verna stays ahead then – as it satisfies both performance and tech. 


    Last Updated on July 15, 2020

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