1. Background and Research
My last car was a Maruti Zen Lxi and it served me well for 44k kms in 9 years. I used the Zen mostly to travel within Kolkata and 3-4 trips to Bhubaneswar every year. In Nov'13, I decided to sell the Zen. Reason: I always had a thing for sedans and I didn’t see the point in keeping two cars. There wasn’t much of a research into which car I wanted now. In fact, I guess my reasons to upgrade might have been influenced by my fondness for the Verna Fluidic(color black), which was within my budget of 10 lacs as well.
I planned on making a booking in first week of Jan'14, so Dec was the month of conducting the research for car, dealer and bank loan. I tried to justify my choice, by comparing with the Honda City, which is the other car I liked in this segment. Owing to my low running(less than 1000kms monthly), it had to be a petrol car. Compared with the Verna Fluidic, the City had better handling. But apart from this handling point, I found the Verna much better in every other aspect, i.e. looks and features. With the new updated Verna, Hyundai seems to have added a few new features like the much better looking alloys and having fixed the rear suspension issue( more on this later when I actually tested it).
The matter of choosing the SX or the SX(O) variants took me a lot more time than I expected. The additional features (relevant to me) that the SX(O) variant had, were the projector lights(with DRL), leather upholstery, keyless system(push button start!) at an extra cost of around 90k. As per Hyundai , projector with halogen bulb costs around 40k(!). I found fabric seat covers more comfortable than leather ones, though the latter looks more premium. I didn’t quite fancy the keyless entry system though the push button start is quite nice. After a lot of discussion, I settled for the Verna Fluidic 1.6 SX VTVT, Phantom Black .
With feedback from friends and relatives, I decided on making the purchase from Utkal Hyundai, Bhubaneswar. As for the car loan, I felt SBI was the safest choice.
The dealership offered the following. Corporate Discount
5000 Cash Discount
5000 Exchange bonus
car cover or seat covers, perfume, steering cover, mud flaps, floor mats
The booking was made on 11th Jan'14 with assurance that car would be delivered by 30th Jan'14, since I would be able to visit Bhubaneswar for a few days during that time only. True to their word, the dealership messaged me the car's vin number and other details on 23th Jan'14 and as promised, delivery was made on 30th Jan '14 afternoon. Odometer reading was 32km (!?!). Since I wanted a specific number, I purchased the same from the RTO separately the next day and messaged the number to the dealership to process along with the rest of the vehicle documents. The vehicle registration with the RTO was expected to take 30days but came a week early.
The breakup of the total vehicle cost is given below: Cost Price
49258 Bajaj Finance Insurance
26738 Handling charges
3000 Total Cost
Corporate and cash discounts are already deducted from the Cost Price. The exchange bonus is credited to the bank account once the details are verified by Hyundai. The final total came to Rs 9,58,154. 2. Initial Ownership
When I had started writing this review, odometer had crossed 2600kms. The Verna has exceeded my expectations in all possible counts. Exteriors :
There is nothing much to say about the exterior fluidic design which has changed the course for Hyundai as well as bought some serious competition to its segment. Up-close the glossy black Verna emanates the very name given to it, 'Fluidic'. The lines defining the contours are just right. There is optimal use of chrome. The bumper seems a bit too fragile. The orange indicators on the ORVM is a nice touch. The new diamond cut alloys look much better than the previous design. Sadly Hyundai has provided a steel rim as a spare tire. The Bridgestone B250 tyres are nothing exceptional to look at. Though it would matter how they perform on the road.
Contrasting with the exterior black color, the two tone interior coloring, the faux wood and the finely patterned matte finish rubber like material on the dashboard give the interiors a very nice feel. The central dashboard console is simple, yet more than just functional and quite well laid out. The driver side door console has quite a few buttons including electronically operating the ORVMs, full central door locking/unlocking, locking operations on the other three windows, etc. This new version has been provided with the illuminated buttons. Performance and Handling :
The Verna seems to be built more for the city than the highway. The light steering, the soft suspension and the large wide tires make for a very easy ride within the city. Even packed with 5 adults, the Verna's performance is consistent. The ABS
in conjunction with the four disc brake equipped wheels works extremely well, both in the city and on the highway. Though this very capable braking is puts the rear of the car at risk during congested bumper to bumper traffic. During the initial test drives I was a bit apprehensive about the Verna's wallowing rear suspension at high speeds. On one of my trips from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata, I found a wide flat stretch of gently curving road in excellent condition, no traffic and excellent visibility.
Engine response: Good but gets much better at higher rpms.
Tires: Decent. I wish for a few improvements in this department.
None of the occupants (including the 1.5 year old Labrador) in the rear seat complained. The vehicle was firmly glued to the road for those few minutes. The steering response was great. Not once did I feel the lack of control. This was the same place where I had driven my older Zen at an excess of 150kmph. The Verna barely breaks a sweat crossing the 150 and going on further. Only downside was that the Bridgestone B250 tires make a lot of noise. I have noticed it a few times on certain roads within the city as well. Its much too obvious when one lets go of the throttle. In my opinion, Verna should have got something better like the stock Michelin tires on the Honda City. Usage Pattern :
This includes city driving in Kolkata, a bit in Bhubaneswar and 1.5 trips between Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. My normal work day sees me driving around 20kms, from home to office and back. On weekends, it another 20kms. Total monthly driving is around 600kms. The fuel efficiency within the city is around 13kmpl. On the highway, if I try to maintain speeds of around 120kmph, the fuel efficiency comes to around 16kmpl. The best fuel efficiency of 17kmpl is between speeds of 80-100kmph.(which is quite tough to maintain on good highways). What I liked-
• Low NVH. Engine noise and vibration is absent inside the vehicle uptil 2.5k rpm. Slight noise and vibration continue till 3.5k. The engine noise thereafter is just wonderful. Outside noise is screened quite well.
• Interiors feel premium. The two tone colors combination is good including the optimum usage of faux wood and chrome. Yes, money well spent.
• Steering controls include music track changer, volume controller and call receive/cancel button for phone calls when phone is paired and used via Bluetooth. There is also a lever to control the steering tilt.
• Switch to control intensity of console illumination. This is very useful during night driving especially long trips.
• Air conditioning with auto climate control. Exact temperature can be manually set with 0.5C intervals. There is small display specifically for the air conditioning showing outside temperature, fan speed, ac direction mode, inside temperature and auto climate control selection.
• Foot pedals are nicely spaced and not too hard to use for my 5'8" height. There is a foot rest beside the clutch pedal which is quite convenient during long trips on the highway.
• ORVM can be electronically opened/closed from driver side door controls. The mirror adjustment can also be done in the same way.
• Music player console is simple, but good and there are quite a few options to make to source your songs from, including playing through AUX, USB, CD, streaming via Bluetooth from a mobile phone and Radio(FM/AM). I use the USB and Radio more often than the others. Haven't used the CD even once. Speakers are just decent, but playing songs with bit rate higher than 128kbps sounds aurally better. There is a remote for the music player also. What I didn’t like-
• There is sharp thud sound almost every time I hit a bump. This happens even when I am in slow speed and the bumps are quite small. Recently read about a Hyundai TSB in a forum post to fix this. Will have this looked at soon.
• There is a slight lag while accelerating uptil 1.5k rpm. This anomaly is obvious in the first two gears.
• Steering is stiff at high rpm/speeds and quite loose at low rpm/speeds. This is a vehicle feature, but feels a bit awkward at times.
• Stock headlights are quite weak. I feel Tata ace has more powerful lights(no offense but its true).
• You can't close the air flow from the AC vents individually.
• Driver side door glass doesn’t have pinch control and auto close option. Auto mode is only for sliding down the glasses.
• Applying the foot brakes suddenly generates a very weird repeating metal noise from the wheels. Service advisor said it’s the ABS
system acting ( and happens in all ABS
enable vehicles. Someone please confirm this.) 3. Accessorizing
Now, no car is complete without a bit of accessorizing. With the P8 6000k HIDs on my old Zen, visibility was excellent(except in rain and fog), but they were a bit too loud for me. There was excess light scattering even in low beams. I prefer using the high beams only on empty roads(depending on speed) and for flicking oncoming vehicles who rudely and unnecessarily use their high beams. After my recent encounter with the projector on the SX(O) variant, I had seriously started considering a projector light setup with HID kits instead of halogen. Eventually, I ended up with a few more stuff. The first two are done at S&S Inc, Kolkata.
• Genome Gold Projector setup (bi-xenon 5000k 35w bulbs, white angel eyes and blue demon eyes)
• Chrome window garnish
• My Shaldan (lemon) car perfume
• Beige 3d floor mats
Pics have been taken with different cameras, hence the color output appears quite different. Right after the first servicing. Parked in my garage. I love that chrome garnishing around the windows. White angel eyes and blue demon eyes. It took me quite some time to get a clear picture using my camera. The white light is too bright. The original halogen in low beam. The HID projector at low beam. There is more light on the road and on the sides as well. No scattering. Check the cutoff on the far front wall.