In March this year, Hyundai Motor India (HIML) had introduced a facelift version of the top-selling C-segment sedan, the Hyundai Verna. Called 4S Verna in its new avatar, the car has been able to hold on to its core strengths of offering a refined performance, refreshed looks and a long list of features on the safety and convenience parameters. What we had driven at that point in time was the high-end 1.6 l Gamma petrol variant, which delivers a peak torque of 155 Nm and a peak power of about 121 hp. That vehicle had pretty good improvement on the ride and handling departments, as compared to its predecessor.
Recently, we drove the diesel variant of the 4S Verna fitted with the 1.6 l U2 VGT unit that delivers 126 hp of power at its peak. There’s another diesel variant on offer, which features the 1.4 l U2 unit that produces 89 hp and 220 Nm of torque. Does the Verna diesel score on all the four ‘S’ parameters of style, safety, speed and sophistication? Here’s what we felt about the car after having spent three days on the highways and hills in north India.
Heart Of The Matter
Readers would recall our detailed review of the 4S Verna in March 2015 edition of Auto Tech Review (you can read it here). To avoid repetition, we would focus mainly on the diesel engine – the 1.6 l unit we drove. Both the diesel engines have been carried forward from the earlier variant, but with considerable tweaks.
To get straight to the point, the 1.6 l diesel unit is very impressive – thanks to the 260 Nm of torque, it’s pulls well, and there’s minimal noise that creeps into the cabin even when you throw the throttle open. There is some lag in the engine till you reach the 1,800 rpm level, but beyond 2,000 rpm the engine really comes to life. We were particularly impressed with the mid-range of this engine, between 2,000 – 4,000 rpm. The lag is more prominent in city traffic, but once on the highway overtaking is fairly easy and one can work around the turbo lag comfortably. In the 6th gear, for instance, the 4S Verna hurries on to triple figure speed at just about 2,000 revs a minute.
From a technology standpoint, the diesel units now feature pistons with nano diamond coating for lower friction, which essentially leads to better mileage, lower NVH and improved emissions. To further the efficiency envelope, Hyundai engineers have also added a Swirl Control Valve on the engine, which facilitates a swirling motion of air in the intake manifold that leads to better combustion. In addition, by adjusting the turbo-charging effect as per driving requirements, the variable geometry turbocharger is claimed to offer improved engine response and performance at low speeds.
Like in the earlier variants, the diesel units on the 4S Verna are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the 1.6 l variant getting an optional four-speed automatic transmission as well. These combinations have worked well to deliver impressive fuel-efficiency numbers. ARAI-tested fuel-efficiency stands at 24.8 km/l for the 1.4 l unit – up 1.3 km/l from the previous version. The 1.6 l with 6MT delivers 23.9 km/l against the earlier 21.9 km/l, while the automatic variant has a mileage of 19.08 km/l.
The company claimed to have worked on the power steering of the 4S Verna, and we could sense some difference. Compared to the older variant, the EPS unit is slightly heavier, and is easy to deal with on most conditions. The Verna was always criticised for having a vague steering and light suspension set-up. Although Hyundai engineers seem to have put in a lot of good work into effect, one may still question the overall steering feedback and vehicle stability in high speeds. The clutch pedal is light, and brakes are generally good. However, the brakes on the vehicle we drove felt somewhat spongy, but that could be a one-off example.
On the 4S Verna, Hyundai has also offered a tweaked suspension set-up, which now offer better ride quality and performance. The rear suspension in particular has new coil springs and a low velocity control valve on the dampers to ensure appropriate damping force. New bump stops too have been added to counter the 'thud' on full compression. Particularly on the highway, the vehicle handles pretty well, but this is not a vehicle to be thrown around in corners. Drive in a sedate manner and it cruises comfortably.
The fourth-generation of this popular sedan is still a while away. Till then, the company hopes to keep the excitement intact with the third-gen, facelift version of the Verna.
Text: Deepangshu Dev Sarmah
Photo: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay