The C segment sedan space in India has been dominated (in terms of sales) by Hyundai Verna, Honda City and Maruti Ciaz for some years now. Taking on the troika was never going to be easy, but Toyota has introduced the Yaris sedan, in what it hopes will tilt the scales in its favour. Toyota has surely been late to the party but has seemingly given it its best shot with the Yaris. The company’s strategy has been simple and somewhere matches with that of Hyundai, ‘pack in features that would set it apart from the crowd’. The Yaris is definitely unique in many ways, but does it have enough to dethrone the Verna? Auto Tech Review finds out.
EXTERIOR DESIGN & LOOKS
When you compare both Verna and Yaris, there is a stark distinction in the way they appeal to you. The Hyundai Verna wears a smart and sophisticated look with clean and straight character lines giving the body a definite shape and scheme. The Toyota Yaris looks more fluid and flowing, with curvy edges and character lines. Both these sedans have similar exterior features such as projector headlamps, LED DRLs, turn indicators on ORVMs, fog lamps, chrome door handles and shark fin antenna. However, the Verna gets larger 16-inch alloys compared to the Yaris’ 15-inch ones. The alloys on the Verna also look slicker when compared to the Yaris.
Taking a closer look at the dimensions of the two sedans, we observe that a major differentiating factor is the length of the Verna that is 15 mm more than Yaris, while the wheelbase is also 50 mm more than the Yaris. The Yaris, however, is taller than the Verna by 20 mm. As far as weekend luggage is concerned, both sedans have spacious boots, with the Verna having just about 4 l more. The loading lip on the Verna and the Yaris is slightly high and one cannot slide in the luggage, but may need to pick it up and place it inside the boot.
INTERIOR DESIGN, SPACE & COMFORT
On the interior front, the Yaris features a black and beige theme. There are ample contrasting bits here and there that come in the form of silver accents and piano black finish. The design and layout of the dash in the Yaris is quite functional with everything well within reach of the driver. In contrast with the Verna, the interiors of the Yaris may turn out to feel a little simplistic, mostly because the Verna gets plenty of knobs, buttons and controls that give it a loaded and feature-rich look. The cabin in the Yaris is quite roomy and feels warm and welcoming. The tones in the Verna feel more slick and suave. Seating in both sedans feels comfortable but the cushioning in the Yaris feels a little better than the Verna. Bolstering on the front seats is also slightly better in the Yaris, but the Verna features broader seats.
Despite being longer and having a larger wheelbase, the Yaris offers more leg room for the rear seat occupants. Taller passengers may also have a tough time adjusting in the rear seat of the Verna as it offers less headroom, when compared with the Yaris. Shoulder room for occupants in the front and back is relatively same in both sedans and caters to comfortable seating for four adults. The floor tunnel on both cars is more or less flat, but the one on the Verna may be a little more intrusive in comparison to the one on the Yaris. Both the Yaris and the Verna feature a centre arm rest, but the one on the Verna also gets AC vents. The Yaris, on the other hand, gets roof mounted rear AC vents, which make more practical sense. Seating in the Verna also feels slightly lower in comparison to the Yaris, making entry and exit into the sedan from Toyota a bit easier.
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
The 1.6 l petrol engine powering the Verna is one of the most powerful internal combustion mills in the segment, producing 121 hp of power at 6,400 rpm. On the other hand, the new 2NR-FE 1.5 l petrol engine in the Yaris whips up a nifty 105 hp of power at 6,000 rpm. The Verna’s torque figures stand at 151 Nm at 4,850 rpm, the 4-cylinder motor in the Yaris produces a little less in comparison with figures at the 140 Nm mark. The motor driving the Verna is capable of producing 14 % more power in comparison to the Yaris and about 7.5 % more torque. The rev redline for the engine in the Verna is also higher than that of the Yaris, with both peak power and torque figures coming in a bit later than that of the Toyota Yaris. Both engines are natural aspirated but to drive both are quite different. This is primarily because of the characteristics of the transmissions that have been mated to the engines in these sedans. The Verna gets a 6-speed automatic torque converter, while the Yaris has a 7-speed Continuously Variable Transmission.
The dynamics of the 1.6 l Variable Timing Valve Train engine mated to the conventional torque converter caters to a jaunty drive. At full throttle, the Verna feels as powerful as a Greek god, leaping forward almost instantaneously. On the other hand, the Yaris’s 1.5 l Variable Valve Timing engine fundamentally uses a similar technology as the VTVT but with its marriage to the CVT-i transmission does not feel as peppy to drive as the Verna. That said, the CVT does cater to an incredibly smooth drive.
If you are out in the market for a comfortable drive experience and refinement, the Yaris does it better than the rest. This new sedan from Toyota also gets paddle shifters, so when you are in the mood to have a spot of fun, the Yaris has you covered. Braking on both these sedans is good but the Yaris gets a disc brake set-up on all four wheels, providing it an edge over the Verna. The Yaris also gets more safety features like Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control and Hill Start Assist that have a crucial role to play while taking a buying decision.
The Hyundai Verna continues to impress with its smart design and functional cabin. The interiors exude a posh appeal and are a little more impressive than that of the Yaris. If you are in the market looking for an out-and-out thrilling experience with premium design and interiors, then Verna is a better bet. But if comfort, safety, sophistication and a smooth drive are atop your priority list, then Yaris is the way to go.
TEXT: Joshua Luther
PHOTO: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay