Saturday, 28 February 2015

Car review new Hyundai 4S Fluidic Verna: Leads in style, and price

Ritesh Gumbar loves the way it looks, Harneet Singh feels it has got significant road presence and Ankur Jain experiences that the rear seat can accommodate his large frame. A lot of people are checking out the new 4S Fluidic Verna at a Hyundai dealer in west Delhi. “The car has been attracting a lot of inquiries,” an executive at the dealership says. “But few bookings,” he adds with a caution. “Buyers perhaps are waiting for price cuts in the Budget.”
While it is too early to figure out why the new Verna hasn’t attracted substantial bookings, it is clear the competition for the car this time around is intense. The Verna was a market leader from 2011 to 2013 for three reasons—it was one of the most beautiful cars on the road, Honda didn’t have a diesel City and Maruti was working on the Ciaz. Times change too fast in the automobile industry—by the end of 2014, the Verna was reduced to a poor third. With the 4S Fluidic Verna, Hyundai wants to place the car back to where it belonged. And in case you are wondering, the “4S” stands for Stylish Exterior; Sophisticated Interiors; Speedy Performance; and Safer Drive. We’ll rate it on these four aspects, beginning with Style.
The outgoing model was loaded with style and the new car takes it a step ahead. There is a lot of play at the front—striking eagle-eyed headlamps, twin-slatted chrome grille, reworked bumper. These changes make the car look bigger, especially when viewed at from front three-quarters. However, daytime running lights have been discontinued. The style quotient at the sides is enhanced by outside rear-view mirrors with LED indicators and subtle wheel arches. The roof line reminds you of a coupe. Changes at the rear are minimal—redesigned tail-lamps and a reworked bumper.
Style quotient: 9/10
The sophistication levels in the cabin have been enhanced ever so slightly. There is a new music system with 1 GB internal memory and a remote control for rear passengers. Front passengers now get armrests and there is a cooled glove box. The NVH levels gone lower. The rear seat now appears more snug, with enhanced thigh support. Another addition is the ergo lever, which allows the rear passenger to adjust the front passenger seat. To our surprise, there are no rear AC vents, which even the class-lower Xcent gets.
Sophistication quotient: 8/10
Powering the new Verna are the same 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines (both petrol and diesel). The company, however, says the diesel engines have been mildly tweaked and there is a new, low friction coating on their pistons to improve refinement and efficiency.
The petrol is one of the easiest cars to drive on city roads, its power delivery is linear. The diesel is torquey and never appears out of breath. Good for highways.
Speed quotient: 7/10
The driving dynamics have been improved. The steering wheel is communicative and the suspension set-up has been tweaked—the car no longer feels bouncy and sudden direction changes don’t bother it much. All the variants get ABS, but strangely only the front wheels get disc brakes. The top-end variants gets six airbags, while the base variant gets none.
Safety quotient: 6/10
We add a fifth “S” and rate the car on “Substance”. The petrol is priced from R7.74 lakh to R10.15 lakh and the diesel from R8.95 lakh to R12.19 lakh. The base petrol costs R20,000 and R50,000 more than the City and the Ciaz, respectively. The more powerful variants cost about a lakh more. Yes the new Verna is loaded with features, but in an already competent league, and at such prices, it is difficult for the car to regain its position.