A new car from South Korean automaker Hyundai has been launched in India. This is the Verna, a B-segment sedan that picks up the torch where the Accent left off, though it’ll still be badged as such in certain markets.
Let’s start with that name: Verna. We’re not quite sure where the company got this specific name from unlike their location-based monikers used before such as Santa Fe, Tucson, or Kona. By comparison, ‘Verna’ sounds inoffensive if a little plain.
The car boasts an exterior design that bears more than a passing resemblance to the newly revealed Hyundai Sonata with that Robocop-like visor wraparound LED strip and large lower grille element.
The Honda City is currently held as the benchmark practicality in its class but the Verna could possibly be even more spacious inside given its 2,670mm wheelbase (a 70mm advantage). It’s even got a sunroof, leather upholstery, ambient lighting and a pair of 10.25-inch screens for the digital instrument cluster and infotainment combo.
Just like the City and Vios, a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine sits at the nose of the Verna, developing 114PS and 144Nm of torque that’s transmitted to the front wheels either via a 6-speed manual or Hyundai’s IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission….basically their CVT).
However, Indian customers can also choose to have the car outfitted with a much gutsier 1.5-litre turbo-petrol unit with 156PS and 253Nm. That should make this relatively small and lightweight car a pretty quick car to thread around town in.
This really does have the makings of a model that could pose a legitimate threat to the Honda City and Toyota Vios duopoly should it make its way over to our shores, but therein lies a river of uncertainty.
Should Hyundai Sime-Darby Malaysia see fit to bring the Verna here for a Malaysian launch under local assembly and price it attractively, there’s no reason we can think of that it won’t be a hot contender for the lucrative B-segment crown, especially with its two biggest rivals now priced higher than they’ve ever been.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.