You have to give it to Hyundai for going the distance with the facelifted Verna. It sports fresh styling on the outside, more features inside and a trio of new engines. So what is it like?
To start with, the 2020 Verna looks thoroughly refreshed. Up front, Hyundai’s grille is now a few sizes larger and sports a frameless look. The nose is sportier and even has a mini spoiler integrated into it; the fog lights have been pushed back into the chin, the coupé-like arching roofline on the boot is carried over from the earlier car and the new alloys look good. The car, however, has been raised a bit, so the stance is not as nice as earlier. Around the back, the new chrome-finished squared-off exhaust tips add a bit of bling.
On the inside, key changes include a larger, free-standing eight inch touchscreen, metallic brackets on the air-con vents and a BMW-style digital instrument panel. Hyundai has also provided two large digital readouts for speed and engine rpm.
2020 Hyundai Verna turbo-petrol specifications
- Length: 4440mm
- Width: 1729mm
- Height: 1475mm
- Wheelbase: 2600mm
- Tyre Size: 195/55 R16
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
- Engine: 998cc, 3 cyls, turbo-petrol
- Power: 120hp at 6000rpm
- Torque: 172Nm at 1500-4000rpm
- Gearbox: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
The all-black cabin with red accents on this Verna Turbo lends a sporty feel, though the overabundance of black has its downsides. It makes the cabin look smaller than it is. This is not the case with the two-tone dash on the other versions of the car. Apart from these changes, the cabin remains unaltered at the front. The largish, cooled front seats are supportive and comfortable, and embedded in the touchscreen is Hyundai’s connected Blue Link app. You also get a voice command system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and onboard navigation as well.
The backseat is still the Verna’s weak link. There is less legroom here than on some sub-four-metre sedans, and if you are over six feet tall, headroom could be an issue too. If the relative lack of legroom does not bother you, then the rear seat is actually quite comfortable. The backrest is nicely reclined and offers good side and thigh support. You also get a manual rear blind, rear air-con vents and a USB charging point.
Other kit on this top-of-the-line Verna SX(O) includes a sunroof, wireless charging, six airbags, ESC, traction control, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a hands-free boot release.
Robust and relaxed drive
Moving to the engine, the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol unit is smooth and well-balanced that you will be hard-pressed to tell it is not an in-line four. The twin-clutch automatic gearbox coupled with the smooth engine makes driving in traffic light and easy. However, off-boost, at low engine speeds, the unit does feel a bit flat-footed.
What gives the Verna a robust midrange is the 172Nm of torque. Acceleration feels pretty strong and those who enjoy driving in a more spirited manner will also appreciate the wide powerband; the engine pulls hard all the way from around 2,000 to 6,000rpm. While the twin-clutch gearbox is not as quick as the ones from Volkswagen or Skoda, and their TSI engine pulls harder in the top end, the Verna is not too far off the mark.
The Verna clocked in at 13.09sec in a 0-100kph sprint; we did have to contend with a rev lock when stationary that prevented us from getting a quick initial launch. Expect it to be around a second or so faster in the real world on par with other turbo-petrol mid-sizers equipped with auto transmissions.
The Verna Turbo is also reasonably quick in kickdown acceleration: 20-80kph takes 7.29sec, and 40-100kph takes 9.05sec, which translates to ample overtaking power. Yes, it gets a bit vocal when you rev it hard, and there is a hint of that three-cylinder thrum at higher speeds, but find an open road and the Verna Turbo can certainly put a smile on your face.
The steering has also improved and feels better weighted and direct. Another change is to the brakes. Hyundai has given the Verna discs all round and it gives you plenty of confidence. The suspension functions silently even over bad patches. What is impressive is that it effectively manages to take the edge off most bumps and even feels at home tackling larger potholes.
The 2020 Verna Turbo has plenty to offer. It is comfortable to sit in, well-built on the inside, and comes loaded with enough kit to pamper you. For those looking for a fun and convenient daily drive, the Verna Turbo ticks a lot of boxes.