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|15th September 2009, 19:58||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Hyundai Verna 1.5 CRDi Diesel Automatic Test Drive - My Views
This weekend I got to test drive 3 cars. The i10 1.2 Sportz manual, i10 1.2 Asta Automatic and the Verna 1.5 CRDi diesel automatic. I shall give my views on these 2 cars in a separate thread later. Though the Verna Diesel automatic has already been purchased by a few BHPians and one or two reviews have been posted, I thought I would also share my views on the car. It has been ages since I wrote such a long review so please bear with me.
I love cars and love driving too, but I've not driven diesel cars much. I found however that on Team BHP, everyone was (and is still) raving about the 1.5L CRDi engine in the Getz/Verna (smoothness, power output, torque and so on). I am not all that technically knowledgable so the way I'd be writing this review would probably be a shade higher than what a layman would understand.
Of course I'm not new on the forum but I thought I'd just give you all a little bit of background on my driving experience.
I've driven all sorts of cars, from small cars to huge SUVs, thanks to my 3 year stint in Melbourne, Australia where I did my MBA. I got to drive some really nice sports luxury cars too, like the Toyota Soarer / Lexus SC 400 which had the Lexus LS 400's 4L V8 32-valve engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. What cars they were. Used Lexus LS 400s (1991-92 models) could be bought for as low as even $8000 to $10,000 (which is about INR 3.5L here). Bullet proof reliability, superb build quality and quality throughout the car - this is what those LS 400s were. The SC 400s were nothing less. The Toyota Soarers were basically imported from Japan while the Lexus SC 400s were those sold in the Australian market.
My wife and I (both of us work in IT companies) recently moved into our own apartment here in Chennai, while my parents live in a bigger apartment. We have the Santro XO Ltd Edition (2007), Daewoo Cielo GLX (1998) etc parked at my parents' place while we both have our bikes - the Avenger 200 and the Kinetic Sym Flyte. So my wife and I had been talking about a car for sometime but we realised it would be impossible to go in for one now, since we have just now moved into our own apartment and there is still some teething trouble to be sorted out and home loan payments etc.
But we were clear that next year, if we had a kid, we would definitely need a car as it would not be advisable for her to ride her bike to office before the delivery or shortly after. Though there are 2 cars at my parents' place, I can't get the Cielo to our apartment cos the parking lot is not long enough (the Cielo would be protruding quite a bit) though it is very wide. And my dad uses the Santro more often for his errands etc.
I loved the Getz when I had it in Melbourne for about a week as it was a 3 door hatch with the 1.5 litre engine and a 4 speed automatic transmission. What a peppy car that was. Both of us thought that when we came back to India and got our own car, we'd go for the Getz. But it was shocking to find the Getz had only a 1.3L engine with no automatic transmission, no electric mirrors apart from other features that had been deleted. Then the i20 came along which still has missing features compared to the European versions of the same car and the price is just so high. The Verna also is in the same category.
I had for a long time wanted to test drive the Verna since I somehow liked the car from the time of its launch in 2006. Now since the 1.5 CRDi diesel engine was being talked about so highly on the forum, I decided to go have a test drive in the Verna diesel automatic. My wife said she'd join me as well.
We took the Santro XO Ltd Edition and drove to Hyundai Motor Plaza here in Chennai, parked it there and met the sales consultant who said he'd be with us in a few minutes. Meanwhile we were just exploring the i10 Magna 1.2, i20 1.4 automatic, Accent and Verna CRDi SX Automatic which were on display inside the showroom. This is when I spotted the Executive Kit for the Verna which seemed to be new in the series of genuine accessories introduced by Hyundai. I also found rear sunblinds, body graphics etc for the i20, apart from steering wheel covers, leather seat covers, remote locking, parking sensors, alarms etc on display.
The sales consultant came back and said that the Verna diesel automatic was not available at the showroom for test drive as it was taken back to the yard the previous evening. So he said we'd have to drive to the yard and then take the car from the yard for the test drive. I was ok with this and the sales guy said we could drive to the yard in an i10 Sportz 1.2 manual. I was thrilled ! 2 test drives back to back. Wow.
So we got into the bright red i10 Sportz 1.2 manual waiting outside, and zoomed off. I had not driven the i10 1.2 Kappa version till then. I had only driven the older iRDE 1.1L version of the i10 when it was launched. This 1.2L Kappa version was quite responsive and I found myself easily touching 80kmph on the way to the yard, which was on the way to the Chennai airport.
Once we reached the yard, I parked the i10 safely and then had to take a Santro out since the Verna automatic was parked behind it and none of the 3 guys at the yard knew how to drive. They asked me if I could do it and I guess I had no choice but to say yes. So I took the Santro out, parked it on the side, then went back to the Verna and took the car out.
Wow. This was really a big car. I just realised that I switched within a matter of 2 minutes between a small manual car and a big automatic car, and I had no problems whatsoever taking the Verna automatic out. Another thing that came to mind was that on paper, the i20 is actually wider than even the Verna at 1710mm, while the Verna's width is only 1695mm. But when we got into the Verna, it felt huge. It was also very comfortable. Seats were big, dual height adjustable driver's seat, driver's front armrest etc.The clutch footrest was there as well (much required for an automatic transmission car, as there is absolutely no work for the left foot!). Since the driver's seat had dual height adjustment, with a tiltable steering wheel and height adjustable seat belts, I could find my ideal driving position very easily.
Let me list down the things I observed (features):
* Tiltable steering wheel
* driver's armrest
* height adjustable front seat belts
* rear centre seat headrest (probably one of the few cars that has this)
* power windows and mirrors, with one touch auto down for the driver's
* centre cabin light
* fully automatic climate control
* front map lamps
* twin digital tripmeters with a trip computer showing distance to empty
* pleasing green illumination for the instrument cluster
* automatic transmission gear position indicator in the instrument cluster
(P, R, D, N, etc)
* illumination only for the driver's power window switch
* boot lamp centrally mounted, ensuring a good spread of the light
* luggage net
* good seating posture, though a tad low; good legroom too
* rear seat centre armrest with built in cupholders
Things that are missing and should have been added for the price of the car:
* Glove box light (glaring omission; even the Getz has it !)
* Illuminated power window switches (another glaring omission - this is
not there in the i10, i20 or Verna, but is there in the Getz and our 11
year old Cielo GLX)
* Airbags (the most glaring omission of all - absolutely ridiculous that such
a big car costing 9.75L on road has only ABS and no airbags; it's even
more ridiculous since lower segment cars like the i20 and i10 have
airbags, with the i20 having the option of even 6 airbags)
* No integrated audio and steering wheel audio controls (this would have
given a more upmarket look to the dashboard though it does look good
Now for the main stuff:
Once I got out of the yard (with my wife sitting in front and the sales guy in the rear seat) with the Verna automatic, I turned into a small subway after which there was about 300-400m of road with some small stones, a bit of gravel, some ups and downs etc. It was some kind of construction area and I could not drive beyond a certain point. However here, I could test the suspension of the car to see how it fared when going over those small stones, bumps etc. The car did pretty well and I did not feel much of those bumps and undulations inside the cabin.
Another thing is, though I heard the diesel engine clatter a bit from outside before I got into the car, once we got in and shut the doors and windows, I could not feel it at all. And once we started moving, it was almost like a petrol car. Pretty smooth and quiet. The automatic transmission was shifting quite smoothly as well. I took a U-turn from that construction area, again headed towards the subway after which we would have to go straight for about 600-700m before touching the main road leading to the Chennai airport and beyond (GST Road). On this stretch, I was slow when going down the subway and while climbing back up, I slammed down the gas pedal to experience the kick down mode of the automatic transmission - lovely! The gearbox immediately shifted into a low gear and catapulted the car forward like a rocket. That thrust of power was just amazing. I had climbed up the subway incline in no time and I was almost at the main road turning. This is when I decided to test the brakes. I pressed the brake pedal only a bit more than I usually do in the Cielo and Santro, and the car almost immediately came to a halt ! Wow. Superb braking, good brake feel and I was very impressed.
Now it was time to turn on to the main road and check out the acceleration, noise at speed in the cabin and so on. Once I turned on to the highway, I accelerated normally with a light foot and the car took its time to gain speed. However the automatic transmission shifts were quite seamless and we hardly felt the gear changes in the car. Since the road was clear, after travelling about a kilometre, I decided to slam the gas pedal and check out the acceleration. I did and once again the car shifted to a lower gear and surged forward, taking me to almost 100kmph in a matter of seconds. I touched 100kmph and then realised we had travelled quite a distance and decided to take a U-turn to get back to the yard, as the sales guy was also getting a bit nervous. He was a new guy who had just joined HMP a month back.
So I gradually slowed down to about 65-70 kmph and started looking for a U turn. Once I found it, I slowed and took the turn, heading back to the yard. I was really enjoying driving the car but unfortunately we had to return the car so soon. On the way back I could once again touch about 80kmph before I had to take a turn to the road leading to the yard.
I must say the in cabin noise was very low, especially for a diesel engine. I was very impressed. I felt like I was driving a petrol-engined car. Maybe the engine sound would have been more obvious at higher speeds. Now I know why everyone on Team BHP is raving about this 1.5L CRDi diesel. It truly is a gem of an engine. I could not hear much inside the car even when I had touched 95-100 kmph. There was a bit of road noise but I guess if we had turned on the music system, it would have camouflaged the road noise as well. The car felt very stable and planted at that speed too, even with the 185/65/14 tyres. I am sure the ride quality, tyre noise and grip would be much improved with a better set of tyres like Yokohamas or Michelins as some of the Verna owners on the forum have done.
The a/c was excellent in the car too. I had the temperature set to 24 deg C and a low blower speed. It was nice and comfortable in the cabin and at the same time there was very little noise from the blower.
Oh well, it was time to park the Verna automatic back in the yard and drive the i10 Sportz back to the showroom.
The build quality of the Verna is superb too. And the interiors have been well made. The controls were all very easy to use and the side mirrors were huge! When parking the car between 2 cars at the yard, I was a bit nervous about the mirrors touching one of the other cars. Though the mirrors provide an excellent view, they are by themselves quite large in size and in tight parking spots, this could prove to be a disadvantage and inconvenience especially since the Verna's mirrors cannot be electrically folded like the i20's mirrors. Reaching out to the passenger side and folding the side mirror from inside, is such a pain as I have done this several times in the Cielo (even though Cielo's mirrors are smaller and lighter). That said, I must mention that the Verna's side mirrors are quite solidly made. They were tight and heavy, and I just could not fold them from inside even after reaching over to the passenger side from the driver's seat. When I tried folding the driver's side mirror from the inside, I realised how good the mirror's build was.
Man what a difference it was after we parked the Verna and sat in the i10. The Verna was lovely to say the least. Now we felt we were in a really small car. But to be honest, the i10 by itself is much more spacious than the Santro and the space utilisation in the car is better. More space in front is saved since the gearbox is part of the centre console. It was very convenient to shift gears and gearbox itself was quite smooth too.
We drove back to the showroom, parked the i10 and got a few more details from the sales guy and then left.
The thing is, even if we could afford the Verna automatic after a few months, I am not comfortable in letting my wife drive this huge car especially since she is yet to learn driving. For that, I guess the best bet would be the i10 Asta automatic, then soup it up as per my taste and use it as the main car, until we get a bigger one. This way my wife would be able to get used to driving, as well as the automatic transmission. Our plan is to get a small fully loaded automatic car and then get a bigger automatic car so that my wife can runabout with the small car while I take the bigger one. The i20 is sort of in between, and I feel paying 8.5L on road for the i20 1.4 petrol automatic Asta (O) is not really worth it. Even the Asta at 8.2L on road is quite expensive. We may as well pay a lakh more and get something like a Verna diesel automatic - with the advantages of a superb diesel engine, big sized boot and the convenience of automatic transmission.
The only thing I missed out on testing in the Verna AT was the music system since I forgot to take my MP3 CD with me from our Santro. How forgetful of me. I specifically brought the CD with me in the car, but left it in the car when we drove off from the showroom in the i10 !!
To summarise, I feel the Verna 1.5L CRDi diesel automatic is a fantastic car, though it misses out on a few features. Hyundai should at least put the deleted features back like the glove box light and the cigarette lighter.
The Verna 1.5 CRDi SX AT has a lovely powerful and torquey engine, convenient automatic transmission, good space and comfortable seating, nice boot, and most of the other features that we expect as standard these days in such cars. The additional convenience features like the front driver armrest and the footrest make the car so comfortable to drive. The test drive was stress free, comfortable and enjoyable. I am sure even in bumper to bumper city traffic, this car would be a breeze to drive.
And I think Hyundai has introduced this car at the right time, when it has basically no competition in the market. I mean for less than 10L on road, there is no other mid size diesel car, with an automatic transmission option! That way, the car has been positioned perfectly, though the price could definitely have been lower by at least 30-40k. Probably at about 9.25L on road, it would have been a steal. However like most of the other Hyundai models, though a bit high priced, the car is still very good value for money for what it offers.
We are actually tempted to get this as our 1st car, but keeping the earlier mentioned point in mind, we may have to settle for a small automatic car.
Well, another thing is that the Verna Transform has already been launched in Korea and is likely to be introduced in other markets around the world by end 2009/early 2010. I hope, if Hyundai India introduces it here, they add the missing features and offer it as a complete car with everything. I have also read on the internet that an all new Accent/Verna is likely to debut as a 2011 model, meaning it may be displayed at car shows late next year.
Hmm - though it's tough, let me see if I can convince my dad to replace the Cielo with the Verna AT !!
Hope I have not bored you all with my review and also hope you all enjoy reading it.
Thanks and warm regards,
|15th September 2009, 21:09||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Nice review. Enjoyed reading it. Agree with your views.
I drive a verna AT and quite satisfied with the ownership experiance so far.
Not many owners for the verna AT so far on the forum though.
Happy car hunting !
|15th September 2009, 21:50||#3|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Kolkata, WB
Thanked: 411 Times
Good TD of the verna A/T.
Also let know how you found the i10 Asta A/T. I drive one and find it perfect for city/highway roundabouts. Only thing that you might miss are larger tires/alloys.
|15th September 2009, 21:57||#4|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Nice write-up dude! I happened to drive a Verna CRDi recently (Pras.oct25), and realized those who buy the Verna CRDi buy it because it is a comfortable car, while the Getz CRDi, though has the same engine, is meant more for performance than comfy comfy's...
|15th September 2009, 23:22||#5|
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Delhi / Agra / London
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Very nicely written detailed review. This will be extremely helpful to new buyers of Verna.
I agree with you when you say the car is huge. It truly is !! I realise this every time when I sit in other cars.
Also, the Verna though a bit boring in looks has extremely good quality plastics & materials used. Everything is top notch.
I have not driven the AT yet, But will do so soon when I get a chance. In fact I might just buy a 2nd Verna next year !!
|The following BHPian Thanks vkochar for this useful post:|
|16th September 2009, 00:31||#6|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 11 Times
Thanks. Glad you liked the review. I just wanted to pen down whatever I had in mind about the car. Yup I saw your thread on your Verna AT. Lucky you to be an owner of this lovely car ! True. Not many owners yet of the Verna AT mainly due to its price tag and maybe cos it's a diesel. Most people would be thinking about their daily running before they decide if a diesel would be required.
Nice nickname there. Suits your car to the T !! The i10 Asta is a lovely car as well. So easy to drive and nice peppy little engine. Very refined and smooth. This lil' car didn't seem lil' once inside though!! Felt and rode like a bigger one. The i10 Asta automatic is without doubt the best small automatic car that money can buy in India. I've been following your thread as well and I must say the 185/60/14 tyres and alloys look fabulous. They suit the car so well.
Thanks. That was the intention, along with of course my desire to share my views on the car with everyone here. Yes the Verna is definitely a huge car. It is felt more once we sit inside it. Materials used inside and out are of very good quality. The one thing that I do not understand though, is why these manufacturers can't put some fabric on the doors. Our 11 year old Cielo GLX has nice Velour (velvet kind) on the doors and when our arms or elbows touch the velour while driving, it feels so soft. The velour is intact till today and this gives a real plush/rich feeling. The Santro and Getz have some fabric on the doors, but none of the new cars - i10, i20, Verna etc has it. The entire door trim is plain.
Also I just hope and pray that Hyundai upgrades all these new cars in its range with the missing features which are available in the comparable overseas versions of the cars - like airbags (Verna), height adjustable front seat belts (i10/i20), rear centre headrest (i20), electric mirrors (i10), passenger seat undertray (i10) and so on.
You must take a drive in the Verna AT. Well worth it and I am sure you would love it.
2nd Verna next year ? Hang on. I have a hunch that Hyundai may launch the Verna Transform in India next year. That car would for sure come with some upgrades like a better centre console, blue illumination for the gauges, USB and iPod support for audio, probably even airbags.
If I remember right, even the Ford Fiesta did not have airbags (along with the previous gen Honda City) and the dual airbags were introduced much later. Honda did the same thing to the previous gen City too. It's not gonna take much for Hyundai to do the same thing to the existing Verna. I simply can't understand why they didn't do it for the updated Verna 2009, but instead even deleted some features like the cigarette lighter and glove box light which were there on cars a year earlier.
Last edited by VSG12777 : 16th September 2009 at 00:36. Reason: some grammatical errors plus missed out some text
|16th September 2009, 06:49||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Hi venkat thats a lovely review and a comprehensive one at that.
Are you sure that the power window sitches on all doors are not iilluminated ? I am lucky enoughto own one of the verna from teh very first batch and in my car all switches are illuminated.
Once you start using the verna the first thing that hits you the deficency in the lighting on th road and then the tyre . Th tyresto a large extend have been solved by the 185/65s which comes standard now, but th headlights ares till deficient
|16th September 2009, 11:03||#8|
Join Date: Apr 2007
Thanked: 14 Times
Nice review. I like your writing style. Everything is detailed.
I was surprised to see you mention that the brakes were very good. I didn't feel so when I drove a Verna and even now when I drive my Getz. At slow speeds, it tends to stop fast which can give the feeling of good brakes. But to slow down from high speeds that the engine is capable of, these brakes are just about OK.
They lack feel and I was really unsure whether it would stop in time. Good thing is, they did stop in time.
I felt the brakes in Getz D were better than Verna. These cars really need the service of the 4 disc brakes given on i20 Diesel.
|16th September 2009, 11:24||#9|
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bandra West, Bombay
Thanked: 47 Times
Excellent write-up Venkat. Both of us are in the same boat, trying to convince dad hehehe.
Also AFAIK the Verna SX Automatic has all around disc brakes, unless someone corrects me here.
|16th September 2009, 11:49||#10|
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bandra West, Bombay
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|16th September 2009, 12:22||#11|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 11 Times
Thanks. Yeah only the driver's auto down window switch gets illuminated when we turn on the lights. I thought that was really silly. When they can light up one switch why not all of them ? Looks like the older Vernas had most of these small features. Still puzzles me as to why Hyundai would delete these in the updated version!
As for the headlights, I can't say since I drove in the daytime. The tyres were okay and I didn't feel anything even at 100kmph. Car was very stable and smooth. Bit of tyre noise though.
The brakes were really good in the Verna AT. It may not be a fair comparison with the Getz D's brakes since I think the Verna AT comes with 4 wheel disc brakes as standard while the Getz has only front discs. And no ABS to add to that. Probably the brakes on automatics are souped up to cope with the extra load that we tend to put on them (since automatics don't have much engine braking).
Thanks man. Yeah convincing is a huuuge job !!
As for the Verna's brakes, that's what I thought too. They are probably beefed up for the automatic.
And I remember reading in one or more of the Verna AT reviews in the magazines that discs all around are standard on the car. The Verna website may not have been updated properly for all we know.
Yes - the Verna Diesel AT is as of now the only car in its category with absolutely no competition at that pricepoint. Now if only Hyundai could put back those deleted features and provide airbags, that would make the car complete. Sigh ... wishful thinking I guess.
|16th September 2009, 14:56||#12|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 11 Times
U.S. Market Accent 2009
Here's a link to the U.S. market Accent (2009 model). Amazing features - 6 airbags, 6-way adjustable driver's seat, tyre pressure monitoring system and more!!
Hyundai Accent Trim: Safe, Small Cars - More Interior Than Corolla & Civic | Hyundai
|28th December 2009, 01:34||#13|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Thanked: 15 Times
My Verna CRDi SX ABS (July 08) has an illuminated glove box. Has that feature been discontinued?
I'm glad you mentioned the solid build quality of the Verna's ORVM's and just about every other component. That's something I missed out in my own review. 1 year, 5 months & 27400 kms as of now, everything's as solid as it was the day my Verna rolled out of the showroom. I wouldn't trade it for any other car in India today. I love my Verna.
|12th January 2011, 10:43||#14|
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Re: Hyundai Verna 1.5 CRDi Diesel Automatic Test Drive - My Views
Great review very detailed to the T.
I am in the process of buying a new disel sedan. Wheels test driven so far are Altis, Verna Crdi & the Mighty Beast - Cruze! Chey should have named it as Beast .
My quick observations
1) I felt Altis was underpowered. Once you are behind the wheels you feel comfortable but you can feel that despite pressing the accelerator hard, it takes a while to respond. Given the segement Altis is in- its surely is overpriced. BTW - once inside its as good as a petrol car.
2) Verna Crdi - Mini Beast... That is. Very powerful engine and quick to respond. Very noisy from the outside but once inside i found it very quiet. Steering is hydraulic based, so ppl used to electronic steering could be a tad disappointed.
3) Cruze - I know i shouldnt compare this mean beast with verna/altis. They all belong to different leagues. But man ... what a great exp it was driving cruze. It was one very confident drive ever in my life. Though it looks quite huge from outside, i had a different opinion once seated in the cockpit.
I have ruled out Altis from the list and seriously thinking between Verna & Cruze. I am wiling to drill a one time hole in my pocket by buying cruze. However bit skeptical on the after sales, maintenace bit of cruze. GM claims to have 3 year / 1 lac kms warranty which i doubt. ..
Any cruze AT/ Verna Crdi AT owners out here - PLEASE HELP OUT THIS FELLA BHPian.
Hope to hear fromt the quickest bhpian
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