2023 Verna 1.5 Turbo MT: 10 observations after 60 km of city driving

Hyundai provides ADAS with this car which seems to be a helpful tool but frankly, is a bit of a distraction or even intrusive, if I may.

BHPian vivprasad recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The story begins essentially in 2022 around April itself, a little before my superannuation from work, when I wanted to change my 12-year-old Suzuki SX4 ZXi for a new car, primarily because of a lack of inventory for spares at the service centres, since the SX4 manufacturing had stopped a few years ago.

In so far as the running of the SX4 was concerned, I was happy. As I scouted for the possibilities in sedans, I am not an SUV person (no offence to any SUV lover), five cars were available in the price range I was looking at: Honda City, VW Virtus, Skoda Slavia, Suzuki Ciaz and the Hyundai Verna.

Ciaz dropped out of the race simply because I had owned two Suzuki cars (the old Maruti 800, and the current SX4), wanted a change, but also didn’t quite like the lack of features. Honda City maintenance, though available in my city, would be expensive. After-sales service, including repairs, of the VAG twins is questionable in most places. Which left the Verna that I had been eyeing since the Verna Fluidic days.

While I like the Verna as a car, the previous version was essentially a two-seater for me, the rear seat space being way too cramped! As my decision veered towards the Virtus, I heard this buzz that a fully new-gen Verna, not just a face-lift, was to be released around Diwali of 2022. I decided to wait. The assumed Diwali launch became early 2023. I continued to wait.

The Verna 2023 is a beauty. Pre-booking started on the 12th February, and I booked it on the 16th. Went to the showroom on the 22nd March, a day after the official launch, saw the car in the flesh. Took a test drive of the 1.5 Turbo SX(O) MT, the version I was interested in, on 2nd April.

The test drive was with 4 persons in the car. I drove it for a little under 30 mins, and was satisfied. It was driving steady, had very little sound filtering into the cabin, the two-spoke steering was not a problem, the surge of power could be felt upon acceleration, rear camera quality etc…and with 4 on board, the car didn’t graze any speed-breaker. One problem I faced is mentioned later.

Took delivery of the Verna 1.5 Turbo SX(O) MT White colour on 14th April, and brought it home. This report is after driving around 60 kms only, in the city.

  1. I really like the looks, and the white colour, as most of the contours on the bonnet and the sides are very clearly visible, which were not so on the dark colours. The exterior has been variously described by friends and their children as snazzy, sexy, race car etc. And quite a few heads have turned on the road, believe me.
  2. The so-called kit that Dealers offer, seat cover/mud flaps/floor mats/perfume/car cover etc was sort of inconsequential in the sense that the top-end version comes with its own mud flaps, and the seats being ventilated, cannot be covered. So, I requested them to do the mats, car cover and the number plate FOC, to which they agreed! The mats are sort of fixed and have a slightly raised margin to resemble shallow trays. Interesting. The stepney is a non-alloy and smaller than the regular wheels. Annoyingly, this has become standard these days. I asked the Dealer for a 5th alloy along with the tyre, which he said will have to be ordered separately. Have asked him to do so, although he is not very certain when it will be supplied.
  3. There was some discussion on the ceramic coat front. I went through a lot of posts on Team-BHP as well as outside the group, but the majority appeared in favour. I talked to the man in charge of getting the ceramic coat done at Hyundai. As it turned out, the duration is dependent on the thickness of the coat: they were offering 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 micron thick coats with a 1, 2 or 3-year warranty respectively along with 1 free check for 3 years at 8-month intervals, to be done at the Hyundai workshop. The manufacturer is WÜRTH. He advised no water for a week and wiping always with a microfibre cloth. In case the layer would begin to get damaged a bit, the water and dust-repelling properties would come down somewhat, but the gloss would remain about the same. I got a 1.5 microns coat done. Now, let us wait and see! I also got an anti-rust treatment done to the base, that I have always gotten done on all my cars.
  4. The first drive was with a carload of 5 people, none was skinny. The rear seat and space was found to be very comfortable, with more than adequate leg-room. The front seats are nice, and hug the thighs well. The ventilation system is really fast and levels can be regulated. Did not use the heater, it's already very hot in summer! The AC is efficient. The 5-person loaded car also did not graze any speed breaker.
  5. The drive is comfortable, the gear transitions smooth. The suspension seems firmly soft, the flexibility of a longer wheel base was evident. Once I went over rumbling strips at some speed because it was night and they were not painted white, and while we felt the bumps, they were not enough to bother us. The surge in speed upon acceleration was nicely felt by all passengers. Braking too is smooth, no jerks.
  6. The dashboard requires getting used to (as opposed to the digital meters with hands). It took just about 2 days. The margin colours can be maintained at one colour, or be selected to change with the drive mode: eco-blue green, normal-blue, sport-red. There are a lot of ADAS related displays that are firsts for me, but they are cool. A box in the central part itself toggles to display overall data like mileage, fuel, tyre pressure, a compass etc. The in-cabin light can also be changed out of 64 possibilities. The engine stop function on stopping, and restarting by pressing the clutch is a cool touch. ADAS controls are on the left spoke of the steering wheel, the right has the entertainment controls.
  7. The ADAS, in my 3 in-city outings (do not have the number plate yet) seems a helpful tool, but frankly is a bit of a distraction or intrusive if I may. You hear the beeps, and then move your head around to try and see what the ADAS is telling you. On Indian roads, bikes and other such vehicles keep coming close randomly, and so warning signs on both the ORVMs light up along with the beep. Lane assist is good, but once again, lane discipline is still a far cry on most roads. Thankfully, it works only above 60 kmph. Since I didn’t go on the highway, have not tested the Cruise function (I am not sure if it's adaptive or simple). However, I did get a surprise, in that I was under the impression that the front car depart alert is available only with the SX(O) DCT. At a traffic light, I suddenly got an alert. Funnily, the delay was because of the auto engine stop story. As the light went green, I pressed the clutch, the engine restarted, took the gear and moved. This was enough time for the car in front to drive away, leading to the alert. But, it was a welcome surprise.
  8. The sound is delightful, with the 8 Bose speakers doing the trick. Have tested on radio, blue tooth music, and music on a pen drive. There are some limitations, or maybe they are not and I just don’t know how to go about them, e.g. how to change folders when playing music through a pen drive. I am also intrigued as to why the radio, if playing, changes to media when toggled via the mode switch on the steering wheel, but does not move back to radio when toggled again. This is strange, it cannot (should not) be a one-way move. Anyway, as I discover stuff by and by, will keep posting.
  9. Have still not activated the Hyundai Bluelink, somewhere I am not sure whether I should.
  10. The one issue that I have is the ability of the car to pick up at low speed when in 2nd gear. There is a shudder, I have to quickly move to 1st to prevent a stall. Guess I will get used to it.

If you all can indulge me, I have moved through a Hindustan 14-Fiat 1100D-Ambassador-Premier Padmini-Maruti 800-Suzuki SX4-Verna 2023 (do throw in a Hyundai i10 Magna 1.2 of 2009, and a i10 Nios Sportz of 2022 belonging to my wife).

This is my most fancy car yet, and I am thrilled. And I have my wife’s approval!

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Live To Drive