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2020 Hyundai Verna CVT Review: Setting High Expectations and Delivering in a Refreshed Package

2020 Hyundai Verna. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

2020 Hyundai Verna. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

The Hyundai Verna has been given a nip and tuck and has been loaded to the brim with even more features than before. But with the competition getting updates too, has the Verna become better value for money than before?

Manav Sinha
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When I think of the Hyundai Verna, you know what comes to my mind? I think of it as being a car that’s trying to do a lot of things. It’s not solely relying on the fact that it’s got a heritage or solely relying on the fact that it’s the cheapest and the most frugal option in its segment. This car is trying to do a lot of things and that can be quite tricky to achieve. Hyundai did come close to that when the new Verna came out. And now, they’ve come out with the facelift. So the question we will be asking is not only what’s new in this car but also whether it adds to the value for money offering that the Verna brings to the table.

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I want to start this review with the design of the car because that has been one of the talking points of the Hyundai Verna facelift. I know looks are a subjective matter but hear me out. One of the things that I think is affecting people’s opinions is the fact that the Hyundai Verna, in pictures, does not look as big as it really is. Having seen it in flesh, I think the design looks alright and I quite like it personally. But then again, looks is something that you have to decide on.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
The 2020 Hyundai Verna gets a new face which gives a sportier look. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

In terms of what’s new on the outside, well, it has a new face for itself which is a lot sharper and sportier than before. The new, wider grille with its blacked-out chrome finish now merges seamlessly into the headlamps which are now all LEDs. I liked how the DRLs wrap around the headlamp unit giving the car a distinct look. You also get chrome garnishing on the front lip and the fog lamp housings have been redesigned too in order to add to that sporty nature that Hyundai is going for.

From the sides, the Verna looks identical barring the new 16-inch alloy wheels which do look nice. At the back, the bumper has been tweaked and that coupled with the chrome garnish at the bottom of the bumper, make the car look wider. The tail lamps have been updated too and are now in sync with the design of the headlamps.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
The updated Hyundai Verna looks wider from the back. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Step inside and you will be greeted with the familiar interior layout. There are some minor changes but what you would notice right away is that it now has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that protrudes outwards from the dash and as per our experience, it has a better touch response and smoother animations than before. Other good bits include a wireless charging pad which sounds great but you should keep in mind that it does not fit big phones, like the OnePlus 7 for example. It will, however, fit a relatively smaller phone like the Google Pixel 2 with a case on it.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
2020 Hyundai Verna interiors. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

The front seat passengers also get cooled seats which is a blessing in summers. The other big change is that the car's instrument cluster is now an all-digital unit. It is a bit busy, to be honest, and takes some time getting used to and recognizing which information lies where, but once you get used to it, it is a better experience.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
The instrument cluster of the 2020 Hyundai Verna is now all digital. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

And now, coming to the back seat.

Now, if the Hyundai Verna interests you then chances are that you might be looking at the Verna as a car that you are going to be chauffeur-driven in. If that is the case, then the back seat is the all-important seat for you and, well, it is a bit of a mixed feeling when you’re there.

You see the thing is that I’ve got all the comfort features that I would want. I’ve got a rear AC vent for myself, I have a charging port, I have an armrest with cup holders in it, I’ve got adjustable headrests, the seating position is rather comfortable, I even have a rear sunshade, so there’s not a lot to complain about. However, what I did not like is the amount of knee-room and legroom that I have in the back seat. For a car this size, frankly put, this amount of rear-seat space is simply not acceptable.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
The lack of space for rear seat passengers in the Hyundai Verna is unacceptable. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

But will you be left wanting for more if you were to step into the driver seat?

We drove the 1.5-litre petrol engine variant which is now BS-VI emission norm compliant. The big difference is now is the engine feels smoother, a bit more refined to drive which is a great thing. But, if you’re someone who’s into a sporty driving experience, you will find that the steering wheel lacks feedback. However, the upside to that is that this light steering wheel makes the Verna an absolute gem to drive in city traffic conditions. So you have to see where, on the spectrum of city driving to sporty driving, do you see yourself with the car because the Verna tilts heavily towards being a city car.

What adds to that driving comfort is the fact that this engine also comes with the option of a CVT transmission, which was the variant that we drove, and the gearbox left us impressed.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
We tested the CVT transmission-equipped variant of the Hyundai Verna . (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

There is the typical rubber band effect that comes with this kind of a gearbox but in the case of the Verna, almost always, the onboard computer knew which gear to be in and judged it correctly whenever I wanted the car to downshift or upshift, so no complaints in that department.

The driving experience in terms of comfort as a whole remains identical to the older Verna which means a supple ride experience where the car can go through bad patches of roads with ease. It actually manages to hit the sweet spot of being a capable city car on city roads and give you a fairly decent in-cabin experience when you hit the highways. As for the driver, the driving position is relaxed and the visibility is good too.

And yes, now you get a sunroof as well.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
Yes, the 2020 Hyundai Verna gets a sunroof. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

And adding to the long list of features is the fact that the Verna now comes with Hyundai’s Blue Link connected tech which means you can do several remote operations like pre-cooling the cabin and remote engine start/stop through your smartphone app. There’s cruise control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. So basically, the Verna covers all the bases when it comes to comfort and features.

Hyundai Verna, Verna, Hyundai Verna Review
The new Hyundai Verna meets a lot of its own high-set expectations. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

So to sum up my experience of the Hyundai Verna.

I spent quite a lot of time with it and I’ve driven it quite a lot and I think, in order to sum it all up, I have to go back to the thing I started the review with – how I feel about the Hyundai Verna. I still think that this is a car that’s trying to do a lot of things. However, in its latest iteration, it does manage to meet a lot of its own high-set expectations. And if you’re in the market looking for a sedan that is very easy to drive in city conditions, is loaded to the brim with features and connected tech and want a car that looks sporty, then the Hyundai Verna is what we would recommend.

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