Hyundai has been on a roll, ever since the launch of the Fluidic Verna – here in India. Unleashing a barrage of new models in every possible segment, the South Korean automaker has managed to displace market veterans Honda and Maruti from their top spots in various segments.
With the lack of a diesel engine, Honda’s sales steadily declined and with ever increasing fuel rates, the situation looked bleak for the Japanese car manufacturer. However, with the recently introduced i-DTEC diesel engine, Honda quickly regained momentum and sales of the diesel Amaze quickly that put the car maker back on the map. The release of the new City with a diesel option marked the beginning of Honda’s return into the premium sedan segment.
We have put two of the best sedans in the market right now against each other and see how they fare.
The latest gen Honda City builds on the sporty appeal of the previous gen models. The front end has been tweaked to give the sedan a sleeker look. The front headlamps are now thinner and longer aiding to the car’s aesthetic appeal. The aggressively styled fog lamp enclosures and tail lamps are a huge improvement from the outgoing model. Honda has also added a sunroof, a feature not available even on the top end Verna.
Hyundai debuted its fluidic design philosophy with the Verna in India. The South Korean car maker’s edgy design, paints an image of an entity in perpetual motion. Honda may have brought the City back into fighting shape, but few sedans come close to the new Verna’s striking exterior. The aggressively styled front end is a far cry from the spiritless shape of the previous generation model and the car definitely stands out in a crowd.
Round 1 Winner: Hyundai Verna
The City’s interior is an attractive blend of beige and black. The piano black centre console complete with a touchscreen system is stunning. The touch sensitive controls for the air conditioning is also a nice touch. The touchscreen infotainment system is the only one in its class and doubles up as the rear parking camera display as well. However, the piano black finish around the center console is prone to smudges and fingerprints. The silver accents along the steering wheel and various other regions around the cabin combined with leather upholstery to improve the car’s upmarket feel.
Cabin space is good with four adults being able to sit comfortably. With an increased wheelbase, the new City offers as much space as the Nissan Sunny. However, the City could do better with a pair of rear AC vents.
The Hyundai Verna’s interior is as impressive as its exterior. The cabin is large and roomy but does not provide the same amount of space as the City. However, quality of materials used are superb. A combination of faux woodwork and premium plastics endow the Verna with a cabin that can even rival luxury car makers.
However, the infotainment system is quite old and lacks a multi-function touchscreen display.
Round 2 Winner: Its a Draw !
Under the Hood:
For the first time ever, the new Honda City comes with both petrol and diesel options. While the petrol variant is the familiar 1.5 L i-VTEC engine that produces 117 HP at 6600 RPM and 145 Nm of torque at 4600 RPM, the diesel engine is the engine you’d buy the new City for. The 1.5 L i-DTEC engine produces 99 HP at 3600 RPM and 200 Nm of torque. While that may not be tarmac shredding figures, the main aim of the new diesel engine is fuel efficiency and it definitely delivers. With a mileage of 26 km/L, the new Diesel City offers the best in class fuel economy.
Both engines are mated to a six speed manual gearbox with the petrol offering a five speed automatic as well. Safety wise, the City offers dual airbags, ABS and central locking.
The Verna also offers a petrol and diesel. The petrol engine is a powerful 1.6 L unit that produces 121 BHP @ 6300 RPM and 155 Nm of torque @ 4200 RPM. The petrol Verna is equipped with both – a five speed manual and a four speed gearbox.
Hyundai offers two diesel engines for the Fluidic Verna. While one is a more economical 1.4 L oil burner, the other is a more powerful 1.6 L unit. The smaller engine produces 89 HP and 224 Nm of toque while the more powerful unit produces an impressive 126 HP and 260 Nm of torque. However mileage takes a hit with the diesel variants giving 23.5 km/L and 22.32 km/L respectively. Both numbers far lower than that of the City’s.
The top end variant sports all sorts of safety features such as six airbags, ABS, EBD and brake assist.
Round 3 Winner: Its a Draw again !
As with all Honda cars, the drive is simply superb. The suspension setup is soft but stiff enough to take around a corner. Steering sensitivity is well proportioned allowing for better confidence around twisty roads. The diesel motor however, is quite unrefined and the cabin succumbs to a large amount of noise from the engine. However, we did find that the reverse gear caused a few issues at times.
Boot space is more than ample. With a class leading boot space of 510 L, the City is perfect for those long family vacations.
Here’s where the Hyundai Verna loses out. While the South Korean car maker has focused on packing more features, it has failed to work on the car’s driving dynamics. As a result, the Verna comes off as a mixed bag. Though the power under the bonnet is impressive, the soft suspension has been tuned for comfort rather than out for speed. As with the i20, the driver in you might be a little disappointed.
However, the softer suspension means a better ride over the pot hole ridden streets of India.
Round 4 Winner: Honda City
Both cars are excellent, however, the City has a slight edge over the Verna. While both sedans are the segment’s best sellers, there is a reason why Honda managed to displace Hyundai from its top spot. The City has always been a long standing favorite of the Indian consumer. Offering the right mix of driving dynamics, style, space and reliability, the Honda City’s only drawback was the lack of a diesel engine. Now, with the new Earth Dreams diesel mill, the City is back with a bang!!!
Visit the Hyundai India website: http://www.hyundai.com
Visit the Honda India website : https://www.hondacarindia.com