Mid-size sedan rivalry between Honda City and Hyundai Verna goes back a long way. Both of these players have ended leadership reign ofeach other at different points in time. Honda City ruled the segment roost and despite of critical absence of diesel, it braved all challenges successfully till 2011. At same time, Hyundai stepped up pressure with all-new fluidic Verna and ended Honda’s leadership stint within short span of its arrival. Since then, wide variety of engines, spectacular looks and generous equipment helped Verna to retain category crown for rather a long stint. Bogged down by Hyundai and more importantly by absence of diesel, Honda went back to basics and rewritten its Indian market strategy. Convinced by arguments of team heading Indian operation, top honchos at Honda headquarters finally decided to unleash diesel power in their vehicles. This was upturn in Honda’s fortunes as engineers threw themselves to incarnate diesel heart for their brand vehicles. Under aegis of Earth Dreams technology, Honda brought new 1.5-litre, i-DTEC diesel engine to life which in turn revived the company’s fortunes singlehandedly. Honda City too, like its other siblings, got diesel shot in 2014 and raced back to top slot by dethroning Hyundai Verna. In fact such is resurgence intensity of City that Hyundai didn’t get any chance to get its act together as Honda stormed and won its fortress overnight. Stunned by defeat, Hyundai decided to hit back and this is exactly what new, 2015 facelift Verna is supposed to do. Now to know which of these two arch rivals has got the virtues of winner, we decided to pit them against each other in this road-test comparison review. Let’s see which side wins and which loses?
Both Honda City and Hyundai Verna are lookers and despite designing differences, masses are sure to love both designs. The principal asymmetry in both the cars is approach of their respective designers while they set out to incarnate these machines. Honda City is weaved around theme of sleekness while Hyundai Verna depends heavily upon its understated elegance.
Masculine beauty of Honda City
Hyundai, on the other hand, has watered-down its aggregated fluidic design philosophy in 2015 Verna, which is quite a sensible decision. Low-slung demeanour of Verna blends uninhibitedly with design tone of car. That said, Verna loses to City in terms of overall newness and athletic quotient as it pales in front of crispy flavour of Honda.
Understated elegance of 2015 Verna
Further, being a facelift has restricted Hyundai from incorporating major changes as overall design of new Verna still feels very familiar and a bit aged. A full-fledged replacement of Verna is due next year and we think, Hyundai has to give a complete makeover in order to win back very discerned and choosy customers of Indian market.
2015 Verna: 3.5/5 Honda City:4/5
Over the years, Hyundai has perfected art of cabin design and new Verna is blessed with this competence as it has got class-leading finishing and stitching accuracy. Material design, choice, quality, perforation, shading etc. is all rated first-class here as Hyundai has thrown its whole might in designing cabin of Verna. There are not much discernible changes in cabin design of new Verna from older ones though we wish Hyundai had provided rear AC vents here. Except this deficiency, Verna cabin is worth all-praise.
2015 Verna: Impeccable Finishing
Honda loses out to Verna as it lacks the basic coherence in central stack where things seem to have traced their own separate path. Central screen is placed right at centre though there is nothing that otherwise should be placed beneath it. Air-con vents are oddly placed and though they are functional in nature, these alarmingly should there shortfall on symmetry is glaringly visible. It is really out of understanding of sane minds why Honda has adopted this rarity while designing City’s cabin.
Honda City: Disjointed story
Now Honda makes up for its coherence deficiency on space front as it comes around as better package on overall roominess and occupants’ seating comfort. Especially on rear bench, Honda claims decisive advantage over Verna as it feels roomier, spacious and even head-room is considerably larger than what we experienced in Verna. Boot space too, is class leading in City as it dwarfs Verna by handsome margin. All in all, bout here ends in tie with Verna emerging victorious on designing while City taking lead on practicality.
2015 Verna: 3.5/5 Honda City: 3.5/5
Power Train &Transmission
Honda City has got its time tested 1.5-litre, i-VTEC petrol engine under hood of City while Hyundai Verna uses 1.6-litre, VTVT petrol motor in its top-spec petrol model. Owing to extra displacement of 100 cc, Hyundai makes a bit more power and torque (121 PS/158 Nm) than City (117 PS/145 Nm). That said, there is no real-world perceptible difference as both cars feel equally eager to take on each other. That said, Verna feels a bit more confident at lower rpms though things for City get better as you mash the pedal.
2015 Verna: Bigger 1.6-litre heart
Honda specializes in evoking driving pleasure as itsi-VTEC system becomes sweeter with rising revolutions. At higher rpms, Honda feels altogether in different territory and even Hyundai’s VTVT has no match for Honda’s brilliance. City encourages you to go further up in rpm range and doesn’t thrown any tantrums even when you start approaching limit.
Honda City: Superbly refined petrol motor
In gear section too, Honda races past Verna with its slicker, crispier, and more accurate shifting experience. Gears slots in a very inspiring way and unlike Verna which requires some time to perfect slotting in 1st and reverse gears, all gates are very accurately defined in City. Golf ball designed lever in City is good design inspiration though Verna’s stich feels equally polished.
2015 Verna: 3.5/5 Honda City: 4/5
Honda City won hands down here as it displayed far better road manners than soggy and mushy Verna. Hyundai has retuned Verna’s suspension and though new Verna treads confidently than its previous iteration, it still lags behind City by huge margin.
Puny tyres of City
Honda City rides a bit firmer than Verna at slow speeds which makes it a tad uncomfortable in city. That said, once progress under speedometer registers, City shows mature, composed and confident demeanour over the rest of entire range. Contrary to Verna, City allows driver to have fun with driving. One can take unanticipated moves with City while Verna resists any such evoking.
Extremely soggy Verna
Verna tends to throw all kinds of tantrums at high speed and at times, it is difficult to contain body roll. Clearly Hyundai has still to go a long way before it can match dynamic capabilities of its rival propositions.
2015 Verna: 3/5 Honda City: 4/5
2015 Verna is right step by Hyundai in right direction though company has failed to improve considerably in any of the major areas like looks, design, performance etc. Further, prices of 2015 Verna are on par with Honda City and in fact, for top-variant automatic version, Verna sits at top of price chart. This blunts the price armour that is often used by Honda’s rivals against it. Another card related to diesel has already been rendered useless as new City has got its own mighty oil-burner. No doubt new Verna has got basics right though when rival belongs to stature of Honda City, one has to have something special in its kitty. In this particular case, Hyundai lacks any such trump card and this explains why it surrendered in front of City. We suspect that Hyundai won’t be able to keep up pace of City and it requires a thorough remake of Verna before it starts to make dent in City’s fortress. Until then, Honda is sure to retain its segment crown.
2015 Verna: 3/5 Honda City: 4/5