With the update, Hyundai has rejigged the entire powertrain line-up of the Verna. Along with the new 1.5-litre petrol and diesel, it now gets a 998cc Kappa Turbo GDi three-cylinder turbo-petrol producing 118bhp at 6000rpm and a twisting force of 172Nm available at 1500rpm. Sending this power to the front wheels is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. And it is the only trim to get paddle-shifters.
Once started, the motor settles into a refined hum, with little to no vibrations of the typical three-cylinder motor felt inside the cabin. You would barely hear it off-the-line too and the engine feels eager once you shift to D and let go of the brakes. Since the torque is accessible so low down the rev range, the sedan gets going smoothly and easily even with the slightest dab on the accelerator pedal. It's past 2000rpm when the engine comes alive and it remains like that till the 6500rpm redline.
Under full-bore acceleration, you get a surge in the momentum, which may not shove you in the seats, but it does feel like it’s holding your hand to hurl you along gently. Of course, triple-digit speed arrives quickly, even before the DCT could work through all its seven gears. However, you get to hear that three-cylinder din under hard acceleration.
When driving at city speeds, since all the torque is available low down at around the 1500rpm mark, the motor feels relaxed, and there’s no need to wring the engine if you need to go faster or plan some quick overtakes. The linear characteristics of the three-cylinder make it very usable and easy to drive too. Out on the highway, the DCT keeps the revs around 2000rpm while leisurely cruising at triple-digit speeds. Talking about the gearbox, the dual-clutch unit is jerk-free and smooth in upshifts and downshifts, with no lags whatsoever. It also maintains the correct gear almost every time – whether you intend to cruise along or do some quick dashes between the traffic – without letting you realise the gearshifts. You can also slot the lever into S and take control of shifts manually. The conveniently-placed paddle-shifters behind the steering does provide the liberty of shifting with your fingertips too. We noticed the electronically-controlled DCT tends to upshift itself closer to redline, regardless whether you are in D or S mode.
As for the steering, it is light to operate and is also direct, with less than two-and-half turns lock-to-lock. Surprisingly, it is not vague off the centre either and weighs up nicely as the speed increases, which is reassuring when you want to be enthusiastic behind the wheel. Hyundai seems to have worked the suspension for the Turbo trim, as the ride quality is now well sorted. The sedan never scraped even once over a speed-breaker, which is commendable too. At low speeds, it has a firm composition to it, but it’s far from being uncomfortable. It also feels taut and there’s less body roll – if not completely absent since it is still tuned for comfort. And as the speed increases, the suspensions manage to absorb undulation and irregularities with aplomb, even sharper edges are well taken care of and you don’t hear the suspension working inside the cabin. With good high-speed stability and a spirited engine, it is easy to push the car closer to its limits, but we expected a little more initial bite and less spongy feel from the brakes for more confidence while pushing the limits.