It’s been over 1000km since I started using the Hyundai Verna Turbo as my long-term car. And so far, I have predominantly used the car in the city. As it turns out, pandemic or not, I have been making quite a few office runs in this period. And, the Mumbai peak hour traffic is almost at its worst already.
Nonetheless, with judicious use of the throttle, the Verna is still managing to return over 12kmpl in the city. These runs include everything from a 4am dash to a shoot location on the outskirts of Mumbai to battling returning rush hour traffic to just heading to get a coffee on the go.
And here’s what I have come to like and appreciate about the Verna as a commute companion, and then a few things I didn’t like so much.
Things We Like
I love that all the new top-spec Hyundai cars now come with wireless charging. That means I don’t have to carry a wire or worry about not having charged my phone through the night. And it’s a decently quick charger as well. However, it does leave the phone more than just a little warm.
I also quite like the multimedia system. For starters it’s a comprehensive unit and it will show you everything from maps to your phone book to possibly your horoscope. Okay it cant do the latter, but the moment I get into the car and crank it, the system knows what I was listening to last. So, before I can get going, it’s already playing my playlist off the phone. It’s a wonderful thing when you have only recently discovered the joys of listening to podcasts.
I also love the cooled seats. You have three settings. But the first and the most powerful of them, is a little too bone chilling for me! The third though (wherein only one light glows) is brilliant for the humid Mumbai weather. Plus the seat itself – not to mention the driving position – makes the driver’s seat in the Verna a delight to be in.
Finally, there’s the automatic gearbox. A boon, no question, when it comes to tackling stop and go traffic. But, even when driving in a hurry – remember those early morning photoshoot runs – its alert and intuitive nature make the drive both seamless and involving. And as it turns out I still haven’t felt the need to use the paddle shifters. It does however get confused sometimes about whether it should stay in second or shift to first, especially at low speeds and a mildly heavy right foot. But again, it’s rare and infrequent.
What We Didn’t Like
Not so rare is the way the Verna Turbo lurches ahead at low speeds; again it’s a function of a slightly heavy right foot. But, we would have liked the response to be a bit more linear. Not that I am a great driver, but given my experience behind the wheel, I am surprised the surge still catches me unawares from time to time. It’s not a pleasant experience in stop and go traffic.
On account of stating the obvious, the Verna is a sedan. And that means compared to SUVs that surround us, it's fairly low. And it seems the kerb and sidewalks all around have now been designed with SUVs in mind. So, if one opens the Verna’s door with abandon, it can cause some scraping noises and a lot of embarrassment. Careful while opening the door when parked against a kerb, is the mantra with the Verna.
I am also not a fan of the field of view the outside rear view mirrors offer. These look good, of course, but every time I need to park, I need to work those mirrors quite extensively to park right. Again, I am no great driver…
Next up, we will take the Verna up to a twisting road. We will drive it to a different city. And we will load its boot to the gills to see how much we can stuff in. A typical highway report, if you will.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi