Korean auto major Hyundai on Wednesday launched a refreshed version of its mid sized sedan Verna taking advantage of the delay in the launch of the new generation version of its arch rival and long time bestseller Honda City. Honda was getting ready to launch the city last month but had to delay the plans till the middle of next month due to the coronavirus pandemic induced lockdown.
The new Verna comes in 11 variants with a starting price of Rs 9.3 lakh that goes up to Rs 15.1 lakh. The sedan is offered with a 1.5 litre petrol, 1.5 litre diesel and a new 1.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine that is already offered with Hyundai's other small sedan Aura and the i10 Nios hatchback.
The 1.5 litre petrol version is offered in five variants-four with manual transmission priced between Rs 9.3-12.6 lakh and the lone automatic version at Rs 13.85 lakh. Similarly the diesel version is priced between Rs 10.65-13.95 lakh spread across the four manual transmission variants and Rs 15.1 lakh for the automatic version. The turbocharged petrol engine comes in only one variant and is paired with a dual clutch automatic transmission gearbox priced at Rs 13.99 lakh.
The 1.5 litre petrol engine develops a maximum 115 ps power and 14.7 kgm of torque while the diesel engine makes a similar 115 ps power and 25.5 kgm of torque. The smaller 1 litre turbocharged petrol engine has a higher power output of 120 ps and torque of 17.5 kgm. Besides changes in the front and rear styling of the car, it comes with a host of features like electric sun roof, front ventilated seats, wireless charging and the company suit of connectivity options offered through the blue link package.
Once the most promising segment in the industry, mid size sedans have come under pressure in the last few years as a number of models in the entry level compact sedan segment have eaten into its share in the lower end, while SUVs have battered it at the top end. In an overall market that declined 18 percent in 2019-20, this segment declined 37 percent with all the models registering steep double digit drop. Steep taxes of over 40 percent are a big reason for this.
Maruti's Ciaz, Honda's City and the Verna are closely bunched together in the segment with Ciaz topping the charts with sales of 25,258 in FY20, down 45 percent over FY 19, followed by City at 20,912 units, down 49 percent and Verna at 20,894 units, down 47 percent. This year, Verna and City are likely to benefit from Maruti discontinuing the diesel version of the Ciaz. Verna however is the only car of the three to offer a turbocharged petrol engine as well as the more advanced dual clutch transmission.