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The automatic choice?

Is the all-new Hyundai Verna CRDi automatic worth the extra R 70,000 over the manual?

autos Updated: Jul 20, 2011 15:02 IST
Ameya Dandekar

The all-new Verna, like its predecessor, is the only diesel automatic saloon in its segment. It’s easy to drive, booted and won’t blow a hole in your pocket. It’s also the cheapest diesel automatic on sale today. So, what exactly do you get for the moolah that Hyundai charges for it?

Same engine as before
It essentially has the same old school, four-speed automatic present in the previous model, but its internals are strengthened considerably to take on the extra twisting force. The Verna’s 1,582cc common-rail turbo-diesel engine can relinquish some of its 126bhp and 26.50kgm of torque to the power-sapping torque converter without turning into a sloth. With only four speeds to play with, gear ratios are tall and widely spaced. So, the Verna doesn’t feel all that quick and instead accelerates in an extremely linear and relaxed manner. The automatic gearbox eliminates some of the turbo-lag present in the manual version — it upshifts early (in the interest of fuel economy) and the shifts are smooth and linear. With light controls, this makes for a car that is stress-free in traffic.

On the highway, the Verna cruises nicely and doesn’t feel taxed. There’s adequate power for overtaking but the gearbox prefers to call upon the engine’s torque reserves rather than kickdown. This means you have to plan a bit when overtaking, especially on two-lane roads, and there is a fair bit of lag from the gearbox too. With the throttle buried, it goes from 0-60kph in 5.20 seconds, which is only 0.7s slower than the manual version, and 100kph takes just 11.19s, as compared to the 10.54s taken by the manual. It takes 9.20s for 40-100kph, which is actually much faster than its main rival, the petrol-powered Honda City auto.

Soft suspension
The manual and automatic share the same soft suspension, which helps keep most minor irregularities out at low speeds. At high speeds, the car bobs around on large dips and driving on an uneven road can be a little unsettling. Still, the pedal feel is decent and the brakes bite well but tend to fade after hard use. Being an automatic, fuel consumption takes a hit. The Verna manages 11.5kpl and 15.3kpl in the city and highway cycles respectively. While in the city, the Verna is more than 2kpl off the manual, it does redeem itself on the highway thanks to that tall fourth gear. Autocar India

Hyundai VERNA
CRDi AUTO
Price: R 10.74 lakh
(Ex-showroom, Delhi)
Width: 1,700mm
Boot volume: 465 litres
Fuel: Diesel
Installation: Front, transverse
Layout: 4 cyls in-line, 1,582cc, turbo-diesel
Bore/stroke: 77.2/84.5mm
Power: 126bhp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 26.5kgm at 1,900rpm
Type: Front-wheel drive
Gearbox: 4-speed auto
Construction: Monocoque
Weight: 1,201kg
Tyres: 195/55-R16
Brakes: (f/r) Ventilated/solid discs

Verdict
Hyundai has added yet another feather to the Verna’s cap with the automatic option. It provides the economy of a diesel and the simplicity of an automatic at a price that isn’t pocket pinching. The Verna auto is practical and convenient. Hyundai has upped the ante with this refreshed model.

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