Going by the new Verna’s adventurous exterior styling, you’d expect something equally funky on the inside as well. There is some disappointment here as Hyundai has played it safe with a rather conventional design. The shield-like fascia though does look quite appealing. Beige is the colour of choice for the seats and lower portion of the dashboard and this really enhances the ambience in the car.
Interior quality is impressive and is a big improvement over the previous model. We really liked the textured dashboard, the damped feel to the AC vents, knurled finish on the climate control dials and the chunky steering (borrowed from the i20). Plastic quality is good but not consistent throughout the cabin. The power window switches look like they belong to a segment below and the faux wood on the dash doesn’t look convincing either. The door armrests are also poorly finished and the fit on panels near the footwells could be better too. But overall, the Verna exudes a richness that makes the insides a nice place to be.
There is reasonable space for knickknacks including a sunglasses holder near the rearview mirror. But the door pockets are shallow and not really suitable for holding more than a few newspapers at best. There is also a bottle- and cupholder beside the handbrake that comes positioned a touch too close to the driver’s seat.
Frontal visibility from the driver’s seat is good but the sloping rear windscreen and high rear passenger headrests hamper visibility out the back. The front seats themselves are well bolstered with ample support for your back. If we had a grouse with these seats, it’s with the short squabs and a general lack of under-thigh support. But this is more of an issue at the rear which, along with just about average headroom and restricted visibility out of the rear window (a side effect of the Verna’s high belt line), mark down the Verna as a chauffeur-driven car.
Passengers will also have to slightly contend with the Verna’s low stance – getting in and out could be an issue for some. The generous width and flat floor offer enough space for a fifth passenger but the seat contours make the rear bench best for two. Earning back brownie points is the generous legroom at the rear and a nicely angled backrest.
The Verna’s 465-litre, well-finished boot is generously trimmed and offers more than adequate space for large suitcases. The trouble is the loading lip which has a narrow aperture and is quite high.
Take one look at the equipment list on offer on the 1.6-litre Vernas and you could mistake it for a car in a higher class. You get keyless entry, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, an iPod-ready music system and steering-mounted audio controls. And we’re talking base models here. The higher SX trim level comes with even more goodies like electrically foldable external rearview mirrors, an automatically dimming internal rearview mirror, a reverse camera, cooled glovebox and alloy wheels. The top-of-the line SX (O) variant gets ABS with EBD and leather upholstery in addition to the above. Phew. The automatic variant (on offer with either 1.6 engines) will only be sold in top spec, making it the most expensive car in the range.