Plonking an auto ’box in the Verna diesel seemed the obvious thing to do. For one, the Verna’s 1.5-litre 110bhp motor has a surplus of grunt and can well afford to relinquish some of it to a power-sapping torque converter without the fear of turning into a sloth. Automatics are not as fuel efficient as manuals but again with a diesel engine, you won’t go bankrupt. The point here is that automatics are better suited to diesels than petrol motors and it makes you wonder why we don’t have more cars like the Verna diesel in the market. In fact, it’s the smallest and cheapest diesel automatic you can buy, except that at Rs 10 lakh it’s not exactly cheap. So should customers pay the extra Rs 75,000 over a manual for the convenience?
The Verna has a smooth and rounded shape. There isn’t much value in the minor facelift the Verna CRDi comes with. The new grille, chrome inserts in the waist line moulding, and newly designed alloy wheels are mainly cosmetic. Considering the competition like the Linea, Hyundai could have done more to spruce up the Verna’s looks. Under the skin, the Verna remains the same except that the SX version gets disc brakes at all corners as standard.
The short stubby boot makes the car feel smaller than it actually is but the generous glass area hints at the space inside. The pull-type door handles feel good and the doors shut with a nice thud, revealing the good build quality.