Midsize buyers have never had it so good. In their bid to outdo each other rivals are offering great features, fuel efficient engines and upmarket interiors on their cars. It’s a well-known fact that the Honda City was the top dog of this segment for years, but the lack of the diesel engine meant that rivals like the Hyundai Verna managed to take away its position. The Verna has been the top dog in this segment for a couple of years now, thanks largely due to its flawless styling and huge list of features. However, Honda wants to reclaim that slot again with the new City, which finally gets a diesel engine. So which one is the king of its class. Let’s figure that out.
In terms of looks the City looks very similar to the last version of the car. Honda seems to have done this on purpose since the last car was such a big hit. But there are some unique touches too. The front end gets a big all chrome grille, which makes the car look upmarket. The rear gets stretched out lamps, which extends all the way into the bootlid, giving it a very premium mini-Civic look. This car looks more expensive than it really is. The increase in length and wider stance give it a purposeful look as well.
The Verna has now got a LED strip running below the headlamps. Though it’s a four year old design it still looks the part and many will buy this car just for the Fluidic styling. The raising waistline is a sharp styling element which really makes the car stand out from the sea of midsize sedans. The rear remains unchanged over all these years.
The Honda City has moved the game up very considerably here. It trounces the Verna for rear seat comfort and space. The extra width inside the cabin means that the car can sit three abreast at the rear with ease. The rear AC vents and two power points for charging your mobiles add to the practicality as well. The front seats are comfortable as well. The dashboard is a mix of beige, black and silver and it looks really nice. The 500-litre boot is well shaped and can take in plenty of luggage. Overall quality is good and a big jump over the last City.
The Hyundai Verna comes a close second in the rear seat comfort. The seat back angle isn’t as good as the City’s and you don’t get the same amount of legroom either. The seats themselves offer good cushioning but the limited width of the car means that sitting three here in comfort for long journeys will be a difficult task. The front seats offer good support and legroom is good too. The dashboard looks nice and everything falls easily to hand. Quality is as good if not better than the City’s. The 460-litre boot is well shaped and can easily accommodate the weekend luggage for the entire family.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
The Hyundai clearly triumphs here. The 1.6-litre CRDi engine is the last word on refinement. It has 125bhp and 260Nm o torque as compared to the City’s 1.5-litre with 98bhp and 200Nm of torque. The Hyundai offers a refined experience and even when you rev it hard it manages to keep the noise away from the occupants. The performance is brisk as the engine build momentum from around 2,000 rpm. The gearbox is accurate and light enough and can be hustled briskly through its gate.
The City on the other end suffers from too much diesel clatter when starting from cold. And even when the engine is up to heat, it still displays a lot of noise. The rev limiter cuts in at 4,000rpm which means that you will have to use the gearbox judiciously. The gearbox is a delight to operate offering a crisp and light throw. Performance is adequate but not brisk.
Ride and handling
The Hyundai Verna has a soft edge to its ride. This simply means that in town at slow speeds no bumps or patch worked roads enter the cabin but as speeds build and you hit the highway the car tends to feel light. It doesn’t feel as surefooted as its rivals as speeds exceed 100kph. The light steering also doesn’t help boost confidence as speeds build.
The Honda City has a good mix of a pliant ride and relatively agile handling. The steering feels better weighed than the Verna’s and it offers a more confidence inspiring ride as the speeds build up. In town, very little seems to effect the City’s comfortable handling.
Safety and equipment
The City comes with ABS and EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) along with dual airbags. There is also cruise control, a segment first on offer along with rear parking sensors and camera along with touch screen controls for the AC(another segment first). The Verna comes with ABS and EBD along with dual airbags as well. But it doesn’t offer cruise control even as an option.
You can’t go wrong with either of these two cars. But in the overall analysis the Honda City comes out on top by a whisker. Though it isn’t perfect, its premium interiors, generous cabin space and features like cruise control and touch panel for AC give it the edge over the Verna
Honda City vs Hyundai Verna Road Test Comparison