If there is ever a car that defined a segment then the Honda City has been it. The long-standing benchmark in the midsize sedan segment has now got another revitalized rival to contend with. The new Hyundai Verna is a class leader in more ways than one. It’s got the most powerful engines, the best features and arguably the best looks as well. So does it have any major chinks in its armor or is it clearly ahead of the City? We will answer that below.
If looks could kill, we’d be dead already because the new Verna is a looker from all angles. It mimics the styling of its more expensive cousin, the Elantra. The smooth flowing lines all across and the Fluidic design language make it look posher than other segment rivals. It looks beautifully balanced in any color, especially this golden hue we pictured here.
The City has been around for four years now but still, manages to look modern and fresh. It’s got a big chrome grille up ahead, which looks posh. The heavily sculpted bumper is classy too. The rear end is plain Jane in comparison but the City manages to look classy still. It’s not a design you can ignore or be bored of.
Move into the cabin of the Verna and you might feel you’ve stepped inside the Elantra by mistake. The quality and feel of the cabin is certainly a step ahead of the City. What’s also ahead in the features list. You get all the goodies like climate control, cruise control, auto headlamps along with class-leading features like cooled front seats and a cooled glovebox too. Where the Verna falls back though is in the space inside the cabin. The rear seats are okay in isolation but simply can’t match the City for sheer space inside the cabin.
The City’s cabin feels roomier than the Verna’s. The dashboard looks fresh and modern and is intuitive to operate. Features wise, the City runs very close with the Verna but doesn’t have cooled seats. It does get a touch screen panel for the AC but the panel is a fingerprint magnet. What buyers will love about the City are the seats. The front and rear seats have good support all around and the rear bench is brilliant for space as well. Leg and shoulder-room are much better than the Verna. Buyers who prefer to be backseat driven will enjoy the City more.
Engine, performance and gearbox
Both these cars come with a choice of diesel and petrol engine. We suggest you buy the petrol City and the diesel Verna because these engines are refined, fuel efficient and better than the other option.
The City’s diesel motor is nice for fuel economy but simply sounds too gravely when pushed hard. The petrol on the Verna is good on power but doesn’t have that same rev happy nature of the i-VTEC engine on the City.
Enthusiasts will simply enjoy the low end responsiveness of the City’s motor and will also enjoy the rev hungry nature of the engine. It simply goes all the way to 6,500rpm without any fuss delivering staggering performance. The 100bhp engine is simply brilliant. Even though on paper it is down by 20-odd bhp to the Verna, it still feels quick.
Hyundai engineers make the best diesel engines for sheer refinement. Power delivery is good as well and you will simply love to rev this engine.
The gearboxes on both cars are very comparable in terms of usage, which means that both are nice, crisp and easy to use.
Ride and handling
In terms of ride comfort both cars are very identical. Both have good levels of stability on the highway and good assurance at slower city speeds as well. The Verna though has a slightly stiff edge to the ride, which means that some badly patched-up surfaces can be felt inside the cabin. The City has a more comfortable ride.
The steering wheel feedback on the Verna is ahead of the City though. The Verna feels more sporty and agile to punt around town and also seems to offer more feel through the steering. The City is decent, but slightly eclipsed here in comparison.
If you want sheer back seat comfort, nothing comes close to the Honda City. It has acres of leg and headroom and also has the airier cabin. The Verna though is the clear winner for keen drivers and also the better car in its diesel avatar. The Verna also has the edge in terms of overall features. However, you simply can’t go wrong with either one of them.