The early 2000s were some of the most significant years for the petrolhead because there were a variety of mid-size sedans available in the market, and they came powered by gutsy petrol motors. The Ford Ikon came with a 1.6-litre ROCAM engine, Maruti’s 1.6-litre G-Series petrol engine and Hyundai’s 1.6-litre DOHC motor that did duty in the Accent. Each of these cars had talents of their own, and the Honda City V-TEC lured buyers with its looks and performance. But the increase in fuel prices resulted in these petrol machines disappearing over the years. Honda’s V-TEC engine lost its charm over time and Hyundai shifted its focus more on diesels, since that’s what most buyers were starting to consider.
However, the 1.5-litre petrol petrol engine is back in the new City as an iVTEC motor of course. The engine performs brilliantly loves being taken to the limit. And if you’re one who loves being in the driver’s seat, then the drive experience is a joy. And after the advent of the BS6 emission regulations, manufacturers like Volkswagen and Skoda have introduced small, yet potent turbo petrol engines in this segment, While Hyundai cars has decided to have in on the action as well.
The new Verna comes with a turbo petrol engine and a dual-clutch automatic transmission. It gets some interesting, sporty elements on the outside that include a red turbo badge, twin exhausts and a gloss black grille. The 998cc, 3-cylinder direct-injection engine produces 118bhp and 171Nm of torque, paired to a 7-speed DCT gearbox. The engine is silent and refined and acceleration is nice and linear, and the gears shift effortlessly and are pretty responsive. And we love the light steering too. The mid-range is strong but isn’t very free-revving. The motor delivers a good surge of power. However, it picks up pace rather gradually and there is some turbo lag initially.
We’re driving the petrol automatic version of the City. The car accelerates quickly and is very responsive in the lower rpms, like a typical naturally aspirated engine, but the mid-range isn’t all that great. But the engine is responsive after 4500rpm, and the motor pulls with eagerness. The gearbox upshifts quickly thanks to its CVT gearbox. It is also very responsive but the CVT’s rubber band effect is prominent. The Verna’s gearbox is better suited for regular use. But car buffs will love the responsive engine in the City.
The inside and ride story
Space at the rear in the Verna is a squeeze, but the all-black cabin looks sporty and the rear seat offers good support. Legroom isn’t all that bad, but tall passengers will have their knees graze the back of the front seats. The City is the more spacious of the two and its dual-tone cabin is much nicer to be in. There’s a lot of room for occupants at the front and rear, with ample legroom available. And the wider doors allow for better ingress and egress.
On the road, the Verna and City, both, ride well. The Verna has the stiffer setup and the City’s springs are better damped. However, there is body roll evident in both cars. But the City’s steering feels nicely weighted than the Verna’s light steering, which works well in the city.
Summing it up
In terms of styling, the Honda cars is less in-your-face. There’s also more stowage in the City, but the fit and finish of materials feels better in the Verna. Both cars come loaded with equipment like ventilated front seats and a blind spot camera and both cars come with connected car tech. It’s difficult to choose between the two, but the City is the better buy, by and large. Its performance, space and comfort are its strengths.