2022 Hyundai Verna ownership experience, after 12 years with an Innova
At first impressions, the car looked great and felt great. The engine was tractable, extremely refined and quiet.
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This is the story of a car that I casually went to test drive on a boring Sunday afternoon and ended up falling in love with. I still cannot believe I ended up buying the Verna.
Meet SENA: My Fiery Red 2022 Hyundai Verna SX Petrol MT
- The extremely refined and quiet 1497cc MPI engine with 113 horses on tap.
- The super slick and sure slotting 6-speed manual transmission that will spoil your experience with other manuals that are not there yet.
- The freezing Aircon that does its job quietly in Auto mode.
- The beautiful silhouette coupled with those gorgeous headlamps and tail lamps can make you lose track of time while staring at them, especially at night.
- The suspension is superbly tuned and keeps you cocooned away from the bumps and ruts that are found nowadays on Chennai roads.
- The steering that makes you realise how far Hyundai has come from its lifeless steering days.
- The overall VFM nature of the SX variant feels unparalleled in a sea of overpriced cars these days.
- The centre facia that is tilted towards the driver is a neat touch over the symmetrical dashboard found in the earlier variants.
- While the earlier 1.6 mills were known for their drinking habits the BS6 1.5 mill is extremely fuel efficient. This took me by surprise.
- The engine bay is very well organised and packed neatly. There are no gaping holes that give a view of the road below the car. The rubber seal between the hood and the bumper help keep the engine bay neat and clean.
- While the paint quality is good, the finish could have been much better. Quite a bit of orange peel and also the cost-cutting is very obvious when you open the hood and see unpainted sections (read primer).
- The ground clearance while adequate is still low by Indian standards and is something you need to remember while driving the car around.
- The throw from the projector fog lamps and headlamps is average at best.
- The headroom for the rear seat passengers is next to nil for anyone over 5’8″ owning to the coupe-like rear design.
- The wireless Android auto in the stock system is wonky and tends to disconnect at least once every hour when connected wirelessly.
- The OE dual horn, while sounding premium, is extremely loud and every time I honk there is at least one person on the road that stares back at me.
- The spare wheel is a 15″ tyre mounted on a steel rim.
- The lack of Auto-folding ORVMS during lock/unlock, despite the mirrors having an electric fold button is a pain. Gotten used to this on my EcoSport.
Why buy a new car?
We had a 2009 Toyota Innova GX(BS3) that was doing our family duties. Our Innova was my dad’s ride to the office and subsequently became my car too (ad-hoc basis) once I got my driver’s license in 2012. We clocked 1,47,737 km in the past 12 years and 7 months before handing her over in exchange for the Hyundai Verna on 13 July 2022. The Innova holds a very special place in our hearts, it was just always there ready to tackle anything we decided to put her through. We also did an epic Family road trip to Bhutan in Dec 2016 (Link) (Road-Trip: Chennai to Bhutan!).
So why sell the Innova?
Well, 2020 changed a lot of things for the entire world and that included the Innova being parked for a long time without use. Post the pandemic my dad’s usage of the Innova had also reduced drastically with the car doing hardly 300-500kms a month. This in my books is extremely low usage for a workhorse like the Innova and it just pained me to see her standing in the driveway. Adding to this was the unpredictable future for older diesel vehicles.
Also, it did not help matters when I got myself my first ever new car in March 2021, which is a Ford EcoSport Diesel Titanium.
One fine day last year I drove the Innova after a long time and that is when it hit me how much cars these days have improved with respect to the ease of driving. I had driven my EcoSport for a fair bit (7-8k km) by then and that me realise how heavy the steering and clutch were in the Innova. Moreover, it made me realise my dad did not need to exert this much to drive the car at his age. This coupled with the ever-changing emission rules sparked the thought to replace the Innova. There was no guarantee on what the rule would be in 2024 when the Innova would be up for an RC extension. We thought it would be better to sell the Innova when we could rather than be forced to scrap or sell the Innova for a low price in the future.
After a few months of back and forth between my parents and me, trying to convince them that all they needed at most was a Petrol Compact SUV. This coupled with the fact that we may not be able to renew the RC for the Innova in 2024 if we have NCR-like rules implemented made them realise that I had a valid point.
The car hunt begins…
So we came to the conclusion that we will replace the Innova with a Petrol manual car that had to have a good Aircon unit, easy ingress/egress (since we’re used to the walk-in/walk-out nature of the Innova) and ride quality within a budget of 12 lakhs on road (extendable by a lakh if we really liked the car).
Now I am not going to bore you with a detailed pros and cons list for each car we considered, rather will mention briefly what we liked and why we rejected the car.
How did the Verna come into the picture?
Well after test-driving all the above cars my dad was pretty disappointed that none of them felt special. While my dad was focussing on the cars we shortlisted, I had also been browsing the Honda City V Petrol silently. It looked like a great package and my mind chose this opportunity to make me wonder why I bought a Compact SUV (my 2021 EcoSport) instead of a sedan in my 20s.
Also till that moment, my dad had driven my EcoSport only briefly on the day I took delivery. So I decided to see if he likes the EcoSport and asked him to use it for the next couple of days. After 2 days my dad told me that this was the perfect car. It had a strong AC, easy ingress/egress and felt the clutch, gearbox and steering were way easier to operate in comparison to the Innova.
This is where I casually mentioned that he can keep the EcoSport if he wanted to, while I go get myself a new car. An offer was also made to sell the Innova and buy a Petrol EcoSport for my dad. That would make it two EcoSports in the house. He was against getting the same car again.
So off I went in search of my sedan, I had only the Honda City V Petrol on my mind. Decided to skip the diesel(the fuel I prefer) this time due to the DPF issues I had with my EcoSport when I started to use the car inside the city, owing to my office reopening.
Hyundai Verna was never on the radar, the reason being I had driven a lot of the older Hyundai cars and they just did not have the fun to drive feel. The lifeless steering and neutral handling were a turnoff. However, just browsed the Verna and the SX variant Petrol looked VFM on paper. Decided to test drive the car and see if it feels special.
On July 3, 2022, I headed to V3 Hyundai and took a test drive of the Verna. At first impressions, the car looked great and felt great. The engine was tractable, extremely refined and quiet. The gearbox was an absolute peach. I walked away feeling pleasantly surprised by what I had just experienced. Even then my mind was set on the Honda City. The test drive Verna I drove had 10k km on the Odo and was well maintained.
A couple of days later, when I visited Citroen to see the C3. I decided to drop into the Honda showroom nearby to get a feel of the City. The test drive car was a brand new example with 1500 km on the Odo. However the car was reeking of a foul smell (read sweat), my friend and I jumped out of the car as we were unable to bear it. Left the door and windows open for a few minutes before continuing with the drive. The City felt very neutral, the engine was rev happy and sounded nice. But the gearbox lacked feel and the ridiculous placement of the reverse gear just felt bad. This is a car that is perfectly suited for people that like to be chauffeured around. I can’t believe I am saying this and neither will you (the reader) be able to accept, but the Verna was way more engaging and felt special to drive. The steering felt more direct and had better feedback in the Verna and the car felt tighter around corners. As soon as I got out of the City I made up my mind, “The Verna it is”.
12 years with an Innova!
13 December 2009 was the day we brought home our Innova. Ours was a GX variant in dark red mica metallic with the 8-seater configuration. My dad bought the Innova to replace his 2002 Hyundai Accent GVS as we needed the space and 8 seats. The Innova was worlds apart in comparison to the Accent and we were blown away by the durability and performance.
That 2.5-litre D4d engine is a workhorse and I am yet to come across an engine that feels as tractable to drive. The gearbox despite the long throw always felt positive to use, but would also sometimes whack you in the knee if you were being too enthusiastic.
The Toyota service over the past 12 years and 7 months were consistent. The service centre staff were always polite, did not overcharge and also if they did would remove the unwanted work in a jiffy. The car was maintained at Lanson Toyota for the past 10 years, always happy with their service.
Now let’s talk durability:
- My Innova still had the original front brake rotors, and original clutch at the time of sale.
- The front brake pads were changed only once at 62k km. The rear brake shoes were still in stock at the time of sale.
- Through the years the headlight and tail light bulbs were replaced a couple of times.
- The Aircon was untouched and still worked well.
- The alternator bearing was replaced once in 2016, this was owing to rust because of driving the car through 1.5 ft of water during the 2015 floods.
- The battery was replaced 4 times (used to be dead exactly every three years, used Amaron black)
- Tyres were replaced twice. Once at 52k km with Continental CPC2s and the second time with Nexen’s at 108k km.
- Every panel still had original paint, although the car definitely needed some TLC after 12.5 years.
- Starter motor was serviced once at Toyota 1.5 years ago. Used to start in half a crank post the service.
- Every knob and button in the car worked perfectly even after 12.5 years.
We as a family have a lot of wonderful memories associated with our Innova. It has been subjected to all sorts of terrain and weather. An extremely thoughtful and well-made car made by some of the best minds at Toyota.
On 13 July 2022, we handed over the keys to our beloved steed to the guys from Hyundai HPromise after signing off on all the forms. It was very difficult to see her being driven away. The Innova was also sold off within the next week, which we realised as my dad got an SMS from Lanson Toyota with the estimate for the 150k km service. Looks to be sold to a family that will be taking good care of the Innova, this is my assumption based on the huge service estimate and final invoice(including a bit of preventive maintenance) we saw on the Tconnect app.
Some of my favourite pictures:
Booking and Delivery experience
After the first test drive, I called 3 different dealers. Long story short I liked the way the sales advisor dealt with me at V3 Hyundai and decided to book the car there.
On 9th July, my dad and I went to V3 and took a long test drive. My dad too liked my choice and I decided to go ahead with the booking. But which variant?
My dad asked me to book the S+ but I wanted the SX. Now the price difference between the S+ and SX was a little over 2.2 lakhs on road (1.47 lakhs ex-showroom price difference). A major reason for this was the S+ was a shade under 10 lakhs ex-showroom and fell under a lower slab for the road tax and also did not have the 1% TCS.
We made a list of all the feature differences between the S+ and SX. More than half of them were available as accessories and amounted to roughly about 1.4 lakhs more. But I was very clear that it would be a better choice to opt for the SX and have everything factory-fit. I hate messing with a factory fit and finish.
The features we got over and above the S+ were:
- Projector headlamps with DRLs, cornering lamps, LED strip in the tail light, Auto Headlamps and Projector fog lamps.
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System & 16″ alloy wheels.
- Cruise Control, Automatic Climate Control and Smart Trunk.
- Keyless entry and Push button Start/Stop with smart keys.
- Electrochromic IRVM and electrically foldable ORVMs.
- Cooled glovebox, wireless charging pad and rear defogger.
- The cooler-looking digital instrument cluster.
- Driver seat height adjustment, insulation for the boot lid(S+ had all the wires visible)
- 4 speakers and 2 tweeters along with a 9″ music system that supports wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Also has a rearview camera.
- Tasteful chrome touches on the sides of the car. I HATE chrome but at least on my Red Verna, it looks good. Still hate the chrome grill a bit even though it is dark chrome.
- A gear lever that felt more premium and silver door handles on the inside.
- Rear windshield defogger and a pull-out curtain for the rear windshield.
Out of the above, the major features that swayed my decision for the SX were the rear defogger (must have as there is no rear wiper), Driver seat height adjustment, better sounding factory fit music system and the climate control. My EcoSport had also gotten me used to keyless entry, projector lamps and DRL (looks cool no other function at least in India) so these were added brownie points.
After a 30-minute brainstorming session, I booked the SX variant in Fiery Red (pre-decided at home) by paying a booking amount of Rs.5000. The waiting period quoted was 45-60 days. So tentatively I would be getting the car in mid-September. The final on-road price was 13.55 lakhs. (Split up (The “I Booked my Car” Thread))
We managed to get our car allotted in 2 weeks. My car was manufactured and assembled in July 2022 and was dispatched to the dealer on 03rd August. FYI Verna’s are mostly made to order for the domestic market apparently and when I dug around a bit I found a few people talking about waiting for 4-5 months since booking. It was super quick for me to get the car in 34 days.
I had made it clear to my sales advisor that I would sign the RTO forms only after physically seeing the car once it arrived at their stockyard. On 01st October I was told that the car has been allotted. On 2nd October I completed all the loan formalities and also had the loan disbursed with a little bit of the final amount pending from my side that I paid after checking the car. On 04th October the car arrived at the dealer stockyard and I went in the afternoon there I saw Sena for the first time, parked under the shade of mango trees the red shade looked brilliant. I was very excited and just checked the car for a bit and gave the green signal.
First look at the stockyard!
I chose to get seat covers, non-illuminated scuff plates and footwell lighting fitted at the dealer. No discounts were offered and I paid a total of 18000 for the accessories.
I had to wait for 9 more days for the dealer to complete the simple job of invoicing, registration, buying an insurance policy and affixing a Fastag. Anyway, I let this not spoil my mood and took delivery on 13th August. The delivery was a little special to me as my close friend also took delivery of his Venue at the same time(he booked the car at the same showroom because of me). The car was neat, all accessories fitted, the demo was given, they did a puja, number plates were fixed and got a box of chocolates. But the delivery was delayed by 45 minutes due to a lot of new cars being delivered. Also saw a new Venue delivered sporting the Live to Drive sticker.
Continue reading BHPian Shanksta’s ownership review for more insights and information.
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