Hyundai is set to launch the new Verna in India on August 22, 2017. The Verna was once the bestseller in the C-segment, but its reign at the top was short-lived. The current-gen Honda City, launched back in 2014, rose to fame to gain the top spot and remained untouched till Maruti Suzuki played the SHVS card with the Ciaz. The rollout of GST (Goods and Service Tax) has taken away the hybrid advantage from the Ciaz, which now has to rely on its fuel efficiency and a roomy interior to attract buyers. But the Ciaz is still the most affordable sedan of the lot. The City received a makeover recently and gained more features, but its sticker price, too, has gone up.
There are two other players in this segment, the German siblings - the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid. Both these cars get a dual-clutch automatic transmission paired to a 1.5-litre diesel engine. On the other hand, the City and the Ciaz don’t get a diesel-automatic option, forget dual-clutch technology. We already know that the Verna will get an automatic gearbox with both engine options, so it’ll have the Germans cornered. But to put up a fight against the Japanese (which includes the Indo-Japanese manufacturer), pricing will be key. Let’s try to get into Hyundai’s shoes to make sense of the challenge it is up against.
The entry-level price
For the base variant of the 2017 Verna, let’s see where the new sedan stands against the base variants of its competition, and also against the model it replaces.
New Verna vs Old Verna
The new-gen Verna is based on a new platform, and it is wider and longer than the outgoing Verna. The height remains the same, but the wheelbase has been increased. Additionally, it (the new Verna) doesn’t get the 1.4-litre petrol and diesel engines which were available in the older version. The 1.6-litre engines have been carried over with the same maximum power figures, albeit different torque output.
The old Verna’s base variant (known as Base) was available with the 1.4-litre engines only. It was priced at Rs 7.84 lakh for the petrol version and Rs 9.07 lakh for the diesel (both prices ex-showroom). The variant above the Base, the S, was equipped with the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines, and prices for this variant with the petrol and diesel engine were Rs 8.81 lakh and Rs 9.98 lakh (both ex-showroom), respectively.
New Verna features vs Old Verna and competition
Compared with the old Verna (1.6 S variant), the 2017 Verna’s base E variant doesn’t get projector headlamps, audio system, rear parking sensors with camera, alloy wheels and climate control. If we were to put a price on the new Verna based on its previous model, a sticker price of around Rs 8.10 to Rs 8.25 lakh for the base petrol variant would be competitive.
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is the most affordable car among the sedans listed here, but that doesn’t mean that it is not feature-loaded. In fact, compare it with the new Verna, and the Ciaz’s base variant only falls short on tripmeter controls on the steering wheel and cooled glovebox. The Ciaz Sigma, on the other hand, gets features like projector headlamps, rear AC vents and an audio system that the 2017 Verna’s base variant doesn’t.
If there’s any car in this comparo to beat in terms of price, it’s the Ciaz. But the Verna has a bigger petrol and diesel engine, and the power ratings are in a different league altogether when compared to the Ciaz’s modest 1.3-litre diesel and 1.4-litre petrol engines that fall this side of the 100PS mark. Hence, Hyundai can afford to charge a premium over the Ciaz and still justify it. For the petrol version, if Hyundai goes really aggressive, the new Verna’s entry-level price might settle around Rs 8 lakh, which will be a whole Rs 82,000 less than the outgoing Verna’s (1.6 petrol) S variant. Compared to the Ciaz Sigma petrol variant, it will cost Rs 34,000 more, but that differential won’t hurt anyone considering you have a more powerful engine under your bonnet.
On the other hand, if Hyundai just wants to be competitive in the segment, they can price the Verna at around Rs 8.25 lakh as well, which will still make it Rs 21,000 cheaper than City’s base variant.
In the diesel space, Hyundai has more breathing space thanks to GST rollout, which has placed the Ciaz hybrid in the same tax slab as its competitors. Additionally, Honda doesn’t offer the diesel City in the S variant at all, so that makes things easier for the Hyundai. But both the Vento and Rapid’s diesel variants are quite competitively priced, and both come with 110PS diesel engines. So, if Hyundai plans to go aggressive with Verna’s prices, and cuts out around Rs 81,000 from the previous Verna’s price (as is the case with petrol Verna), the Verna will become the most affordable diesel sedan in the C-segment by a margin of Rs 24,000 (compared to Ciaz Sigma diesel). If, however, Hyundai plans to play safe, they can price the diesel base variant at Rs 9.49 lakh, which will put the 2017 Verna in the same range as the Ciaz, Vento and Rapid with a margin of a few thousand rupees.
Let’s see how the 2017 Verna and its competition is placed on the price chart.
Middle & upper variants
The expected prices of the remaining variants of the 2017 Verna purely on the basis of the additional features they offer over the lesser equipped variants are: