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Lightens you by: Rs 19.15 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Lives with: Pablo
Odometer reads: 7883 km
Drinking habits: 14 kpl

Another day, another Hyundai long-termer that’s going back; this is usually an occasion for a bit of regret on my part, given the high levels of quality that the firm has achieved in its cars over the last several years. The high water mark for me was the Creta that was launched at the beginning of the pandemic; it remains my favourite Hyundai passenger car, and it was a flawless companion for the year (and some) that I spent with it — plus it was our SUV of the year for 2021. The Verna is our current car of the year, and although I haven’t had it nearly as long as the Creta, it’s been a standout performer too, losing out to the overall merits of the Creta by a hair’s breadth only because of the lack of a diesel option (that Creta never returned less than 19 kpl). On the plus side — and it’s a massive plus — the Verna has a 5-star crash rating, so in the safety department it has the (older) Creta’s number. It’s also a better equipped car in this particular trim, and the fit and finish on/in it is very pleasing.

There have been some rumblings in the industry (from competing OEMs) about why we chose the Verna as our car of the year, if I’m honest. Without getting into those details, the answer is simple — we found it to be the most thoroughly competent mass-market car launched last year, bar none. It was a brave move by Hyundai, to begin with; the sedan market is a tiny one, after all. More importantly, it did a fantastic job with the Verna — the car looks striking, it has excellent engines, the cabin is premium and the feature-set is great, it’s comfortable and pleasant to drive, practicality is of a high order and it’s well-priced, among other highlights.

It’s far and away the best car in its class, according to me, and it’s been a real pleasure to drive. A couple of friends who wanted SUVs changed their minds after I suggested they try the Verna out, and they immediately made bookings. Fuel economy has been very good too, hovering around the 14-kpl mark overall, and the car hasn’t had a single issue in the time it’s spent with me; I couldn’t have asked for more from it.