Cars/ First-drive/ Hyundai Verna Vs. Skoda Slavia Vs. Honda City | New School Vs. Old School Vs. The School | Comparison Test

Hyundai Verna Vs. Skoda Slavia Vs. Honda City | New School Vs. Old School Vs. The School | Comparison Test

All these three sedans are the best in their segment and have reigned supreme for the longest time, with the balance of power shifting each year amongst them. Let’s see who comes out on top this time.

For

Honda City - VFM
Skoda Slavia - Fun-to-drive, Looks
Hyundai Verna - Performance and Features

Against

Honda City - Old design, Performance
Skoda Slavia - Suspension, Back-seat comfort, Expensive
Hyundai Verna - Interior

Driving

Performance & Handling

Honda City

The Honda City has a rather sombre approach towards performance, and its figures reflect the same. It produces adequate power and focuses more on comfort than downright performance. The gearbox isn’t as slick as I imagined and tends to have a somewhat hollow feel to the gearknob. 

The clutch tends to feel a tad too sensitive, and combined gearshifts can be a bit jerky and can take some mastering and getting used to. The City is the only naturally aspirated vehicle in this comparison and tends to make its power linearly. You really have to rev the engine to get some poke out of it, and fortunately has enough surge to keep things exciting. However, this excitement isn’t nearly as accessible as the other two, which can disappoint any enthusiast. 

The brakes feel surefooted and do an excellent job of bringing the City to a halt. The suspension of the City is on the softer side, and its handling lacks the precision that the City’s of the Old possessed. The Honda City is by no means the performance bargain we remember it to be and has become a lot more mature about its approach to luxury and focuses more on catering to the back seat than it does to the driver’s seat. 

Skoda Slavia

The Skoda Rapid was always known to be a driver’s delight, and the Slavia takes that up a notch, promising better performance and handling. Skoda has over-delivered on that part, and the Slavia performs closer to the Laura than it does to the Rapid. The Slavia is eager off the line from the moment you let go of the clutch, and this eagerness can be a bit scary in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but on an open road, this can be rather enjoyable. 

The Slavia is a relatively easy car to drive, and that ease continues when you decide to kick up the pace. The gearbox is quick and has short and surefooted throws. The clutch can be heavier, but this takes a little getting used to. The Slavia is immensely fun to drive and accelerates with much vigour. 

The brakes have a solid bite and can quickly stop the Slavia on a dime. My only gripe is with the tyres that screech and squeal each time you brake, accelerate or turn too hard. With a good set of tyres, the Slavia would perform even better and be even more fun to drive. The handling on the Slavia is precise, and it’s easily the best handling car out of this bunch. The steering is responsive and has good feedback to keep you engaged. 

Hyundai Verna

The Verna is the newest kid on the block featuring the most power and torque in this comparison. From the moment you floor it, the Verna pulls ahead with more than an adequate amount of poke and will keep things exciting. The in-gear acceleration with the new Verna is quite impressive, and in our testing, it managed to beat the Slavia in a straight line. As impressive as the straight-line performance, its ability to turn leaves something to be desired. 

The Verna also gets a soft suspension to tackle our poor roads. This does hamper the overall ability of the Verna to hold its own and be as agile as the Slavia. The Verna treads the balance between comfort and handling better than the Honda City and is the best in balance. However, when you drive it back to back with the Slavia, you realise that it has the edge over the Verna in terms of composure around a sharp bend. 

The gearbox is quite a bit of fun and the easiest to use of the lot. The gear knob has long throws, but the light clutch and ample power on tap make this combination enjoyable, even in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The brakes on the Verna, too, are impressive and, along with the tyres, do a great job at cutting down all that momentum. 

 

Backseat & Ride Quality

Hyundai Verna

The Verna features the most extended wheelbase in the segment, and despite that coupe-like roofline, it still manages to feel spacious and comfortable enough. There is a decent amount of legroom and knee room on offer, and even under-thigh support seems adequate for shorter passengers. However, I found the recline angle relatively upright, which takes away from a certain amount of comfort. 

Hyundai has provided a sunshade for the rear as standard, whereas the ones for the rear windows can be had as an accessory. The Verna’s ride quality is soft and supple. Gobbling up most potholes and undulations in a composed manner. At times the suspension can feel a bit too soft, but, for the most part, it does a great job treading the balance between ride quality and handling. 

Honda City

Despite having the shortest wheelbase in this test, the Honda City still has enough room to comfortably accommodate someone as tall as me. The seats are by far the most comfortable in this test and do a fantastic job of being supportive and well-cushioned. The legroom on offer is more than sufficient, but the headroom is a bit too tight, and I’d reckon anyone over 6 feet would feel a bit stuffed. 

As lovely as the seats are, the rest of the available materials leave you wanting more. The scratchy plastics feel cheap, and I wish Honda had added some flamboyance to this rather plain-looking back seat. The NVH levels are a letdown, and I often found wind and tyre noise creeping into the cabin, at which point blasting the music was the only way to omit it. The soft suspension can sometimes feel too soft, making the ride feel too bouncy for my taste. 

Skoda Slavia

The backseat of the Slavia, too, feels underwhelming, with little to no flamboyance or flare added to it. The plastic quality is better than the Honda, but it’s loaded with plastic nonetheless. Somehow this feels even more underwhelming than the backseat of the City, and that’s saying something. Skoda should have added some more features in the back, especially since this is the most expensive car in this comparison by a considerable amount. 

The Slavia is also set up soft but much less soft than the other two. So each time you go over sharp bumps, you tend to get a loud “thud” creep into the cabin, which can be jarring. All in all, the backseat of the Slavia won’t wow you; if anything, it’ll make you wish you were in the front seat instead because it’s the place to be with this enthusiast machine. 



TopGear Magazine June 2024