Unlike the premium luxury brands, which offer diesel cars with automatic transmission, the C-segment of vehicle i.e. the sedans are often left behind. There are a lot of petrol automatics, but if you want to enjoy the diesel frugality along with the ease of driving offered by an automatic gearbox, there aren't a lot of options. The Hyundai Verna, being the only car in the segment to offer a diesel engine mated to an automatic gearbox, has ruled the segment. But with the introduction of the Volkswagen Vento diesel automatic, the market has an alternative now. And a worthy one, at that.
Let's have a look at the technical specs and features of the two to determine which of the two makes more sense: the long standing player or the new entrant?
On the outside, the Hyundai Verna flaunts its 'Fluidic' design, offering a lot of character lines on the body, while the silhouette has a coupe-esque sloping roof, and all that makes the design very likable indeed.
In comparison, the Volkswagen Vento continues with its simple yet elegant design. This one's more about straight lines but again a very impacting thing to look at. While it's arguably easier to spot a Verna among, the Vento's overall design is not the one that'll start to appear boring/out of fashion. In fact, it's almost evergreen, if a little bland in comparison to the Verna.
Much like the outside, the interiors of the two cars are similarly different. How? Well, the Hyundai Verna comes with a 'flowing' dashboard design: the centre console is wide at the top but tapers down towards the bottom. It is very premium, and as cliched it might sound, but this does feel from a segment above.
On the other hand, the Volkswagen Vento has the similar layout as the previous model, with a flatter-looking centre console. It looks more conventional, but the build is second to none, and the controls are slightly turned towards the driver for easy access. And not to mention, that steering wheel is beautiful!
The Vento uses a 1.5-litre diesel engine that makes 105PS of power and 250Nm of torque. The automatic version uses a 7-speed dual clutch 'DSG' gearbox. It comes in two driving modes: D and S. And much like the DSG gearboxes available in the rest of the VW/Skoda/Audi line-up, this too is quite a performer.
The Hyundai Verna offers automatic only on the 1.6-litre diesel unit. The engine makes makes a little more power and torque than the Vento: 128PS and 260Nm. That's a slight advantage, but the gearbox, a 4-speed automatic unit, is not. Like the Vento, this too comes with a sport mode on the gearbox, which lets the gearbox hold to higher revs before changing up.
In terms of fuel economy, the Vento DSG can do up to 21.2kmpl while the Verna is claimed to do a little higher 21.9kmpl.
Hyundai doesn't offer the automatic gearbox in any of its base versions. It's reserved for the the two top variants: SX and SX Opt. Volkswagen has decided to do the same with the base Trendline missing out on the diesel automatic.
While both cars are loaded with features, the top version of the Hyundai here gets more airbags, but the VW offers things like stability control and hill-hold. The former keeps the car stable, and the latter makes sure the car doesn't go backwards under its own weight on inclines.
The prices for the Verna diesel automatic start at Rs 11.28 lakh for the SX and Rs. 12.27 lakh for the SX(O) variant, while the Vento is available at Rs 10.49 lakh for the Comfortline and Rs 10.94 lakh for the Highline version. All prices are ex-showroom, Mumbai. And at that price point, the Volkswagen Vento clearly has the price advantage.