Will the 2023 Hyundai Verna outsell the Honda City?

Both these cars are available in 4 variants and they’re quite evenly matched in terms of pricing.

The name Honda City has been synonymous with sedans in India. It has been the king of the C2 sedan segment since its launch in the late 90s. And to most people, it is the default choice for anyone looking at a sedan. Put simply, the City is to the sedan segment what Innova is to the MPV segment.

The year 2023 was important in this segment as Honda brought in the facelift of the 5th gen City and Hyundai launched the all-new Verna. And while the Honda City has been brought up to speed with modern times, the Verna is more competitive than ever. It’s an all-rounded sedan that arguably has a better spread of engines and transmissions. This includes a powerful 158 BHP turbocharged petrol engine mated to a dual-clutch transmission.

And yes, there has been a lot of debate regarding the styling of the Verna. But if you think of it, Hyundai has intentionally gone for funky styling to stand out in the segment that’s filled with cars with conservative styling. You cannot have a neutral design language and expect to go up against the Honda City!

What are some of the factors in favour of Honda City?

Honda City has been the default choice of customers for 25 years, which is not a joke. The Honda City has a neutral styling that still appeals to many. Moreover, it also has a reputation for long-term reliability (4th gen City aside). Compare the naturally aspirated engines and the City has the more powerful engine here. Honda introduced the ADAS tech on the City and it’s offered in 3 trims on manual as well as automatic transmission variants! Hyundai offers it only on the top-end automatic variant. Even when you consider the rear seat, which is something a lot of sedan owners focus on, Honda City is more spacious than the Verna.

Features List

Honda recently updated the City’s feature list with the facelift in order to match steps with the new Verna. And when you compare the features list of both cars, they’re pretty well matched. Both cars get almost all the features you would expect from a modern car. This includes 6 airbags, auto LED headlamps, ADAS tech, wireless charging, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, connected car tech, ambient lighting, and more. Some features that are exclusive to the Verna include ventilated front seats, front parking sensors, a powered driver seat, and a smart trunk. The Verna also gets a bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment unit as opposed to the 8-inch unit on the City. It’s also more user-friendly and the 8-speaker BOSE sound system in the Verna sounds better too. Even when you compare the boot space of both cars, the Verna has a slightly bigger boot at 528 litres as compared to City’s 506 litres.

The Driving Part

In terms of powertrains on offer, the Verna gets a 113 BHP, naturally aspirated petrol engine while the Honda City gets a 119 BHP naturally aspirated petrol engine. The Verna additionally gets a 158 BHP turbocharged petrol engine as well which is super quick. Not just that, it also runs on fatter 205/55 R16 tyres compared to the City’s skinny 185/55 R16 tyres. So not only does the Verna get a faster engine option, but it also doesn’t have excessive bounciness at high speeds.


Both these cars are available in 4 variants and they’re quite evenly matched in terms of pricing. But if you compare naturally aspirated engine variant-to-variant pricing, it’s clear that the Verna is the more affordable one of the two. It’s important to note that the Honda City offers ADAS features on manual & automatic variants and that too in 3 trims – V, VX and ZX. On the other hand, the Verna gets ADAS features only on the top-end automatic variant. And if you compare the top-end automatic variants of both cars, the Verna is more expensive than the City by ~ Rs. 23,000.

All things considered, it’s safe to say that the 2023 Verna is the most formidable competitor the City has ever had. The real question is, will it outsell Honda City?

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

I think the 2023 Verna is one heck of a car, the best it’s ever been. Very sharp styling, fast motors, loaded with equipment and an improved suspension (no longer are Hyundais “boats”). If I were to pick between the two today, I’d be very confused (my first choice in the segment is the Virtus though ).

That being said, I don’t think the Verna will outsell the City in the longer term. Maybe initially, but not in the long-term. Reasons = the City is the benchmark C2-segment sedan since 1998 and has been the default choice for most families. It’s the power of the brand, and the 5th-gen City lives up to that with its safe, conservative & all-rounded nature, improved quality over the 4th-gen, Hybrid option etc. You simply cannot go wrong with a City & no one ever got fired for choosing one. It’s similar with other dominating models too = Fortuner, Innova, Dzire, Creta, WagonR. Even if a better product comes along, it’s not necessary that it will outsell the king.

I recently spent a lot of time with a 2009 Honda City CVT & was amazed at how well it was running, despite its age & almost 100,000 km. They have longevity – based on anecdotal evidence, I sure see a lot more 3rd-gen Citys on the road than the Vernas of the same time. Heck, in Bombay, I see more 3rd-gen Citys than the 4th-gen!!!

At best, I think the Verna will outsell the City at the start. But a couple of quarters down, the City will get the throne back. Lest we forget, we will be seeing a new 6th-gen City in another 2 years which will generate fresh interest in the model. Honda’s new-gen timeline for the City has been in the 5-6 year range. They’ll lick the market clean if they localise the Hybrid and offer it at a diesel engine-like premium.

Here’s what BHPian Sheel had to say on the matter:


Apart from the product, it also boils down to the the number of ASC’s, sales outlet which should tilt the balance in favor of Hyundai. Someone I know, really wanted the Virtus GT, but just because of the presence of 2 Hyundai dealers here & none of VW (nearest at Patna, some ~300 kms away) dealer or ASC, the Verna becomes the (almost) default choice.

Here’s what BHPian Kosfactor had to say on the matter:

Verna`s sort of resurrection is no doubt fueled by the VAG twins, City is probably not what they intent to kill, Honda will do that on its own to make room for their new crossover.

Verna`s traditional market has been those long distance drivers looking for a punchy yet economical diesel, after having successfully moved those people over to Creta, this new Verna & its ADAS + Turbo DCT can only be a move to counter VAG.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

I no longer see any reason to objectively pick the City over the new Verna. Hyundai’s 1.5 NA engine is more refined than the Honda iIVTEC and when mated with the CVT, performance as well as fuel efficiency are just as good. Have to give Hyundai credit for improvement here. For those looking for performance, there is not even an iota of competition anymore, the new 1.6 turbo petrol absolutely blows the City away. Hyundai has played it smart by offering both manual and DCT automatic option, giving buyers the choice. Both cars have similar space, while Verna is much better equipped and has significantly better ride and handling.

City has only one ace up its sleeve, the hybrid powertrain. Unfortunately, it is so ridiculously overpriced that hardly anyone cares.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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