Test driving the Hyundai Xcent
The Grand i10 hatchback exhibited why Hyundai is so successful in India. The Korean carmaker understands this market extremely well. It’s only natural then to expect big things from the Xcent, the sub four-metre entry level sedan from Hyundai, sitting on the i10’s brilliant architecture. And we’re glad to inform you that the new car is quite a handful.
The Grand i10 hatch and the Xcent were conceived together, and certain design-related details were taken due care of to ensure that the sedan’s boot doesn’t look like a bolt-on job. The Xcent, in that sense manages to look nice and doesn’t have the quirky oddity and features simplistic, uncluttered, functional lines — a much watered down version of the company’s dramatic Fluidic Sculpture design theme. The roofline needs a special mention here, which is quite high and doesn’t drop too dramatically to ensure good head-room for passengers at the backseat. The primary difference between the Grand i10 hatchback and the Xcent is the boot area. A slightly extended spoiler-ish deck for the boot-lid, chrome garnish above the licence plate recess and wraparound tail-lamps with silver embellishments form the car’s conformist design at the rear.
The instrument console is similar to the Grand i10 — simple, easy to read and uncluttered. However, the omission of average fuel efficiency and distance to empty is sorely missed
Interior and features
Just like the Grand i10, the Xcent boasts of extremely well-finished and feature rich interiors. Legroom and headroom, both up front and at the back are at par with the class. Shoulder-room at the back seat is marginally less than the competition though. The silver lining, however, is the generous 407 litre of boot, which makes this car a reliable companion for a short holiday with the entire family.
Back seats are comfortable, with the backrests more angled backwards than on the hatchback version. Central armrest and rear A/C vents add to the comfort
It also features automatic climate control for the A/C. In terms of infotainment, the Xcent features a unique 1 GB in-built memory for your media files. Automatic air-conditioner with rear A/C vents, push button start, parking sensors and a cluster ionizer put the Xcent above its rivals in terms of convenience features too. The 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, power-folding mirrors, steering mounted controls, ABS, dual air bags cooled glove box complete the Xcent’s liberal equipment list.
At 407 litres, the boot space is class leading. The Xcent, even with its humble size, can swallow the entire luggage of a small family for week-long holiday
Under the bonnet, the Hyundai Xcent is powered by the same engines that propel the Grand i10 hatchback, albeit in a slightly different state of tune. Diesel option comes in the form of the 1.1-litre U2 three cylinder CRDi diesel, while the golden fuel is burnt by a 1.2-litre Kappa four cylinder VTVT petrol engine.
The CRDi diesel engine has a max power of 72PS@4000rpm, and peak torque of 18.4kgm@1750- 2500rpm. This engine has an ARAI-certified fuel mileage of 24.4kmpl. The 1.2-litre petrol engine option, on the other hand, has peak power rating of 83PS@6000rpm. This engine has an ARAI-certified fuel mileage of 19.1kmpl and is available with both a 5-speed manual transmission and a 4-speed Automatic gearbox.
While the diesel engine is slightly vibey at idle, it gets more refined as the revs build up. Though more refined than Honda Amaze’s 1.5 i-DTEC engine, the 1.1 diesel on the Xcent is less powerful and less fuel efficient. The engine has a commendable mid-range torque, and the Xcent will run at 120 kph at sub 3000 revs delivering great fuel efficiency on the highway.
The 1.2 petrol, on the other hand, is an extremely refined unit, and delivers good performance too for a small motor. The Xcent, like most modern cars, features an efficiency boosting electric power steering, which makes life easier in tight spaces, but isn’t exactly very communicative.
Even with its lengthy list of features, some of which are segment firsts, the Xcent comes with an aggressive price tag. The top end variant may be slightly expensive compared to the competition, but the interior trim and equipment is superior, too.
Hyundai is increasingly improving at the art of making mid size cars that are high on features, value and keep running forever. The Xcent may not be the punchiest or the most frugal machine in its class, but it’s probably the most well rounded package. Overlooking this one if you’re looking for an entry-level sedan would be absolutely criminal.
Price in lakhs
Variant petrol diesel
Base 4.66 5.56
S 5.32 6.23
S(O) 5.57 6.48
SX 6.22 7.13
SX(O) 6.47 7.38
All prices ex showroom
Bells and whistles
>> Rear A/C Vents
>> 1 GB on-board media memory
>> Rear view camera
>> Power folding mirrors
>> Diamond cut alloys
The most well-designed and premium-looking car in this segment, the Amaze relies on Honda’s unquestioned engineering prowess to prepare the list of its USPs.
It features the most powerful /tractable diesel engine, and the most powerful petrol engine of the bunch. In the diesel avatar it’s also the most frugal. On the flip side, the diesel engine is the most noisy and vibey for the class. Space inside is liberal, though its feature list is not all that hot.
The car that heralded the sub-4 metre sedan category may have been relegated to the margins, but it still is very relevant for the value seekers.
The Tata eCS may not be the best looking, best-refined or most well-appointed car, but it sells for a substantially lesser price than the rest of the three cars, especially the diesel variants. It’s very fuel efficient too, and offers good space inside the cabin. The overall package isn’t as great as the other offerings, but if you want to save some money, this one can be given a thought.
The Dzire is still very relevant for this market owing to its good mix of features, value and brand name. The interior is well made — it’s better than the Amaze, though not as spacious. The interior of the Xcent boasts better quality though.
The 1.3 DDiS diesel engine also packs a punch and makes this car fun to drive. It’s a fabulous everyday car which has proven its reliability and the ability of hold resale value over the years. The once unchallenged compact sedan is increasingly feeling the heat with the advent of new competitors. You still cannot go wrong with this one though.