Hyundai's Xcent gets a much-needed makeover with a peppier engine, plush ride quality and technological additions
After launching the 2017 version of the Grand i10, Hyundai has now updated their entry-level sedan, the Xcent. However, it doesn't just get a facelift; the changes are more than what meets the eye.
The front end of the Xcent now gets substantial updates with a new face that features a funky chrome grille that dominates the fascia. Then there are the LED DRL (daytime running lights) that add to the stylish layout. At the rear, new tail-lamps, bumper and a shark-fin antenna add class to the little sedan.
Inside, things are pretty much the same as before. The black-beige theme continues to give the cabin a rich feel, with high-quality plastics and fabric adding to the overall chic character of the interior. Equipment remains pretty much the same with automatic air-con, steering-mounted controls, adjustable steering and a cooled glove box staying as they were. The upper centre console now features a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The screen also doubles up as the display for the parking camera.
The 7-inch touchscreen is quite intuitive
Space-wise, the Xcent is again similar to its predecessor. This means there is ample space for four adults, and more than enough boot volume for a weekend's worth of luggage. Head- and knee-room are good enough for average Indian adults.
As for the engine, the Xcent now features a faster beating heart. Gone is the old 1.1-litre CRDi engine, making way for the new 1.2-litre U II CRDi motor that made its debut on the Grand i10. The new 1,186-cc turbocharged diesel motor is good enough for 75 PS and 190 Nm, which is more than adequate for a lightweight sedan. The turbo-lag has been kept to the minimum, giving the car better driveability. Refinement has improved as compared to the earlier car because there is hardly any engine chatter making its way into the cabin. However, at high rpm, there is some engine chatter that becomes audible. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which has well-spaced gear ratios and the shifts are smooth with short throws.
The Xcent is powered by a 1.2-litre turbo-diesel engine that produces 75 PS and 190 Nm of torque
The additional four PS and 10 Nm might not sound like a lot, but they do make a difference when it comes to performance. In our test, the Xcent was four seconds quicker from 0-100 km/h and it attained almost two km/h faster top speed as compared to the earlier model. In terms of fuel efficiency, the new engine outperformed the older one by posting an overall figure of 17.25 km/l.
The new engine has not affected the handling or ride quality at all. The earlier Xcent was among the best in the segment so far as ride quality was concerned and the new one carries forwards the legacy. The suspension setup is pretty well sorted, giving the car excellent bump absorption. The car feels planted in the corners with minimal hints of body-roll and understeer. However, the steering, though well-weighted, feels vague at times. The brakes have ample bite with just the right amount of feel.
A new headlamp unit with a refreshed fog lamp design that incorporates DRLs ensures that the Xcent stands out. Pics/Sanjay Raikar
Although the new Xcent has not evolved much in terms of aesthetics, the new 1.2-litre CRDi diesel motor does make a big difference. Its smooth and refined character makes driving a joyful experience. Besides, you get good-quality interior, contemporary exterior, top-notch equipment, superb ride quality and brilliant fuel efficiency. At Rs 8.69 lakh (ex-Pune) for the top-end variant, it seems a bit pricey. But again, if you don't want to compromise on anything, the new Xcent seems like a fair deal.