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We test to see if the recently launched Hyundai Xcent can give its Jap competition the boot

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After releasing a beaut of a hatchback in the Grand i10, Hyundai has jumped onto the bloated-backside-bandwagon (which kicked-off with the Maruti DZire followed by the Honda Amaze), with their Xcent adaptation. Here, we see if the petrol imbibing Xcent manages to pip the Japanese Amaze at what it does best.

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When it comes to performance, we’ve grown well versed with the persevering ways of the free-revving 1.2 litre Honda engine. The Jap motor was never really known to have good bottom-end grunt, but the 87bhp and 119Nm of torque that’s on tap here is all there to be felt with the Amaze as the tacho needle moves north.

The 1.2litre Kappa engine in the Xcent, with its 81horses and 114Nm appears just as quick on paper, but doesn’t feel as eager to charge forth. Downside here is that the Amaze is limited to an indicated 145kph, while the Xcent knows no limiters, and has no problem breaching the 150kph barrier out on the open highway. Both engines tend to get increasingly audible once past 3,000rpm, but this feels more acceptable in the cabin of the Xcent – being the better insulated of the two.

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The Hyundai’s cabin feels much more wholesome and up market than the Honda’s, while quality of materials in both cars is good. On a hot summer’s day, the rear AC vents in the Xcent help the Hyundai gain some points over the Honda. While the seats of the Amaze feel a bit more accommodating than the Xcent, the Hyundai comes with an advantage of adjustable headrests and better forward visibility for the passengers at the back. In both cars, seating space at the back can accommodate two full-size adults very comfortably. The Xcent gives you the advantage of having more junk in the trunk, with its 407litres of boot space to the Amazes 400litres.

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The current crop of fluidic designed Hyundai’s is known to be packed to the gills with features, and the Koreans haven’t made any exception with the Xcent. In this category, the top-of-the-line Xcent dwarfs the top Amaze with features like keyless entry, auto-folding mirrors, parking sensors with camera display that’s integrated into the rear view mirror, climate control with rear ac vents, a Bluetooth-enabled music system that plays CDs, with Aux and USB support, while the Honda gets just the latter two.

When it comes to creature comforts, it feels like the top-of-the-line Xcent appears to have gotten up nice and early, packed its goody bag well and skipped out the door, ready for a long day at work while the most expensive Amaze variant looks to have gotten up late and run out of the house without even brushing its teeth. What we found a bit awkward is the fact that the top-of-the-line Amaze comes with two airbags and ABS, but these features are paid options on the top Xcent SX. Also, ABS is a paid option on the middle Xcent S trim, while airbags are not even optional on the lower S and base variants.

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