Car Specification

29 March 2014

Review: Hyundai Xcent

Compact in size but spacious inside. Plus, the boot doesn't look all that bad either. All questions about Hyundai's new compact sedan answered...

Devesh Shobha
Car image

The all-new Xcent is Hyundai's take on the sedan-spun-out-of-hatchback segment that's hotly contested by the Maruti Swift DZire and the Honda Amaze. Not only does it match its heavyweight rivals in a few areas, but also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. So we've tried to answer some of the most commonly-asked questions that you would want the answers for as far as the new Hyundai Xcent goes.

How different is it from the Grand i10 in terms of looks?

Since the Xcent is a booted version of the Grand i10, the sedan looks quite identical to the hatchback when viewed from the front. Additional chrome bits on the wide diamond grille is the only differentiator here. Its only after the B-pillar that the styling changes come into the equation with a well-designed boot section integrating seamlessly with the C-pillar. This Hyundai may not be the most stylish sedan out there, but with the new boot design complimenting the Grand's stubby nose quite well, the Xcent comes across as the most well-balanced of all compact sedans.

What's the story on the inside?

Again, the cabin is identical to that of the Grand, and that is a good thing. It means the interiors are made out of quality materials, seat comfort is excellent, rear legroom is impressive and it comes with a bucketful of creature comforts. In fact, the Xcent is the first in its segment to get keyless entry, push-button start, rear AC vents and a boot that measures 407 litres in total, which makes it the biggest amongst its rivals.

That's good, but what about the engine options?

There are two engines available on the Xcent that are already powering the hatchback. The peppy 1.2-litre Kappa petrol and the newly-developed three-cylinder, 1.1-litre diesel motor. And while both engines are teamed with a five-speed manual gearbox, the petrol also gets an option of a four-speed automatic transmission.

What about the engine performance?

Yes, the performance. Now, if you are looking at something more lively and fun to drive, then you would definitely want to go with the petrol. The Kappa2 motor is refined, packs in 82 horses under its hood and comes with a butter-smooth five-speed gearbox that's a breeze to use, even in city traffic. And if you aren't a big fan of changing gears manually, then you could also opt for the four-speed auto 'box. The 82bhp, 114Nm, 1.2-litre petrol motor just loves to be revved hard and will delight you with its linear power delivery.

The 3cyl, 71bhp, 180Nm, 1.1-litre turbo-diesel is the least powerful one as far its competition goes, and it shows out on the road. Part throttle response is good, but a major chunk of power is available only between 2,000-3,500rpm. So just when you want to overtake that annoying fast-paced vehicle, the lack in outright power is evident. You'll need to downshift a gear or two to extract max juice from the motor and that could be a bit annoying on the highway. But then its a three-pot motor, so you can't expect DZire-style performance.

For the record, Hyundai claims the petrol Xcent will run 24.4 kilometres per litre of diesel, while the petrol will return 19.1kpl for the manual and 18.7kpl for the auto.

How's the ride on the new Xcent?
Excellent. The Xcent's ride quality is one of the best in its segment. Tuned to be on the softer side of things, it soaks up bumps quite easily, and doesn't let your spine know what's happening on the road. But then, there is a downside to this. The handling sadly doesn't match the brilliant ride quality. There is a fair bit of body roll going around corners, and understeer is quite evident in this compact sedan. And even though the steering feels well-weighted, it doesn't offer a great amount of feedback.

What about the feature list?

Being a Hyundai, you could be rest assured the Xcent triumphs any compact sedan on Earth today with its long list of goodies. Reverse parking sensors and camera, climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, steering-mounted controls, audio system with bluetooth, optional ABS and dual airbags for higher variants, rear AC vents, chilled glovebox, rear centre armrest, and the list goes on.

How good is the pricing?
The Hyundai Xcent is available in three variants, Base, S and SX, with additional Option (O) trims for the top-end SX variants. While the base petrol starts at Rs 4.66 lakh, the top-end variant retails at Rs 6.47 lakh for the manual variants. The petrol auto is priced at Rs 6.3 lakh and Rs 7.2 lakh, while the diesel range is between Rs 5.56 lakh to Rs 7.38 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi). These are very competitive prices, and with the kind of features available for the asking price, the Xcent can surely give its rivals a run for their money.

The numbers
Petrol: 4cyl, 1.2-litre, 82bhp, 114Nm, 5M/4A, 19.1kpl/18.7kpl
Diesel: 3cyl, 1.1-litre, 71bhp, 180Nm, 5M, 24.4kpl

The verdict
Good looks, quality fit and finish, an excellent ride, interior comfort and with a decent engine line-up, the new Hyundai Xcent is worth your money. Plus, its going to be hard for its rivals to match the Xcent's value-for-money proposition.

Tags: hyundai, grand i10 sedan, xcent



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