Quick Review: Hyundai Xcent Petrol and Diesel put through their paces!

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Added in: Hyundai

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We are reporting LIVE from Hyderabad, just after having come back from driving the new Hyundai Xcent compact sedan in and around this magnificent city. The new Hyundai Xcent is the latest model from Hyundai Motor India Ltd and marks the entry of the popular carmaker into the rapidly growing world of sub-4 metre sedans. Here is a quick Hyundai Xcent Review that should answer most of your questions about the latest model from India’s second largest selling car maker. For an in-depth analysis, along with high quality images, stay tuned to Motoroids for a comprehensive Hyundai Xcent review.

The name rings a bell in my mind. . . . is this the second gen Accent?

Well, it should! However, the new Xcent, save for coming from the same manufacturer, has absolutely nothing to do with the Accent three box sedan we all know of. Instead, as you must be aware of, the car is based entirely on the Grand i10 hatchback, which in turn is the latest edition of the i10 supermini. The Accent, on the other hand, is being sold in India as the ‘Verna’.

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However, Hyundai naming the new car in a way that it reminds us of the highly successful sedan of the yore doesn’t come across as surprising, for it should enable the car maker to capitalize on the brand image that the old sedan enjoyed in our country.

Hmmm. . .it sure looks like the Grand i10. But is it more appealing than its immediate rivals?

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Well, there is no denying the fact that we’ve never been fans of the way these sub four metre sedans look. However, with the Grand i10 sedan, nay, the Xcent, the designers at the Korean auto major have done a good job with seamlessly integrating a boot with what was essentially a B segment hatchback. True, the car is not as easy on the eye as the donor hatchback, but the design and styling of the Xcent is no eyesore either. Much to our delight, there is no last gen Dzire-like quirkiness here and while the Xcent won’t win any design contests, it sure won’t make us look away with disapproval when we come across one on the road.

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Apart from the boot (and the badges), there is little else to differentiate this car from its hatchback sibling, which means it too boasts of a slightly ‘toned down’ version of the carmaker’s Fludic Design Sculpture. Bits like the swooping headlamps, large front air dam and a creased engine hood with a hint of clamshell design help the Xcent score some brownie points.

To sum it all up, the Xcent, while far from being a beauty contest winner, manages to come across as a fairly stylish compact sedan that would have more takers than haters.

Does the interior space justify the ‘sedan’ credentials?

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Well, there are two ways to look at it. Verna is the sedan for you if squeezing in five really well grown adults on a regular basis and not wanting them to complain is what you’ve been looking forward to. The Xcent, on the other hand, in a manner typical of most compact sedans on sale today, can easily accommodate a family of four and the cutesy Beagle! Five is definitely a squeeze, especially on long journeys. The area where the Xcent really scores over the similarly priced hatchbacks is the boot space. With    litres of boot space on offer, the Xcent’s boot can easily swallow the entire luggage warranted by a short family trip to the nearby hill station! And the various cubby holes on offer make the deal even sweeter!

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Sounds good. . .what about the equipment on offer?

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Glad you asked! This is an area where the Xcent compact sedan excels! The new Hyundai Xcent, much like its hatchback sibling, comes with several first in class features, some of which aren’t even available in cars from a segment higher! Hyundai has always been known to pack its cars with a plethora of features and equipment and with the new Xcent, it has re-defined its own standards! The new Hyundai Xcent comes with several highly appreciated features that, coupled with the mouth-watering price tag, make the car look like unbeatable value for money! Some of the main comfort, convenience and safety features are-

  • Aircon vents for rear
  • Smart key with push button start
  • Sensors and Rear parking camera
  • 15” Diamond cut alloy wheels
  • 1 GB internal memory for the infotainment system
  • Auto folding mirrors
  • Auto aircon
  • Antilock braking system (ABS)
  • Cluster ionizer
  • Cooled Glove box
  • Steering mounted audio controls and Bluetooth
  • Dual Air-bags
  • Rear defogger

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So far, so good. But how is it to drive?

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Powering the new Hyundai Xcent is the same set of engines that power the Grand i10 hatchback, albeit with some re-tuning. This means the car gets a 1.1 litre U2 three cylinder CRDi diesel motor and a 1.2 litre Kappa Dual four cylinder VTVT petrol engine. The CRDi diesel engine has a max power of  72PS@4000rpm, along with a peak torque of 18.4kgm@1750- 2500rpm. This engine has an ARAI-certified fuel mileage of 24.4kmpl and it comes paired with a five speed manual gearbox. The 1.2 litre petrol engine option, on the other hand, has a max power of 83PS@6000rpm and peak torque of 11.6 kgm@4000rpm. This engine boasts of an ARAI-certified fuel mileage of 19.1kmpl and is available with both a 5-speed manual transmission and a 4- speed Automatic gearbox.

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Talking about our driving impressions, the diesel variant comes across as highly likeable and the engineers at Hyundai have done a fantastic job with bestowing the motor with decent mid-range torque and excellent gearing. The NVH levels, however, while not being as high as on. . say. . the Honda Amaze, still aren’t anything to write home about. The cabin isn’t exactly insulated from the diesel clatter and the decibels rise as you near the redline. Also, some vibrations do creep into the gear lever at idle but this, in no way, should be a deal breaker. As we said above, the engine is in its elements in the mid range and boasts of quite a linear torque curve, that is, once you are past 1800 rpm. The engine continues delivering a punchy performance till little north of 3500 rpm. Cruising in fifth gear saw a speed0-indicated 100kmph at less than 2500 rpm. Even at 120 kmph in fifth gear, the tacho shows an engine speed of a little less than 3000 rpm! The top speed we could achieve was a speedo indicated 155 kmph. Decent torque spread, good gearing, light clutch action and slick gearshifts mean that the car is a breeze to drive in various traffic conditions ranging from heavy traffic to highway cruising.

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The 1.2 petrol engine scores heavily on refinement and its performance is at par with most of the Japanese 1.2 litre petrol engines that are available today. This engine, in a very manner typical of the aforementioned Japanese motors, comes across as peppy and very responsive. The meaty sound note makes the deal even sweeter! The gearshifts too, akin to the diesel variant, are precise and slick. On the petrol variant, the top speed we could achieve was a speedo indicated 163 kmph, not too different from that of the diesel variant.

However, it is in the way these engines go about their business that makes them have totally different characteristics. While the diesel engine, much like most turbo’ed oil burners out there, has dull low end, punchy mid end and decent top end, the petrol motor comes across as peppy right from the word go. However, the performance starts fading out rather rapidly as you start nearing the redline.

Amazing. . . what about the ride and handling?

Well, Hyundais have never been known to be outright handlers and the new Xcent is no different. However, the new model is surely one of the ‘better’ handling Hyundai models out there and while it never got us too excited, it did manage to fare better than most other Hyundai models we’ve tested, this side of the Elantra that is.

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The Xcent boasts of an Electronic Power Steering, which  does feel a tad disconnected to the wheels, especially towards the center. Also, while it does weigh up quite well as the speeds rise, it sure is a tad heavy at parking speeds. However, the fact that the steering is not half as lifeless as the those on some other Hyundai models pleases us to no end! While the car does roll about a bit, the body roll is well contained and not once did this car give us a scary moment.

Ride quality seems to be the Xcent’s forte! While we tested this car only on the well paved expressway between Hyderabad Airport and Ramoji Film Centre, dealing with all those mammoth speed-humps and a slightly broken patch of tarmac did give us a hint of the car’s excellent damping abilities.

Hmmm. . . what do you have to say about the pricing?

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Thanks to the sub-4m credentials and high percentage of parts sharing with the Grand i10 hatchback, HMIL has been able to bestow its new baby with a price tag that must have set competition really worried. The new Xcent’s price undercuts that of not just the Honda Amaze but also of the Maruti Swift Dzire, which is the highest selling sedan in the country.

New Hyundai Xcent 2014 India Price list is as follows-

Model

Base

S

S (O)

SX

SX (O)

Petrol

4.66 Lacs

5.32 Lacs

5.57 Lacs

6.22 Lacs

6.47 Lacs

Diesel

5.56 Lacs

6.23 Lacs

6.48 Lacs

7.13 Lacs

7.38 Lacs

Petrol Automatic

6.28 Lacs

7.19 Lacs

 

And just to make things clearer, here is a price list comparison of the Xcent and the Maruti Dzire-

Maruti Swift DzireHyudai Xcent
PetrolLxi- 4.85 LakhsBase- 4.66 Lakhs
Vxi- 5.44 LakhsS-5.32 Lakhs
Zxi- 6.32 LakhsS(0)- 5.57 Lakhs
ZXI At- 6.61 LakhsSX- 6.22 Lakhs
SX(0)- 6.47 Lakhs
AT S (O) – Rs. 6.28 lakhs
AT SX (O) – Rs. 7.19 lakhs
Diesel Ldi- 5.79 LakhsBase – Rs. 5.56 lakhs
Vdi- 6.51 LakhsS – Rs. 6.23 lakhs
Zdi- 7.32 LakhsS (O) – 6.48 Rs. lakhs
SX – Rs. 7.13 lakhs
SX (O) – Rs. 7.38 lakhs

As may be noted, Hyundai Motor India Ltd have come up with a well-thought of price list for the Xcent. While the Dzire ZXI AT is priced at INR 6.61 Lakhs, the AT S(O), the entry level auto variant of the Xcent, is priced more than INR 30k lower. However, there is more to this comparison than just price-differences. While we have to give it to HMIL for those delicious prices, the car maker has been very clever with the way it has divided the equipment and features between the variants. For example, while the ZXi AT comes with ABS and Airbags as standard, the S(O) gets only ABS. For airbags, the buyer of the Xcent has to opt for SX(O), which costs almost INR 50k more than the Dzire AT! However, opting the fully loaded model also brings in many more features such as 15 inch diamond cut alloys, music system with 1 GB internal memory, reverse parking camera, et al.

So what’s your verdict?

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Well, the new Hyundai Xcent is not perfect. To start with, its really not the best looking sedan out there and even though the engines on offer are sufficiently potent, this car is better kept off the drag strip. Handling too isn’t the Xcent’s forte but what does make the Xcent really appealing are those first-in-class features, decent ride quality, frugal motors and a price tag that should have made many hatchback and compact sedan buyers really happy. Add to this the highly competent after sales network of Hyundai Motor India Ltd and you are looking at a package that really can’t be ignored. The next BIG thing in the world of SMALL sedans the Hyundai Xcent could be. Watch out for this space!

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