Hyundai Xcent was firstly launched at the 2014 Auto Expo in the Indian market. The sedan never really was a super performer, nor it was a disappointment as it continued to garner moderate sales of around 3000-4000 units per month. But, from the past few months, the Xcent started losing its charm due to arrival of several up-market sedans. Plus, ageing was also a factor behind the dipping sales. Hence, it propelled Hyundai to come up with a mild facelift of the sedan with updates not just limited to cosmetics but mechanical as well. The new Xcent is introduced in both petrol and diesel fuel trims in five trim levels: E, E+, S, SX and SX (O). In addition, an automatic variant is also introduced in petrol fuel trims, based on the S trim. The petrol engine is retained while the 1.1L diesel engine is replaced with 1.2L unit, sourced from the recently launched Grand i10 facelift. The biggest highlight of the Xcent is undoubtedly the introduction of 7-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Xcent is built on the same 2,425mm wheelbase as the Grand i10 and the two cars are near identical right up to the C-pillar. That means everything, like the peeled-back headlamps, slot-like grille, angular fog lamp inserts and thick side strips are carried over unchanged. Even the glasshouse is the same. It’s only the chrome lining on the Xcent’s hexagonal grille and this top-spec car’s larger 15-inch wheels that are unique to the sedan.The tail section doesn’t look like it was tacked on to the rest of the body as an afterthought, as in the case of the Maruti Swift Dzire. Instead, there’s a nice sense of proportion here, with the roof flowing smoothly into the boot, which has a smartly contoured bumper and an attractive lip. If anything, the boot looks a bit too tame, and the well detailed but tiny tail-lights don’t help give it presence either. On the whole, the Xcent looks neat, with styling that’s a pleasing, if slightly subdued iteration of Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture design language.Under the skin, the Xcent sticks to the norm with its suspension setup – MacPherson struts up frontand a rear torsion bar. However, Hyundai has stiffened the rear suspension compared to the Grand i10 to deal with the additional weight loads sedans are generally subject to. For the record, the petrol and diesel Xcents are each 15kg heavier than their Grand i10 counterparts. In terms of safety equipment, ABS is standard only on the top-spec SX trims, while driver and passenger airbags come only on the S (O) and SX (O) trims.
The interior cabin of 2017 Hyundai Xcent is finished in dual-tone Black and Beige upholstery with Blue illumination. Though, most of the features seen on the pre-facelift model such as adjustable rear headrests, rear seat centre armrest with cup holders, leather wrapped steering wheel, fully automatic temperature control, tachometer, multi-information display with digital clock and tripmeter, electric power steering, front and rear power outlets, rear A/C vents, cooled glovebox, height adjustable driver’s seat and push button start/stop have been retained in the new model. However, the biggest update comes in form of the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Smart phone (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink), Bluetooth, Aux-in, USB connectivity and Voice Recognition feature. Though, it is available on the range-topping variants as the mid variants get just a 2-DIN audio system with four speakers. Sadly, the base variant doesn’t get anything, even the 2-DIN music system misses out. The steering mounted audio and bluetooth controls feature is standard with E+ onward grades. A special mention goes to the Smart phone holder with Charging port, which is only available with the automatic variant.
Moving on to the engine, there is a 1.2-litre Kappa2 engine that produces about 83bhp of power and 115Nm of maximum torque. This is offered with a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic options. At the same time, there is an all new 1.2-litre CRDi diesel engine that churns about 85bhp of power and this comes with a five-speed manual only. This is an all new engine and has an improvement in its power and mileage botThe new Hyundai XCent 2017 comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine. This produces about 82bhp of power and comes with five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission options. This is the same engine like the earlier petrol XCent. There isn’t any change on it. So, we expect the performance to remain the same. This engine is good enough for daily city driving. On the highway it is good enough for cruising comfortably at around 120 km/hThe new 1.2-litre diesel also makes its way into this car. It was earlier launched with the new Grand i10. The best bit about this engine is its refinement. It is extremely quiet and it doesn’t make much noise either. This is one of the most highly refined diesel engines in the country. The power is good enough. There isn’t any kind of turbo lag and the engine has good amount of power and torque delivery too. This comes with a five-speed manual transmission. The gearbox is easy to shift and the clutch is extremely light too. This is what makes this engine such a good bit.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The Hyundai Xcent has a soft suspension setup results in a smooth ride for the passengers. The setup is slightly stiffer compared to the Grand i10 but the ride remains supple most of the times. However, uneven road surfaces tend to unsettle the car easily. On straights, the Xcent remains stable even at speeds well over the ton. The steering is feather light which is a boon in traffic and while parking but it lacks any sort of feel or feedback. It doesn’t even weigh up at high speeds and doesn’t instil confidence. Braking performance is sharp like other Hyundai cars and the grip from the tyres is average.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
Driver side airbag is standard across range, however the co-passenger side airbag is missing in the entry level trims. ABS is also provided on all variants. Immobilizer, central locking, front fog lamps, rear defogger, parking assist with parking sensors and rear camera with ECM display and inside rear view mirrors are other vital safety features that are offered on the compact sedan. Key styling elements like chrome radiator grille, sweptback headlamps, wrap-around tail lamps, chrome outside door handles, turn indicators on ORVMs enhance the exterior styling. As you step inside, you are greeted by the dual-tone colour theme. The blue interior illumination and chrome finish around gear knob lever tip add to the overall appeal. For the purpose of storage, Hyundai has provided seat back pocket on the co-passenger side. An armrest with a cup holder is placed in the centre of the rear seat.
The Xcent is a competent car, and it’s well priced too in its class. But, we feel the pricing with respect to the Grand i10 might be a bit of a dampener. The base variants of the Xcent and the Grand i10 aren’t too far apart, but the Hyundai Xcent diesel in SX (O) trim costs Rs 7.42 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, about Rs 1.1 lakh more than the top-end Grand i10. And for that extra moolah, you don’t get a whole lot more. The Hyundai Xcent a nice car to drive and comes fitted with a long list of features and it will also not disappoint you as an overall package. But when viewed with respect to the Grand i10, the Xcent doesn’t make such a compelling case for itself.
The marginal extra power on tap isn’t a deciding factor between the two. So, if you are one who frequents out-of-town drives with a full compliment of passengers and need the extra luggage space or want to buy the sedan purely as a status symbol over the hatchback, the Xcent is the car for you.