Hyundai Xcent Review & First Drive


Hyundai Xcent Overview

Hyundai launched its first compact, sub-four-metre sedan back in 2014. Based on the European i10 hatchback, it was built using a longer wheelbase to make it more suitable for sale in India. The car featured European build quality and a whole host of features Indian car buyers would kill for. The Xcent, however, didn’t really scale the heights. Its three-cylinder 1.1-litre diesel was a tad underpowered, suspension was set up so stiff that it often crashed and thudded through even medium-size potholes, and then the cabin was quite narrow on the inside.

Hyundai, with the recent facelift of the Xcent, however, says it has gotten rid of many of these issues and has taken big strides in areas where the car needed a bit of propping up. For starters, it looks quite different from the Grand i10 when viewed from the front. A conscious decision to distance itself from the hatchback and give the car an identity of its own, the new nose is bold and very in-your-face.

Hyundai Xcent Exterior & Look

Hyundai has tried to tie in the same design scheme from the bigger luxury cars like the Elantra. This brings in a new chrome ‘cascading design’ grille that cuts a similar shape to the Elantra. It also differentiates the Xcent from the Grand i10 and as a result, the two no longer look identical from the front. The grille looks great on the long and sleek Elantra, but to my eyes it doesn’t fit quite as well on the more rounded and stubby Xcent. While the side profile looks the same, the rear gets a tasteful makeover. The smaller taillamps from the old car make way for new wrap-around units. These increase the sense of width and give the car a more premium look. The design of the bumpers has changed as well, with new DRLs in the front bumper. Overall, the Xcent looks more premium and grown up.

Hyundai Xcent Interior & Comfort

Sure, there’s a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the top-spec SX and SX (O) variants (the mid-spec S and the new E+ variant get the older 2DIN audio system instead). What’s more, the system also supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. The interface is easy to get used to, pairing phones is a breeze and the audio quality is at acceptable levels too. The other little addition comes in form of the voice command button on the steering wheel. With a phone connected to the infotainment system, it lets you place calls without taking your hands off the wheel. It’s quite well suited to Indian accents, and pretty much gets the job done every single time.

The big screen also serves as a display for the reverse camera. Now, the Xcent always had a reverse camera, but the video feed was relayed to the internal rear view mirror. Which brings me to my next point. The old auto dimming mirror has been ditched in favour of a manual one. There’s another cost-cutting measure that wants to quietly slip under the radar. The climate control interface no longer has “Clean Air” written on it. Hyundai has gotten rid of the cluster ioniser that ensures the vents blow purified air into the cabin. But, that’s where my grouse with the interiors end. To know more info on Hyundai Xcent  visit Iftr2015hyd

The air-conditioning is stellar, and setting it on its lowest will give you the chills in no time. I managed to fog up the windows on the outside on a hot and humid evening in Mumbai – it’s that effective! The rear half is cooled quickly too, thanks to the rear AC vents. In case you plan on being chauffeur-driven, the Xcent does make a strong case for itself. The recline angle is comfortable, there’s just enough legroom for a six-footer like me to sit behind my own driving position and there’s a central armrest as well. Three abreast at the rear shouldn’t be a big problem but be prepared to rub shoulders with your fellow passengers – quite literally. So, nothing new there.

The design, features and the fit and finish aren’t new either – which is a good thing. It carries over the feel-good features that include keyless entry and go, a chilled glovebox, and electrically folding mirrors. The Xcent was already among the best in class in terms of build quality and that hasn’t changed. Yes, there’s some hard plastic to be found on the floor console and around the handbrake area – but that isn’t likely to be a big deal breaker. What might just be, is the new face.

Hyundai Xcent Engine & Transmission

Oh yes! Just like the Grand i10, the Xcent too sports the bigger 1.2-litre diesel engine. The three-cylinder unit develops 75PS of power (up by 3PS) and 190Nm of torque (up by 10Nm), and comes paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox. There’s no diesel-automatic combo on offer like the Swift DZire or the Tata Zest, but with the market slowly moving back towards petrol-powered cars, we don’t think this omission is going to haunt Hyundai India anyway.

Now, let’s answer a basic question – what’s better compared to the old 1.1-litre diesel engine? The answer to that, quite simply is noise and vibration levels. Make no mistake, the Xcent still shudders on startup and shuts down like any other three-cylinder diesel would. But, on the move, the engine does seem quite well mannered. The clutch is light, and bites in quickly. Pair that with the light power steering and you have a sedan that you can use in stop and go traffic without a hiccup. In some seriously annoying jams on the Eastern Express Highway in Mumbai, I found myself tapping away to music and not tired out by the constant shift. On a related note, there’s no dead pedal and the footwell itself is slightly narrow for my big size 11 feet.

On paper, the torque figure is on par with its rivals. What’s interesting is the way the shove translates to on-road performance. Unlike the 1.5-litre diesel engines in the Ameo and the Aspire that have a sharp spike in power post 2000rpm, the Xcent’s motor delivers the grunt in a more linear and orderly fashion. There’s a bit of turbo lag under 2000rpm and when you do feel the turbo kick in, it isn’t as dramatic as its competition. The torque spread is pretty good low down the rev range too – I managed to skittle over Mumbai speed breakers in second gear at single digit speeds. Impressive!

Soon enough as the highway cleared up I had the space to let the engine loose. Oddly, I didn’t feel like it. Drive the Xcent – even for a relatively short while – and you’d know the engine is happier cruising comfortably and not making a dash to the redline in each gear. The 0-100kmph dash is dealt with in a leisurely 16.20 seconds — that’s nearly three seconds off the Grand i10’s time. In-gear acceleration is slower compared to the hatchback as well. 30-80kmph in third gear came up in 9.82 seconds, whereas 40-100kmph in fourth took 15.14 seconds.

Hyundai Xcent Driving Dynamics

Performance is brisk but not particularly exciting. We achieved a 14.1s 0-100kmph time which is exactly a second quicker than before. Better yet, efficiency has gone up too. We recorded 26.24kmpl on the highway and 16.8kmpl in the city.Hyundai has also done some quiet work on the steering and suspension set-up. The steering feel is much improved and no longer has the artificially engineered tendency to self-centre. The weighting of the wheel is much more progressive and while it still isn’t the nicest system around, it no longer feels strange. The suspension also has a firmer feel. Damping is still very good and bumps are well ironed-out but you can feel that the car is now firmer. I suppose this would help when the car is fully loaded at speed but it hasn’t transformed the Xcent into a driver’s delight. This is still the friendly, spacious and practical choice in it’s segment. We never had any complaints with the old suspension set-up, but nevertheless, applaud Hyundai for trying something new.

Hyundai Xcent Braking & Safety

2017 Hyundai Xcent comes with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The company has offered dual front airbags as standard fitment across the entire variant line-up of the new sedan. In addition, several premium features such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Impact Sensing Auto Door Unlock, Keyless entry with Smart Key, Rear Parking Sensors, Rear Camera with display on audio, Central Locking, etc. are available with the top-end variants. Though, it looks bleaker than the preceding model, which had ABS as standard safety feature. Also, the other sedans in the segment come equipped with more safety features than Xcent.

Hyundai Xcent Price in Hyderabad

Hyundai Xcent On Road Price is 6,63,932/- and Ex-showroom Price is 5,65,354/- in Hyderabad. Hyundai Xcent comes in 5 colours, namely Wine Red,Marina Blue,Sleek Silver,Star Dust,Polar White. Hyundai Xcent comes with FWD with 1197 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 82 bhp@6000 rpm and Peak Torque 114 Nm@4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Hyundai Xcent comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Hyundai Xcent Verdict

With its updated looks, improved engine and more mature ride and handling, the facelifted Hyundai Xcent is a big step forward over the earlier car. It is nicer to drive, nicer to sit in, and even comes with a practical 407-litre boot. If you are in the market for compact sedan, make sure you take a long hard look at this one.

2017 Hyundai Xcent seems to be better than the preceding model in terms of exterior appearance, interior features, and driving dynamics. A special mention goes to the new diesel engine, which is more powerful and fuel efficient than before. The automatic variant is also available for added convenience. In all, it is a decent offering with more bells and whistles than before.