Dreams are fountainhead for inspirations and motivations. These mental conceptions have the ability to bring out extraordinary from any commoner and that’s why successful people hold these visions in high regard. Hyundai too seems to be fully aware of the paranormal power these psychological stimulations come with as company is constantly nurturing its dream to become leading four wheeler manufacturer in Indian automobile industry. Hyundai’s ambitious dream to topple current market leader; Maruti-Suzuki from its leadership position is in fact instrumental behind the pace this Korean manufacturer has attained in recent years. One after another, Hyundai is successfully plugging-in the critical gaps its Indian product portfolio has grappled with. Latest link in this chain is launch of Hyundai’s compact sedan christened asXcent. Actually compact sedan segment has been under the Hyundai’s planning radar for some time and with sales picking up exponentially in this category; there is no reason for Hyundai to pull its punches. With already available product platform that also underpins Hyundai’s Grand i10 hatchback; all company need to do was to draw and graft the boot on Grand i10 while keeping the sub-4m of length in mind and it did exactly so. Result of the efforts culminated in form of Xcent and we are happy unlike other manufacturers, Hyundai designers hadn’t lost their design integrity. Grafting boot on Xcent doesn’t look like an afterthought with rear three-quarter profile hinting enough amicability towards rest of design. With sober design and rather roomier interiors; Xcent has already staked its claim on compact sedan segment and as always we at ecardlr are here to test validity of these assertions through our time-tested tool of road test.
Hyundai has very deliberately endowed Xcent with mild designing approach as company has steer cleared of infusing radical design elements in overall styling quotient in Xcent. Although the overall styling is in line with the contemporary designing aspects; it still feels a bit underdog in front of other Hyundai vehicles.
Instead of starting from up front, we use the rear portion to describe this elder cousin of Grand i10. Integration of boot has been done with precision as unlike some other vehicles, Xcent seems to have got better air of sophistication even in the dead-on view of three-quarter profile. Wrap around tail lamp cluster though feel a bit small still it makes up for its meekness with extra design quotient.
Profile view of Xcent is similar to Grand i10 as the designers haven’t put any efforts to differentiate between these cousins. Further the side view continuous to feature strong shoulder line along with low running character line. Frontage of Xcent too treads the same path as except the chrome ringed fog lamps there is nothing that can differentiate between Xcent and Grand i10.
Step into Xcent cabin and suddenly feeling of familiarity begins to arouse as the overall design and placement of the things matches the design ethos of Grand i10. And it is not at all bad thing as Grand i10 has impressive interiors with class fit and finish. Even on dimensional front, Grand i10 and Xcent shares the wheelbase pointing towards the similar interior space inside both the vehicles.
Dash grains exude a class and so is the minimalistic approach that Hyundai has adopted with controls. All the controls including the gear lever are placed ergonomically with Xcent scoring well above average on intuitiveness. Visibility from driver seat is good though it could have been on better side.
On space front; Xcent scores quite well with liberal amount of legroom and knee room though head room is a bit on short side. Seating three persons abreast at the back is not a good idea for long journeys though one can bear this for city run around.
With best in class boot space of 407 litres, Xcent is sure to lure the family owners with its spacious boot. In this much space even the big luggage won’t pose any problem while stacking inside this practical trunk space. What further makes this space even more useful is its practical laid-out approach with little intrusions.
Xcent comes with both petrol and diesel engine options and this time we have got out hands on gasoline engine that displaces 1.2-litre with power and torque output of 83 PS of power @6000 rpm with torque of 114 Nm @4000 rpm. In contrast to these figures, 1.1-litre diesel engine of Xcent churns out 72 PS of power along with 180 Nm of torque.
Refinement and ease of driving are two main virtues of this motor as puttering around the town is simply an effortless move in Xcent. In fact driving the rev-happy petrol car is such a satiating affair that merely words can’t describe alone. Xcent has got the drivability and NVH spot on and nobody is going to complain about this motor even a bit.
Even the mid-range of car is quite healthy and proves the revving mettle of Hyundai’s gasoline technology. Although this kappa motor is not in league of likes of Honda and Maruti; still it is not very far behind.
The engine is mated with 5-speed manual transmission that is slick but not very assuring in terms of clogging of gear-teeth. Further the ultra-light clutch action is sure to make city driving a smooth affair and so is the feather touch power steering. Brakes are good too but not as efficient as we have experienced in Toyota and Honda.
In terms of suspension hardware, Xcent comes with MacPherson strut up front and coupled torsion beam at rear in order to suspend wheels. In terms of dynamics Xcent feels more accomplished more than any other Hyundai. Unlike the horribly soft suspension that we are now accustomed to witness in Hyundai’s, Xcent strikes a good balance between being soft and hard. It cushions the passengers against the road adulations but without compromising much on handling prowess. Slow speed ride is soaking and even as the whack increases, Xcent still feels sure-footed.
Even at the hard cornering manoeuvres, Xcent retains its composure and though there are hints of body roll; it doesn’t threaten to go out of control completely. We complement Xcent as one of most accomplished Hyundai on dynamic front which it undoubtedly is.
Xcent makes a good case on value for money front with price tag stretching between Rs 4.69 lakh and Rs 7.42 lakh. In addition to advantage of both manual and automatic version; Xcent has both the options of gasoline and diesel engine. It has got all the basics right for a compact sedan and in fact comes with best-in-class boot space that is extra spacious in terms of its space capacity. Further the petrol engine we drove is quite eager and refined. Spacious cabin and long list of equipment makes Xcent a competitive all-rounder which is sure to give a tough fight to currently ruling players like Swift Dzire and Honda Amaze.
Style & Substance 3/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power Plant & Transmission 4/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 4/5