The year 2017, in the first few months has seen a lot of action in the much talked about compact sedan segment. It began with the launch of the Tata Tigor style back, which was followed by the launch of the face lifted Hyundai Xcent. And barely a few days after that the country’s leading car maker Maruti Suzuki has revealed the new Dzire to India consumers. The Xcent was first launched in 2014 and got appreciation for the way it was designed as it is always a challenge to make good looking and well proportioned cars in the segment. Now Hyundai has added a lot of features both inside and outside and also put a new Diesel engine just like they did with the recently launched facelift of the Grand i10. Till now the Xcent hasn’t really been able to rule the segment and the Korean car maker must be hoping that this facelift does a better job in taking on the likes of the Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze and the Tata Tigor.


The new Xcent looks quite different when compared to the outgoing model. There’s a redesigned front bumper and the new signature cascade design grille with horizontal chrome slats ensures for bold and wider stance. The highlights on the front are daytime running LEDs that surround the fog lamps. And then there is the futuristic styling of the swept back headlamps.  A first-in-segment feature is the wheel Air Curtains which provide for better aerodynamic stability. From the profile though the car remains pretty much the same but 2 Tone Diamond Cut Alloys add some character to an otherwise boring view. When you come towards the rear, again there is a fair share of changes. This includes new two piece wrap around tail lamps and a dual tone bumper along with sleek reflectors. The car also gets a shark fin antenna on the roof and aerodynamically designed ORVM’s with turn indicators. These changes make the Xcent a much better proposition than before but since this is a mere facelift and not a new generation, Hyundai only could make limited changes.


A common feature on most Hyundai cars is that the quality inside is good and the Fit & finish along with ergonomics is spot on. The Xcent facelift is no different. The highlight is the new 7-inch touch screen system that is compatible with both Apple car play and Android auto. A rear parking camera is also integrated in the system. The system also gets Mirror Link support and smart phone navigation with voice recognition. Hyundai has also added a holder for the smart phone with a charging port something that is a very practical thing to do. And in case you’re buying the Xcent for being on the second row, there’s a lot to look forward to. There’s a centre armrest, there are dedicated AC vents and the headrests are adjustable something which is not seen on the front row. Some other features that make the Xcent a little more premium are fully automatic temperature control, cooled glove box, driver seat height adjustment, tilt steering and smart key with push button start. At 407 liters, the new Xcent also gets a spacious boot.


Just like how it was earlier, the Xcent continues to be sold in both Petrol and Diesel variants. The Petrol has an automatic option as well. While the 1.2 liter 83 PS Petrol motor remains the same the big change is the new diesel engine that was recently seen in the updated grand as well. Instead of the 1.1 liter diesel engine the car ran on earlier, there’s a more powerful 1.2 litre 75 PS motor. Hyundai says many steps have been taken to ensure to higher fuel efficiency on the car. These include measures like alternator management system and reduced NVH levels. On the petrol manual the claimed mileage is 20.14 kmpl while on automatic it stands a little lower at 17.36 kmpl. The diesel engine now promises 25.4 kmpl, which is a shade higher than the grand. Owing to better torque and changed turbo settings the diesel certainly feels quicker than before. The gearbox is delightfully smooth as seen on most Hyundai cars. It’s smooth to use and responds just the way you want it to; it’s short and crisp.

The system also boasts Mirror Link support and smart phone navigation with voice recognition.

Ride & Handling

Ride and handling is pretty much the same as earlier. You cannot expect a really plush ride in this segment but the Grand takes the small bumps and potholes in its stride pretty well. Of course on the bigger potholes you do have to be a little more careful. The steering wheel is light, and you expect that from most Hyundai’s. While that does take away a bit of the feel, it also helps in maneuvering well in city traffic. Changing lanes is a breeze and owing to its size the car fits nicely into tight spaces. Air curtains also play their part in improving aerodynamics and that helps in good handling overall.


Considering the segment it comes in, the car gets scores well on safety as it has dual airbags, ABS and impact sensing Auto door lock. Hyundai is also offering a 2 year unlimited kms warranty with the car which only augurs well for customer confidence. It starts at Rs. 5.38 lakh rupees (ex-showroom, Delhi) for Petrol and Rs. 6.28 lakh for Diesel models. These are just introductory prices and may change soon. Hyundai will continue selling the earlier Xcent for the commercial segment and that car is now called the Xcent prime. Certainly the new Xcent is a more potent car to take on some stiff competition, a challenge Hyundai is looking forward to. 

Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars


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