New Hyundai Xcent 1.2L diesel review: A compact sedan with a much-needed makeover | autos | Hindustan Times
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New Hyundai Xcent 1.2L diesel review: A compact sedan with a much-needed makeover

We drove the new Hyundai Xcent across the NCR for a week. The new 1.2-litre diesel engine feels peppier than before. And the technological upgrades are nice too. Here’s more on the new Xcent SX version.

autos Updated: Jun 10, 2017 16:23 IST
Gulshankumar Wankar
The new Hyundai Xcent has got more chrome on the front and the rear to make it feel premium. But is it?
The new Hyundai Xcent has got more chrome on the front and the rear to make it feel premium. But is it?(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

It’s all about packaging these days; not just about what you sell, but how you sell it.

In its latest avatar, the Hyundai Xcent focus is to change perception around it. The badge Xcent is a homophone of Hyundai’s first sedan in the country, Accent, which dates back to 1999.

The last edition of Xcent launched in 2014, was a sub-four metre sedan such as Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Honda Amaze and Tata Zest, their affordability and these easy-to-maintain status meant they soon became taxis. Soon, a makeover was due.

The new Xcent is remarkably different and looks more premium than the old one, which Hyundai will continue selling as Xcent Prime for commercial fleets.

To test the real difference, we drove an SX version of the 1.2 litre diesel Xcent across the National Capital Region for a week. Here’s what it feels like.

Watch the video review here

How it looks

The new Xcent gets more chrome, more sheen and bigger boot, making its presence appealing, be it at the parking lot or on the road.

The face is similar to the new Grand i10 and gets a big cascade grille that says it’s the younger sibling of the Elantra. There are LED daytime-running-lamps around the fog-lamps and also something called air curtains, which according to Hyundai, “add to the aerodynamics, increase mileage and safety”.

The silhouette of the new Hyundai Xcent remains the same as the outgoing version. But on the front and the rear, the car looks better. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

On the boot, a big chrome slat connects the two nicely-wrapped tail lamps. The tail lamps are now in two pieces, bigger and more expressive.

Shark-fin antenna and parking sensors make a debut in this segment, with the new Xcent.

Getting inside

And Hyundai makes ingress easy: a smart key to open the door or the boot, and a Start/Stop button gets you moving.

But don’t forget to plug in to your devices like phones to the 7-inch touchscreen console before you start. The infotainment system is strict -- “Cannot operate while driving. Please try again after parking the vehicle.”

But once you’re connected, the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay understands you like a mother -- plays your playlist, helps you navigate using Google Maps or make calls. The calls are clear, and all functions can be controlled from the steering wheel.

What’s more? It even reads out your messages on WhatsApp if you allow, and you can dictate replies to send.

The cabin remains in beige and black, with hints of chrome around air cons and console. The automatic climate control lets you breath the air you want inside, no matter how hot it is outside.

And thank you Hyundai for giving those rear-seat AC vents, even the new Dzire has one now and we want everyone else to cool the back-benchers too.

The beige-black interiors remain constant. But upgrades like 7-inch touchscreen, start / stop button and a fully-functional steering add to convenience. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

On the safety front, there’s dual front air bags, anti-lock braking system and child safety locks.

But the cabin misses out on adjustable head-rests, which both the rear-seat passengers get.

The cabin is optimal and practical, but for some, it may look uninteresting and dated if pit against the new entrants Tata Tigor, VW Ameo and Ford Figo Aspire, and the refreshed Dzire.

The drive

Press the start button and the pick-up is quick, even with the AC on. The CRDi U II diesel engine with 66cc more displacement generates 4 PS more power and 10 Nm more torque at its peak, than the replaced engine.

And only the petrol variant gets an automatic transmission, besides the manual gearbox.

We drove the car mostly in the Capital, sometimes even in the bumper-to-bumper city traffic while going to the office, and the powertrain is well designed to understand that. The gear ratios are well slotted and there’s not much of fiddling needed.

The steering is light and responsive, very typical of a Hyundai car. However, the suspensions may not impress everyone, the pot holes and puddles are all felt inside.

But on the highways, it’s fun to see the engine roar its heart out. We hit 130 km/hour on an empty stretch and its a smooth zip. The speakers too raised their volume to cancel the breeze noise outside.

With those keys at your thumb’s end on the steering wheel, we had fun revving the engine, until a cow decided to cross the road and we braked. The ABS helped. Phewww!

It’s a good rounded family package. You don’t compromise on anything, but you may ask for an automatic or AMT diesel variant, which the competition offers. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

So here’s what we think

The packaging Hyundai in terms of sheer pricing and drivability makes Xcent a good buy. It may not necessarily be a sporty sedan or the best-looking one in the segment, but it’s practical and meant take you across the city, something that it does with ease.

Hyundai may not have an option for automatic diesel buyers, but we hope they are reading this.

The 2017 Hyundai Xcent
  • Length X Breadth X Height: 3995 X 1660 X 1520 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2425
  • Bootspace: 407 Litres
  • Petrol1.2 litre, Kappa Dual VTVT, 4 cylinder petrolPower / Torque: 83PS / 114NmMileage: 20.14 kmpl (Manual) / 17.36 kmpl (Automatic)Price: Rs 5.38 lakh to Rs 7.52 lakh (Petrol)
  • Diesel1.3 litre U2 CRDi, 3 cylinder dieselPower / Torque: 75PS / 190NmMileage: 25.4 kmpl (Manual only) Price: Rs 6.28 lakh to Rs 8.42 lakh (Diesel)

Unless you have loyalties towards a Tata, Honda or a Ford, go for Xcent. It’s not the Uber or Ola you hail.

The author tweets as @GulshanMWankar. Follow @htTweets for more