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Car review: The battle of the compact sedans, Honda Amaze, Maruti Suzuki Dzire, and Hyundai Xcent

The term ‘compact sedan’ is something that would instantly ignite a sense of curiosity among consumers. And that is why we have for you a three-way comparison.

more lifestyle Updated: Oct 10, 2018 19:26 IST
Arun Changrani
Arun Changrani
Hindustan Times
Car review,Honda Amaze,Maruti Suzuki Dzire
The Honda Amaze is the most recent compact sedan to be introduced in the Indian market.

The Good

Out of these three cars, the Honda Amaze is the most recent compact sedan to be introduced in the Indian market. A complete stand-out, the Amaze has a completely new design, especially a few key elements, such as a thick signature chrome grille bar and a stretched flat bonnet that gives this vehicle a slightly retro feel. In fact, when one looks closely, the Amaze is wider (because of the increased track) than its predecessor. Its side character line provides it with a neat appearance, thereby giving the impression of being longer in length than before. Towards the rear, the sedan looks more appealing, due to the C-shaped tail-lamp clusters and the wedged boot design that looks clean from a distance.

When we talk about Maruti Suzuki Dzire, it has undergone some serious transformation, and now looks quite stunning. The overall design of this car is curvaceous, not dismissing the fact that a thick chrome garnishing around the hexagonal grill and the fog lamps, along with stylishly shaped headlamp units, make the sedan a real head-turner. Additionally, there are LED projectors and DRLs on offer that can be found in the top-end variant only. The side profile, with its flared wheels arches, along with the sharp shoulder line running right across from the front to the rear, gives it a distinctive look. At the rear, its thick chrome strip, which is connected via tail-lamp clusters on either side, provides it with a decent look.

As for the Hyundai Xcent, the presence of a hexagonal chrome grille, along with swept back headlamps, with styled bumper comprising of fog lamps and LED DRLs, instantly catches your attention. The rear looks good, too, with wraparound tail lamps and a chrome strip running right in the centre of the boot lid.

On the inside, the black and beige combination (the top of the dashboard is finished in black, while the lower is in beige), along with bigger windows, makes the cabin of the Amaze feel more spacious and airy. The 7-inch touchscreen (offered in the top-end variant only) is well integrated into the centre console, which is surrounded via piano black finish that looks premium and is rich in feel. Furthermore, the Amaze comes loaded with features such as climate control, start/stop button, keyless entry, parking sensors with reverse camera, to name a few. It has a boot space of 420 litres, which is the best in the segment.

As one steps inside the Dzire, one would realise that the sedan’s cabin is totally new in comparison to what we have seen in its previous version. Notably, the new interiors feel much more premium. The combination of black and beige work well and so does the presence of faux wood strip inserts running right across the dashboard on the steering wheel and door panels. The inclusion of a flat bottom steering wheel adds a sporty bite to the image of this compact sedan. As for comfort, the front and rear seats are well cushioned, thereby providing adequate amount of under-thigh support. The rear AC vents come really handy to keep us cool and comfortable at all times. The Dzire offers 378 litres of boot space.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Xcent provides a dual tone (black and bridge) dashboard. In fact, we really liked the quality of the plastics, which makes the cabin appear upmarket. The 7-inch touchscreen here offers facilities such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which work seamlessly. More than the seats up-front, we truly like the ones towards the rear as they are much more comfortable with great under-thigh support. Its rear AC vent comes in handy for keeping the occupants comfortable while on the move.

Specs for the Honda Amaze.

In this comparison, we managed to get our hands on the diesel variants of these three compact sedans. Let us first begin with the Amaze, which in this case happens to feature the tried and tested 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, the engine feels refined as it pulls strongly and effortlessly when required. It offers a good ride quality as the suspension is able to glide comfortably over potholes and broken roads with utter ease.

Specs for the Maruti Dzire.

On the other hand, the Dzire offers a smaller 1.3 litre diesel engine, which is not new to the market. Being the tried and tested diesel mill, the unit does a pretty good job of offering refinement and performance. We felt that the gearbox provided smooth shifts and was quick to engage. The suspension adapts well to Indian road conditions, thus offering a smooth ride over potholes and broken roads. The five-speed transmission on board is so effortless that be it within the city or the open highway, the Dzire is a pleasure to drive. The steering wheel is well-balanced and judged, and it is a breeze to even drive around the corners.

Specs for the Hyundai Xcent.

Even smaller than the other two sedans is the Xcent’s diesel powertrain. The compact sedan features a 1.2 litre diesel engine, which feels quite powerful. The moment you put your foot down on the accelerator, the car will respond swiftly. Its five-speed transmission offers nearly perfect shifts. We were really impressed with its overtaking abilities, both in the city and on the open highway. The ride quality is also quite decent, and the car cushions all potholes with ease.

The Bad

The quality of plastics on the Amaze seem a bit downgraded in comparison with the competition. The five- speed manual transmission feels rubbery and sluggish. There is a bit of body roll around the corners, especially during high speed. The steering has a bit of lag and feels heavy at low speed.

Maruti seems to have gone overboard with the insertion of faux wood design in the Dzire, especially the one on the steering wheel. The legroom for the front passenger does come at the cost of storage space, which is the glove box. The rear is best suited for two as the centre-transmission tunnel takes a lot of space.

The seats in the Xcent are really comfortable, but the missing adjustable head-rest on the front seats does disappoint us.

The Ugly

On the go, the Amaze’s engine – whether at low or high speed – does generate sound, resulting in a noisy cabin. The air-conditioning vents at the rear, which are present in competitors, seem missing in this sedan.

The downside of the Dzire is that the engine does not feel peppy, especially at low revs.

As for the Xcent, the engine is a bit noisy, but not as noisy as that of the Amaze.

Interact with the author at Twitter/@arunchangrani

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 19:24 IST