FOUR-WHEELER

Hyundai Xcent: An Xcellent all-rounder

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With the new Xcent, Hyundai has given a major workaround and not just a teeny tiny facelift

Back in 2014, Hyundai launched a new model to compete in one of the hottest selling segments, the sub-4-metre sedan. Hyundai Xcent, which was based on the Hyundai Grand i10, wasn’t just the extension of the hatchback but much more. It had a longer wheelbase than its European counterpart and was loaded with features to appeal to the Indian consumers. But recently, the Xcent has been losing its grip with the arrival of newer, better compact sedans. And with the new 2017 Hyundai Xcent facelift, the Korean carmaker wants to get back in the game.

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With the facelift, Hyundai has given the Xcent individual identity as the differences are quite significant to distance itself from the Grand i10. Starting from the face, the Xcent gets an all new one with a bolder ‘Cascade Design’ grille and a new front bumper with DRLs surrounding the fog lamps. To the side, things remain similar to the outgoing car with only the shark fin antenna (new addition) and the diamond cut alloy wheels taking your attention. Come to the rear and things get interesting again. For those who thought the tail lamps were too small, fret not, for the new Xcent gets new bigger tail lamps that look neat. The boot lid and the rear bumper are also new.

Inside, though, the changes are minimal, they are significant. Apart from the new upholstery and new dual tone dashboard, the biggest change is the new 7-inch touch screen infotainment system. It supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The instrument cluster gets a slight tweak of design but the basic layout remains the same. And then, there are the goodies that Hyundai’s are known for. Rear AC vents, more-than-enough cubby holes, driver seat height adjustment, automatic climate control, cooled glove box, steering mounted controls and electric ORVMs.

The build quality is one of the best in the business, especially the steering wheel. The seats are very supportive and there’s good legroom in the rear, too. Seating three would be an intimate affair, so make sure you know the passengers very well if you want to sit in the middle.

Coming to the most important update, the new Xcent gets an all-new 1.2-litre diesel engine, which made debut with the Grand i10 facelift apart from the 1.2-litre petrol engine. With an increase of 4 hp and 30 Nm, the Xcent diesel now makes a total of 75 hp and 190 Nm of torque. One of the major complaints about the older diesel Xcent was the lack of power, which is now attended to. The new 1.2-litre diesel feels peppy and eager, offering better driveability across the rev range. The action starts once you cross 1,800 rpm and from there, the power builds linearly up to 3,500 rpm. After that the going gets tough but that wouldn’t be a matter of concern, as the engine is aimed at driveability and fuel efficiency.

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Another major concern that Hyundai has worked on is the ride quality. Earlier, the Xcent felt rattled even with the smallest of the irregularities of the roads. Hyundai has tuned the suspension to absorb the bumps and patches better. The noise insulation also works great. The handling has also seen an improvement as the Xcent now gets better feedback from the steering, which is lighter and accurate. Around the corners, the Xcent is fun and holds its foot well enough.

With the new Xcent, Hyundai has given a major workaround and not just a teeny tiny facelift. Improvements in the design, engine, features, ride quality and handling make the new Hyundai Xcent a great all-rounder.

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