The sub 4-metre compact sedan segment is India’s most growing segment currently offering the prestige of owning a sedan, coupled with low service and maintenance costs. The Maruti DZire and Honda Amaze are two success stories that showcased the potential this segment had. Now Hyundai too has joined the bandwagon with the Xcent sedan with a killer price tag and it is getting tough for you to choose the right car. We compare the newly launched Hyundai Xcent to the Honda Amaze and Maruti DZire in the sub 4-metre category to tell you which is the best compact sedan for your money.
Design – The Hyundai Xcent is a sedan with a boot stuck on the Grand i10 hatchback. The car remains the same up till the C-pillar, thereon it gets a sizeable boot and a quirky tail light design. The Maruti DZire on the other hand features the same design as the hatchback, but the boot looks to be pushed-in for the excise benefit and not a wholesome design. The winner in the design department is definitely the Honda Amaze. It looks well proportioned, the rear has been very well integrated than the other two, while the front has a chrome garnished grille visibly different from the Brio.
Features – All these cars come loaded with features but the Honda Amaze trails the other two in terms of equipment. The Maruti DZire is decently loaded with kit but the Hyundai Xcent is just ahead of the other two, offering a plethora of features, some of which are not even seen in a segment up. Stuff like push button start, keyless go, 1 GB storage for the audio system, Bluetooth telephony, rear AC vent, etc. are unique to the Xcent. Both the DZire and Amaze will get a minor update in features later this year.
Space – In terms of the overall size of the sedan, all the three cars fall short of the 4-metre mark at nearly 3995 mm. In terms of wheelbase, the Xcent measure 2425 mm, the DZire 2430 mm and the Amaze 2405 mm. However, in spite of the DZire having the longest wheelbase, the Amaze has scooped out more space with better ergonomics thanks to Honda’s man maximum philosophy. The Xcent looks visibly spacious, with more headroom as well. All the three cars get a rear seat armrest but the DZire misses out on cupholders.
Powertrain – All three models have petrol and diesel engines on offer. The Hyundai Xcent is powered by a 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder engine producing 83 PS at 6000 RPM and 113 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. The DZire uses a 1.2-litre K-Series mill, producing 87 PS at 6000 RPM and 114 Nm of peak torque at 4000 RPM. The Amaze however, is the most powerful on paper with 88 PS at 6000 RPM and 109 Nm of torque at 4500 RPM from its 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine. All the three engines get variable valve timing and are mated to 5-speed manual transmissions. While the Dzire and the Xcent get a 4-speed automatic gearbox as well, the Amaze gets a 5-speed auto unit. The DZire however is the sportier one to drive.
With the diesel engines, the Xcent uses the 1.1-litre 3-cylinder CRDi engine producing 72 PS at 4000 RPM and 180 Nm of torque at 1750 RPM. The Amaze comes with the biggest engine of all, the 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, Earth Dreams, i-DTEC engine with 100 PS at 3600 RPM and 200 Nm of torque. The Maruti DZire stays in the middle of the two with 75 PS at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm at 2000 RPM. Honda’s upper hand with added performance definitely shows up, while the Xcent is peppier to drive in the city. However the Xcent lacks power in front of the other two and the three-cylinder engine isn’t as refined as others. The Amaze is the noisiest of the three.
Fuel Efficiency – When it comes to petrol, both the Xcent and Dzire have a claimed fuel efficiency of 19.1 km/l for the manual variant, whereas the Honda Amaze falls short at 18 km/l. However, the i-VTEC engine is the most refined of the lot. For the diesel counterparts; the Amaze wins the show with a claimed efficiency of 25.8 km/l, the Xcent comes in second giving 24.4 km/l and the Dzire third at 23.4 km/l. (All figures are ARAI certified).
Price – Hyundai launched the Xcent sedan at a killer price tag of Rs. 4.66 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) undercutting the Maruti DZire which starts at Rs. 4.85 lakhs and the Honda Amaze which has a base price of Rs. 4.99 lakhs. With the more popular diesel engines too, Hyundai has priced the Xcent more competitively starting at Rs. 5.56 lakhs. The DZire diesel range starts at Rs. 5.79 lakhs, while the Amaze diesel starts at Rs. 5.98 lakhs. In fact, the Xcent diesel is only marginally more expensive than the Amaze petrol. However, considering the Xcent prices are introductory, a revision is sure to come in a few months.
Overall, the Hyundai Xcent is a very capable product when it comes to competition and will surely attract buyers with its lucrative price tag and features. So does the competition need to be alert? Well yes, considering the fan following Hyundai shares in offering more car for the buck. Will it unsettle the other two? Yes very much, but we think there is enough room in this segment for all the three to survive.