Hyundai Xcent Diesel Long Term Review
The Xcent is at home in the city with its light controls, good ride and linear performance
The compact sedan market is exclusive to India due to Government sops on sub 4-metre cars. Most manufacturers pass on the benefit of less excise to the customer enabling them to competitively price their vehicles. That and the fact that the 3-box mindset is deeply etched in the crowd makes it a very popular segment with a fair bit of market share. One very able car in this segment is the Hyundai Xcent. The Korean philosophy of giving more bang for the buck has always worked in India and the Xcent has found many homes in little time. We are putting Hyundai’s Xcent through our long term test and here are our initial impressions. Peek into the mind of the compact sedan customer and you immediately know that practicality, generous space, fuel efficiency and low cost of maintenance is key to the buying decision. Surely, the Xcent ticks all these boxes and more. Touted to be the spiritual successor of the once popular Accent, the Xcent is doing well as far as sales are concerned.
The design is a reflection of the Grand i10, in fact, the Xcent is the Grand i10 with a boot. We love the frontal design of the car which is similar to the good looking Grand i10 but the boot does look a bit too plain as compared to the front. The diamond cut alloy wheels add to the appeal. Step inside and you are greeted with fabulous fit and finish and quality levels are the best we see in this segment. The layout is similar to the Grand i10 but we really like the automatic climate control and the reverse parking camera. The boot is also big enough for most requirements including fitting an oversized baby pram.
We have been using the Xcent predominantly in the city and have found the reversing camera a boon. The under 4-metre length further helps in fitting into tight spots. Even with the integrated headrests, the front seats are quite comfortable, even on long drives. The rear passengers did not complain with abundant legroom and the rear AC vents do cool things in a jiffy. However, the rear bench was a tight fit for three medium sized adults. The 1 GB storage on the audio system is a huge plus as you can store your music directly on the hard drive but we don’t use it as Bluetooth audio is the way to go. Hyundai has really spoilt us with smart key, push button start, electrically retracting mirrors, etc. which make things very comfortable.
The 3-pot diesel engine surprises with its fantastic NVH levels
Our test car is powered by the second generation 1.1-litre U2 CRDI diesel engine and inspite of it being a 3-cylinder motor, NVH levels are simply fantastic. You can barely even hear the engine at idle and the linear power delivery makes ambling around the city a charm. There is enough torque at lower RPMs enhancing in town drivability. At the same time, the Xcent easily stretches its legs on the highway as long as you are not in a hurry. The 5-speed gearbox offers smooth shifts and the cogs work into place nicely, making the shifting experience very easy and light. The clutch is very light too and along with a light steering, makes city driving quite effortless.
Fuel efficiency is a very important criteria for the target customer in this segment and Hyundai seems to have found a good balance between performance and efficiency. After around 1500 kms of driving this sedan, we are consistently getting around 16.5 km/l, which is good considering 80% of our running happens in city conditions. The fuel tank offers a good range of around 650 kms but the multi-information display should have displayed the fuel economy and range, something its rivals offer.
We personally feel the steering wheel of the Hyundai Xcent could have been a bit smaller than it is. The handling is decent for most but the steering feels numb when urgent change of direction is required. The ride quality is very good with bad and broken roads not really jostling passengers around. The high speed stability deserves a special mention and we were amazed how the Xcent hugged the tarmac as it sped along. Brakes offer good bite and the tyres have sufficient grip under most conditions.
The Hyundai Xcent has been proving to be a very able car which scores high on practicality with a good blend between performance and efficiency. With a healthy list of features on board, this Korean offering makes a very strong case for itself in the compact sedan space. While this isn’t a car which will plant a smile on your face with its neutral driving manners, it sure does score high for those who solicit comfort and ease of use. Our initial impressions are quite positive, we will put it through some more gruelling use until our next report.
Further Reading –
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta