2017 Hyundai Xcent Facelift Diesel Review, First Drive

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Xcent was a popular compact sedan when it came out, but then it went fleet market, this new one should get back personal buyers

Enchanting –

  • Radical change to design at front and rear
  • More powerful diesel engine
  • Comfortable and easy car to drive
  • Feature list is impressive

Unsatisfying –

  • Design hit or a miss
  • Priced a bit higher

The compact sedan segment doesn’t cease to amaze (Sorry Honda, Pun unintended) and flood the market with options. We saw new two new entrants and two refreshed takes of the compact sedan in the year 2016-2017. There was the Volkswagen Ameo, All New Dzire and Tata Tigor and to reply to them, now there is the new Xcent. The second largest manufacturer in India had to respond and it has.

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Xcent when it came first was an appealing package, however it doesn’t score full marks anymore because the competition has almost trumped it. Then there is a fact that Xcent went to the fleet market, probably to sell of every old model before this new version arrived with a substantial cosmetic and subtle mechanical update on offer. Xcent still looks potent enough on paper to give a fight to its rivals. That is a comparison waiting to happen. But today, we tell you how is the Xcent in person and what it offers you as a customer and do you benefits the most from this rising competition in the segment.

Design

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Styling is where there is major leap on both ends. Front grill is stubby but the multi-slat chrome grille along with the same headlamps as before continue to be on offer. This does make it stand out, but not necessarily in a good way. The tail-lamps have grown larger and so has the rear bumper and it has same thing going for it like the front. The bumpers have grown larger and busier.

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You get new DRL lamps at the front but look like after market units. The styling tweaks make it a hit or a miss and personal taste comes in action. We aren’t particularly a fan of this but what still makes this recommendable to others is its silhouette, the side profile and alloy wheels, all make it look, a compact sedan worthy of a mention. The look in the world of odd-looking boots, the Xcent has the right integration which is more flush than its rivals today, even the new ones in certain aspects.

Interior and Features

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Interiors also remain almost identical to what it was before. The color coordination remains the same and the fit-finish and the non-scratchy, high quality feeling and looking plastics are again on offer. Build quality is also spot on and everything works and is where it should be. To begin to criticize the feature list as early as possible, we find the lack of illuminated switches on the driver door unimaginable dis-convenient and a proper attention to detail missing right here. The feature list includes the new touch-screen which has Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

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All though that is a great addition, but the fonts, the layout, resolution all looks almost 10-15 years old now. Sound quality from the four speakers is excellent but the lack of dashboard mounted speakers ruin the sound as the noise purely comes from the door pockets below, which isn’t always pleasing. Steering wheel controls all the features of the display and the cluster but it continues to lack MID in true Hyundai tradition, which is another essential missing.

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Rear parking sensors and camera is on offer, but it is way too safe and warnings come in far earlier than the usual set of parking sensors. Rear A/C vents is a great addition on offer and we love how the A/C vents on the dashboard function. A/C is also a chiller and we found our-self using the defogger to keep the mist of the windshield and not using the A/C much it in cool Mumbai monsoons. Lights work great, but the spread could be higher. Keyless entry, start-stop, mirror link AUX, USB, Bluetooth, automatic climate control and a cool glove box is part of the features list.

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Space in the back and the front is just about adequate but not class leading. Be it headroom, legroom or knee room. Width continues to be short like any other small Hyundai car and this is best as a four seater with a child in between for long journeys. Boot space stands at 407 litres which is adequate once again, but isn’t class leading. There is a space saver on offer and not a full size alloy/steel wheel.

Performance

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There is a new diesel engine under the hood and is the major highlight of the 2017 facelift model. The Xcent diesel motor is bored up to 1.2 litre instead of the 1.1 litre and now makes 75 PS of power and 190 Nm of torque. Those numbers now match its key rival, the Dzire now. Hyundai engines are known to be the best when it comes to NVH and this is one is the same. However, not as flawless as before.

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The increase in power and torque along with capacity means there is more noise that creeps in and vibrations at times is higher, but it is still far away from its rivals and it continues to be the most flexible and is unique in the way it sounds and delivers power. The engine is smooth and refined and redlines cleanly, but not freely till redline.

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The power band is very narrow and it works from around 1700 RPM till 3000 RPM after which it tapers of almost suddenly and there is point going ahead of that RPM. However, the extra pony means that it does catch speed quickly than before and for example at times we used to see 80 km/hr come up in quick shifting from first to fourth gear, but now we see 100 km/hr.

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This is a amateur explanation, since we don’t have numbers from our equipment yet, but we hope you got the gist. Clutch is light, smooth and forgiving enough. The gearbox continues to offer short and smooth throws and can take all kinds of shifts. Hard or soft, fast or slow. The gearing is on the taller side and the second is way too tall than expected. Expect it to deliver around 16-18 km/l in the city run.

Ride and Handling

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Dynamically, the steering has become feedback rich, it is precise and light at the same time. All of this makes it a great city car. However, it does not weight up much on the highway and robs you of confidence at high speeds when it comes to center weigh up. Change direction at highway speeds and you notice the well controlled body roll. There is enough grip on offer from the 15-inch wheel and tyre combo. Ride quality continues to be spot on with very limited vertical movement at any given speed. There is touch of stiffness, but it is compliant over all types of bumps, except the super size carters of monsoon roads, where it sends a thud.

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Brakes are something that is a mixed bag when it comes to power and feel. The pedal needs a very firm push to bring the car from a halt at high speeds, slow speed braking is adequate and works fine in traffic situations. We think the brakes could have done with more bite with the added horses in the engine.

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2017 Hyundai Xcent Facelift Diesel Review, Verdict

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Xcent, when it came to impressing its audience with its well done design, large feature list and proven engines, we reckon just like its predecessor it isn’t a complete winner in every area, but wins almost all small battles.  Hyundai has tried to do the same again and it has become more potent. Competition has just become even stiffer, but the compact sedan has those qualities to get back its customers.

The loud design is a hit or a miss, but the power hunger is gone, it packs a bit more features and it continues with Hyundai’s peace of mind after sales experience that company always offers. Xcent is one the safest bets you can play in the market right now if you are looking for a family sedan.

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Prices are ex-showroom Mumbai

E CRDi Rs. 6.41 Lakhs
E Plus CRDi Rs. 6.97 Lakhs
S CRDi Rs. 7.34 Lakhs
SX CRDi Rs. 7.79 Lakhs
SX CRDi (O) Rs. 8.58 Lakhs

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Xcent Facelift Diesel Review
  • Design
  • Features
  • Space
  • Performance
  • Value
  • Comfort
4.3

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