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Hyundai Xcent : A Value For Money Proposition

The Hyundai Accent was launched back in 1999, a whooping 14 years ago. Considering the fact that you still see it around, it’s safe to say that the Accent faired very well in the market. The new Hyundai Xcent is their new entry level sedan which cleverly plays off the name of its predecessor, enabling Hyundai to play it safe in terms of customer perception instead of coming out with a completely brand new badge.

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Unlike the Accent however, the Xcent is a sub-4 meter sedan. Excise duties levied in cars in India is based on various conditions. One condition states that if the length of the car is less than 4 metres, the excise duty levied is 8%. But, as soon as the length increases to more than 4 metre, the excise duty increases to 20%.

This excise duty condition gave birth to a completely new car segment called compact sedans, which basically categorizes hatchbacks with a tiny trunk added on. And like the Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze, Mahindra Quanto and Ford Ecosport Hyundai too enjoys the lowest excise duty slab of 8% with the Xcent.

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The new Hyundai Xcent is the booted version of the Hyundai Grand i10 and it is set up to make its space in the competitive market of compact sedans.

Hyundai made a strong impression with the Grand i10, and we were rearing to find out if the Xcent would do the same.

EXTERIOR

Like all compact sedans, the Hyundai Xcent also does its best to give the car a sedan look at hatchback prices. Doing that under the 4 meter barrier and still making the car look good can be a difficult task. The good thing is that the Grand i10 was a decent looking hatch back and the Xcent looks near identical to it from the front; the only difference being the chrome lining on the Xcent’s hexagonal grille and this top-spec car’s larger 15-inch wheels that are unique to the sedan. Although, with the attractive diamond cut alloys and chrome accent missing, it makes the basic variant look a little bland.

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The front end features swept back head lamps and angular fog lamp inserts. The sides don’t feature any prominent lines or curves, apart from the waist line moulding.

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Now, when it comes to the tail end of compact sedans, most manufacturers falter. However, unlike some other compact sedans, the tail end of the Xcent flows seamlessly with the rest of the vehicle. Consequently making it seem like the added boot section was a planned affair instead of just being a gimmicky afterthought. It integrates with the roof smoothly and complements the blunt front end of the Xcent, giving it a sense of proportion.

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INTERIORS

Hyundai rarely disappoints when it comes to making an impact of drivers once they step inside. The Xcent is no exception, and hits the nail on the head with a well executed interior. The attention to quality is evident. Drivers will not only see that the chunky steering wheel and smartly detailed gear lever are appealing to the eye but they will be able to feel the drive.

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Also impressive is the two toned dashboard which accommodates all of the audio and air condition controls. The automatic climate control system is a welcome inclusion and works well to maintain a cool temperature in the cabin. There are a number of first in its segment components in the Xcent which are available on top variant, such as dual airbags, ABS, keyless entry & go, reverse parking sensors, reversing camera, electrically folding mirrors, gearshift suggestion tool, rear air-con, cooled glove box and 1 GB of on-board memory for your MP3s.

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Steering rake and seat height adjustment make it easy to find a comfortable driving position and overall adjustability in the middle and top spec versions are good. Passengers will also be comfortable as the Xcent features ample leg room.

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PERFORMANCE

In the variant we test drove, under the hood is the same 1.2 L 16V DOHC unit from the Grand i10 which features variable valve timing technology that claims to offer good performance and efficiency. The engine puts out 83PS at 6000rpm and 114Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

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It is preppy off the mark and maneuvers very well within the city exhibiting sure footedness. Power delivery is precise and the five-speed gear box is smooth and seamless. The smooth gear box makes short shifting a welcome affair combined with the refined engine.

On open roads, the Xcent still does not let you down. It shoots up to the 100km/h mark at a respectably short period of time and keeps going without showing signs of strain or stress for quite a while after that.

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The Xcent also absorbs the bumps pretty, thudding only on big bumps. The car comes to a halt quickly but brake feel could have been better. There is a fair bit of body roll going around corners, and we could have done with a bit more feel on the electrically assisted steering wheel.

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ABS isn’t standard and only optional for both the S and SX variants.

VERDICT

It is difficult for a compact sedan to appear aesthetically stunning, the Xcent is not a head turner. It is rather simple, especially on the tail end. That being said, it must be mentioned that the Xcent is not a bad looking car. It delivers everything it promises. Despite looking like a well balanced in its segment of compact sedans, the Xcent does fall behind in comparison to Hyundai’s other fluidic designed cars. But, whatever it lacks in stunning looks, it makes up for with value for money and ride quality. Well refined engine, quality interiors and a number of first in its segment features leave little room for serious complaints. Add to it the jaw dropping starting price of Rs. 24,96,000, the Xcent is all set to be a big seller.

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine Type: 4-Cylinder 16V, DOHC

Displacement: 1496cc

Fuel Type: Petrol

Maximum Power: 88.76bhp@5600rpm

Maximum Torque: 132Nm@3100rpm

Transmission: 5 speed manual

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT

Length: 3775 mm

Width: 1695 mm

Height: 1510 mm

Wheelbase: 2460 mm

Ground Clearance: 174mm

Tyre Size: 175 / 65 R14

Suspension Front: McPherson Strut

Suspension Rear: Torsion Beam

Brakes Front: Ventilated Disc Brakes

Brakes Rear: Drum Brakes

Curb Weight: 950 kg

Fuel Tank: 45L

PRICE: NRs. 41,45,000

COLOURS: Inferno Orange, Ultramarine Blue, Classic Grey, Harmony Beige, Celestial Black, Vermillion Red, Symphony Silver, White

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