The competition has never been tougher in the compact sedan segment before. Not more than four months have passed in this calendar year and we have already seen more than a couple of quality subcompact sedans being updated from its former position and adapt to a smarter world. This is one of the popular segments that has evolved greatly over time and generation.
You might have already heard tons about the all new Hyundai Xcent that has been recently launched as an updated version. Originally launched back in 2014, the Xcent has had tremendous success in a segment that was dominated by the contemporary greats like the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and the Honda Amaze. However, the car did find distinct success by attracting buyers with a couple of pioneering features in the segment. This success triggered the company to launch a new and improved version of the car within three years of its initial launch.
Let us get into the details and see what all the car has on offer and why it is so highly rated among the present breed of power-packed subcompact cars despite having a similar price tag (Rs. 5.5 lakhs).
A visual treat
The Hyundai Xcent 2017 has been right on bull’s eye with the changes in the aesthetics. Although the overall platform continues to be the same, the designer changes cannot go unnoticed. A very urban hexagonal-shaped front grille and DRLs integrated with fog lamps lower down look great. The side profile wears an identical design from its predecessor. Move back further and you will find a split tail light cluster and a strip of black plastic cladding running horizontally over the rear spoiler.
New interior features
The Hyundai Xcent now gets a host of new features in the interiors. You are greeted by an attractive dual-tone black and beige color scheme. The steering wheel is now wrapped in leather to make it more premium and upmarket. The dashboard wears blue illumination all over and also a touchscreen infotainment system that gets connectivity options like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It is big and roomy inside out and this spaciousness extends to the boot as well. The 407 litres boot space is presently the second biggest in the subcompact sedan segment.
Power plant and Transmission
The Hyundai Xcent is available in both petrol as well as diesel engine options. The 1.2-litre U2 diesel engine makes a maximum power of 74 PS at 4,000 revolutions per minute and a maximum torque of 190 Nm at 1,750-2,250 revolutions per minute. The transmission duties are fulfilled by a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox.
On the other hand, the petrol engine is a more powerful version and is powered by 1.2-litre Kappa engine which makes a peak power of 83 PS at 6,000 revolutions per minute and a peak torque of 114 Nm at 4,000 revolutions per minute. The transmission is taken over by a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission gearbox.
Hyundai Xcent is, indeed, a great car and does have the potential to make it big on the market. But not to forget, this segment is highly competitive and the options to consider are immense. So, looking for a good substitute for this car within the given price range won’t be a very difficult task.
So let’s take a look at which other cars can blow up the Hyundai Xcent with competitive features and aggressive pricing.
Ford Aspire (Rs. 5.52 lakhs)
The Ford Aspire looks less like a subcompact sedan and more like a regular sedan. Thanks to the design that keeps it away from flaunting a very boxy outlook. The front section is flanked with a hexagonal grille with horizontal slats, swept back headlamps and foglamps. The rear profile is rather modestly designed. However, the addition of a chrome strip along the boot lid handle makes it a little pleasing to the eye.
The base variant of the Ford Aspire comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine which make slightly more power than the Hyundai Xcent. It makes a max power of 87 bhp and a highest torque of 112 Nm. However, there is one major factor about the Aspire that makes it far more superior than the Xcent. If you need more power, you can buy the higher variants with more powerful engine options for the Aspire. But the Xcent offers the same 83 bhp engine in the top end trims too. Quite a big drawback!
Maruti Suzuki Dzire (Rs. 5.5 lakhs)
There is something about the Maruti Suzuki Dzire that is capable of making it the ultimate winner each time it is updated. But there is something about the latest Dzire update that makes it stand out even among a crowd of latest cars. You can surely not miss the muscular bonnet and the chrome garnished hexagonal grille. The projector headlamps on the sweptback cluster look utmost attractive. The side and back profile looks far less funky than before and you will definitely love it.
The Maruti Suzuki Dzire is powered by a K-series, four cylinder engine with a similar 1.2-litre displacement engine. It makes an 83 bhp of power and 115 Nm of torque, which is identical to the Hyundai Xcent even for the top end trims.
Here both cars are similar in their technical specifications. But you cannot deny the fact that you like the design of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire more than the Hyundai Xcent.
Honda Amaze (Rs. 5.7 lakhs)
The facelift of the Honda Amaze back in 2016 was more of a cosmetic update than anything else. The only noticeable changes were the addition of a thicker chrome strip on the grille instead of two thin lines and the addition of fog lamps down under. The Amaze made a good appearance in the market and more often than not ranked second after the Maruti Suzuki Dzire.
The Honda Amaze is marginally more powerful (87 bhp) than the Hyundai Xcent. But the inferior torque of 109 Nm keeps the Xcent in the race. Even the high-end petrol engines of the Amaze have similar power figures which makes both the cars very much in competition. However, the top spec diesel engine of the Amaze is more powerful and can be chosen if you need more power.
Tata Tigor (Rs. 4.87 lakhs)
The much awaited Tata Tigor is here. Termed as a “Styleback”, the Tigor is an epitome of designing concept in the subcompact sedan segment. That said, the front section of the car isn’t as good as the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, but it’s the back section that flaunts a great design. It has a distinct coupe-like shallow roofline and shorter boot.
Shorter boot? The Tata Tigor presently has the biggest boot space (420 liters) in the segment and has overthrown the Xcent from the peak position. Moreover, the Tigor has a 1.2-litre engine which makes similar power to that of the Xcent. But then, the latest Tata car is more than half a lakh cheaper than the Xcent which makes it the hottest sub-sedan presently.
When you look at the original Hyundai Xcent, you can say that it has the potential to overhaul any car in the segment. But you cannot say the same about the facelifted Xcent.
This, however, by no means implies that the facelifted Xcent is not as good or competent. Of course it is. But the biggest drawing point here is that the present breed of sub-sedans are far more evolved and more competitive than before. This makes life really difficult with changes being the only constant.
The Xcent can be considered over the base Ford Aspire or the petrol Honda Amaze. But when it comes to the Maruti Suzuki Dzire (the best of the lot) and the latest Tata Tigor (the most affordable of the lot), the Xcent slowly starts to lose its shape. It is still a very good value for money car. But as always, it is subject to better alternatives as well.