Hyundai Xcent Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Introducing a mid-cycle update for the subcompact sedan, Hyundai India has launched the 2017 Hyundai Xcent facelift in the country with prices starting at Rs 5.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). 2017 Xcent gets a comprehensively reworked front design. The overall silhouette remains the same, but the grille is all-new and in-line with Hyundai’s bigger sedans while the headlamps have been re-profiled and get new black inserts as well. The front bumper has also been redesigned adding a fresh look and now gets boomerang-shaped LED DRLs as part of the changes. Not only does the Xcent look fresh, but also distinctly different from the Grand i10. The side remains the same, save for the revised alloy wheels, while the rear gets the more upmarket wide taillights, revised bumper and tweaks to the boot-lid. Check On Road Price of Xcent

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

Initial spy shots left a lot of people saying, “Oh god, why?”, but much like the Mahindra TUV300, this is a car that looks better in person than in pictures. Additionally, it’s now more distinctive, not only from its predecessor, but the Grand i10 as well.The two-part grille is no more and is replaced by a plus-sized hexagonal unit, generously lined with chrome. It’s got a new front bumper too with a sleeker set of fog lamps, and, not to mention, daytime running LEDs. The side profile remains the same, save for the engine badge on the front fender that reads ‘1.2D’ instead of ‘CRDi’, highlighting the uprated engine size. Up top, the radio antenna is a shark-fin unit instead of the old antenna on the higher variants.  Exchange your old car for Xcent

The rear end looks as if it were inspired by the Kia Rio. Some may even draw parallels with the Toyota Camry. Gone are the tiny old tail lamps and instead, you get a wider set of lights that occupy more real estate at the rear. The lights even get some internal detailing to make them look more distinctive. The boot-lid itself has been redesigned and sports a chunky chrome bar that connects the rear lamps. The bumper gets some aggressive contouring too, and while it will take a while for the new look to grow on many, the new Xcent does look more mature. Importantly, it still looks well-proportioned for a sub-4 metre sedan.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Much like the Grand i10, the Xcent will impress you the moment you set foot inside. Modern Hyundai cabins are high on quality and here too you’ll find the general level of fit and finish to be of a very good standard. Those behind the wheel, in particular, will love how the chunky steering and smartly detailed gear lever feel as good to hold as they are to look at. It’s a well laid out cabin too. The two-tone dashboard, identical to the one in the Grand i10, places all audio and air-con controls within easy reach. A welcome inclusion on the Xcent is an automatic climate control system that works well enough to maintain a cool temperature in the cabin. What’s also nice is that each of the round vents up front can be individually opened or closed to direct air flow as per your liking. However, the rear air-con vent (a first in this segment) isn’t particularly effective and in our view is a bit of a waste as it unnecessarily robs space from the middle passenger.The Xcent offers a fair amount of adjustability for the driver, so long as you opt for the middle or top-spec versions. Steering rake and seat height adjustment make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The front seats, though slightly narrow and a tad on the firm side, are supportive enough. However, a cause for concern is that the fixed headrests are too short and unlikely to provide adequate protection from whiplash in the event of a rear collision.

Rear occupants, on the other hand, will appreciate the safety and comfort the adjustable headrests come with, but might find the seat base a tad short. Also, compared to the Grand i10, the Xcent’s rear seat back has been reclined a few degrees too far to compensate for the loss in headroom owing to the angle of the rear windscreen. The cabin’s average width also means the Xcent’s rear seat is best suited to two passengers. On the plus side, there is a good deal of legroom and the foldable centre armrest is well positioned too. Incidentally, the centre armrest comes with two cupholders, in addition to the two cupholders up front, one-litre bottle holders on each of the doors and the large (and cooled) glovebox. Even luggage space is very impressive, with the well-shaped 407-litre boot taking in large suitcases with great ease.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The Hyundai Xcent is offered with both petrol and diesel engines. Talking about the petrol engine first, no changes have been made to the 1.2-litre Kappa VTVT unit. It is mated to either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a dated 4-speed automatic transmission and produces 83 PS of power at 6000 RPM and 114 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. Throttle response is good and power delivery is linear. The top-end performance isn’t the best but the low-end and mid-range are very good. The NVH levels are also fantastic. The ARAI-claimed fuel efficiency is 20.14 km/l and 17.36 km/l for MT and AT respectively but in real world conditions, you can expect 10-14 km/l from the MT and 9-13 km/l from the AT.

The diesel engine has been upgraded from the older 1.1-litre unit to a larger 1.2-litre U2 CRDI unit which now produces 75 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm of torque from 1750-2250 RPM. The engine has been tuned very nicely and turbo lag has been negated effectively. The engine has a good surge of power right from 1600-1700 RPM and continues till 3500-4000 RPM and the oil-burner feels very peppy. The engine is quite noisy though. The 5-speed gearbox is a charm and gearshifts are smooth. The ARAI-claimed efficiency is 25.4 km/l and you can easily expect 17-22 km/l in real world conditions.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;’

The Xcent’s suspension setup remains unchanged and is still comfort-set as before. At low speeds, it’s very comfortable and offers great bad road ability as well. Additionally, it rides quite flat and is very stable over undulations/bridge joints even beyond 120kmph. However, there is a noticeable amount of vertical movement and through fast corners, body roll is perceptible. There’s a good amount of stopping power on offer too with the car dropping from 100-0kmph in 45.89 metres, while feeling a little more surefooted than the Grand i10 during the test.

The steering doesn’t offer much feedback, but is light enough for city usage, weighs up well with speed and is responsive too. In everyday conditions, there’s no guesswork involved. It won’t please any driving enthusiasts, but that’s hardly what the Xcent has been designed for. Overall, the handling mannerisms are predictable and novice-friendly.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

On the features front, the top-of-the-line Xcent in SX trim with option pack we have driven gets driver and front passenger airbags, ABS, keyless entry with push button start/stop, rear AC vents, multi function steering wheel, driver seat height adjustment, a 2-din audio system with Bluetooth, USB and aux-in ports, power outlets for the front and rear, chrome door handles on the inside and out and rear parking sensors and parking camera with display in the rear view mirror. On the outside, the Xcent gets integrated turn indicators in the electrically adjustable auto-folding outside rear view mirrors and 15-inch alloy wheels (it’s part of the option pack – 14-inch wheels on SX trim). There isn’t much you will need besides leather seats, which should be available as a dealer option.

CONCLUSSION ;

2017 Hyundai Xcent seems to be better than the preceding model in terms of exterior appearance, interior features, and driving dynamics. A special mention goes to the new diesel engine, which is more powerful and fuel efficient than before. The automatic variant is also available for added convenience. In all, it is a decent offering with more bells and whistles than before.

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