An all-rounder with a heavy dose of practicality – that’s what Hyundai offered when it launched the Xcent in 2014. However, the Xcent somewhere lost the plot to its own sibling, the Elite i20, with which its price overlaps. As a result, what was a practical sedan aimed at private buyers found preference only with the fleet owners.
Now, though, the Xcent’s been given a facelift and an extensive one at that. So, does it have enough premium value to appeal to buyers like you and me?Exterior
The Hyundai Xcent now looks more distinctive compared to the Grand i10. Its two-part grille has made way for a bigger hexagonal unit laden with chrome. The front bumper is also new and gets a sleeker set of fog lamps with daytime running LED lights. In profile, the Xcent remains as is apart from the engine badge on the front fender that now reads ‘1.2D’ instead of ‘CRDi’. For those who believe FM antennas are passe, there's a shark-fin unit now that makes the higher variants look more in-time.
The rear of the Xcent has been redesigned and is looks inspired from the Kia Rio, which is also family. Previously, the tail lamps were more like the Grand i10 but now there are two-part tail-lights that are connected by a chunky chrome bar. The rear bumper gets a black plastic finish below the reflectors. The styling is more aggressive now and the Xcent still looks well-proportioned for a sub-4 metre sedan.Interior
The interior hasn't been played with much and is more sophisticated as compared to a bit of loud exterior design. It's the same as the Grand i10's and quality and fit-and-finish is appreciable. However, it looks a little old now as we're used to seeing too much of it. Especially the instrument cluster that now looks dated. However, functionality-wise, things are proper.
Quality aside, the interior is comfortable for front as well as rear seat passengers. The seats are comfortable for people of all sizes and two six footers can actually sit one behind the other. The rear bench is also comfortable for three average sized individuals, however, long journeys may not be very comfortable.
Boot space remains the same at 407-litres and three medium sized bags can fit in with ease. However, larger suitcases can be a bit tricky, because the wheel arches do eat into the trunk space.Technology
Features like automatic climate control and rear AC vents have been carried over. The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system offered with the updated Grand i10 is now available on the Xcent as well. The automatic variant, which isn’t available with this screen gets a mobile phone dock instead.
The Xcent is still feature loaded, but Hyundai has clippe features like auto-dimming interior rear view mirror and the cluster ionizer (keeps the air inside the car clean and odour free).Performance
The Xcent diesel makes 75PS of power and 190Nm of torque, which is now more potent than before. The engine is the same as the one on the updated Grand i10 and has similar performance characteristics are well.
On the move, you understand that this engine is ideal for the city. The clutch is light and bites early, and you can crawl ahead without actually needing to use the accelerator pedal. Dab the A-pedal and progress is quick.
Understandably, it isn’t as quick as the Grand i10 with a tested 0-100kmph time of 16.20 seconds (nearly 3 seconds slower than the G10). Even the in-gear acceleration isn’t as rapid with the rise from 30-80kmph taking 9.82 seconds (1.89 seconds more than the Grand i10).
However, by no means is it underserved as there’s enough grunt below 2,000rpm to make smooth headway. City speeds of 40-60kmph can be hit without much throttle input and thanks to the healthy low-rev performance, it’s also easy to get a good fuel efficiency figure, with our tests getting us 19.04kmpl in the city and 23.87kmpl on the highway.
There’s no use of teasing the redline with this engine and while rivals like the Aspire and Ameo offer exhilarating performance, the Xcent gives you exactly how much you need – nothing more, nothing less.
There’s a healthy mid-range as well, so sharp inclines can be taken in 2nd or 3rd gear and you can let the revs drop a fair bit before the need to shift down a cog comes up. Out on the highway, the Xcent will gladly do speeds of 100-120kmph without breaking a sweat. The snappy gearbox is great to use and the gear gates are well defined, making the Xcent pleasant to drive, if not exciting.Ride and Handling
The mechanicals of the Xcent remain unchanged. So, it's still as comfortable as before. Especially at slow speeds, the Xcent moves over road uncertainties with aplomb. The cabin remains quite flat and stable even at triple digit speeds. However, there is some noticeable vertical movement and when cornering at speeds, there is perceptible body roll. The brakes offer good stopping power and the Xcent sheds speeds with ease. 100-0kmph is done in 45.89 metres and it feels more surefooted in comparison to the Grand i10.
The steering doesn’t offer much feedback, but is light enough for city usage, weighs up well with speed and is responsive too.Verdict
Hyundai has played it safe with the Xcent facelift. The car looks brand new, but the essential package remains the same. The new diesel engine improves the car’s driveability, while features like the touchscreen infotainment system bring some much needed modernity to the table. What’s more, is that the prices haven’t seen a significant hike, making the new car a better value proposition. Overall, it certainly is a better machine than before and yes, the new Xcent is a good option for family car buyers.