The Hyundai Xcent has been a staple in the Hyundai range, offering a more practical choice to Grand i10 buyers, with longer wheelbase resulting in better rear legroom and the addition of a fairly large boot. It has enjoyed reasonable success for the last three years and Hyundai has updated it for 2017. We take the new one for a spin to see if the changes have worked.
The Xcent gets the new global face which Hyundai says is inspired from flowing molten metal. The front grill is a bit oversized though, but the bumper with the new DRLs and more pronounced nacelles around the fog lamps look great. The rear with the extended taillamps makes the car look more expensive. The model we tested wasn’t the top spec car, which comes with even better looking 15 inch alloys on wider 175/60 R15 tyres.
New to the car inside is the improved 7 inch touchscreen which reminds me of the one from the Elantra. It also incorporates Android Auto and Apple Car Play and is very intuitive to use. The dashboard is very well put together and the controls are where you expect them to be. Legroom isn’t bad, but you wish the rear seat would be wider for three abreast seating. The 407 litre boot is rather larger for its segment.
The biggest improvement however is the engine. Gone is the lethargic 1.1 litre and in its place there is a new 1.2litre diesel motor producing 75bhp and 190N-m torque. This motor is not only more refined, but also faster than the earlier diesel. We recorded a 0-100kmph time of 15.32 seconds in the new car which is remarkable considering the old one took nearly 18.56 seconds to hit a ton. It is however the only three cylinder motor in its class and you can easily tell that from the way it idles. It is quite refined for a three cylinder motor and once you are on the move, you don’t really notice the vibration. There is decent poke once you cross 2000rpm but the powerband is very narrow tapering off after 3500rpm. It is also supposedly very fuel efficient, although we didn’t test the real world economy. The gearshift action on the 5 speed box is quite nice.
Also improved with the new Xcent is the ride quality. The previous car was known to be a little harsh over bad roads but this one is much more supple. It never feels unsettled on bad patches. There is better damping and it shows in the way it tackles corners too. Although the steering is a little light it is quite accurate and feels more connected to the road than before.
The Xcent also comes with a1.2 petrol engine, but it is the diesel variant that sees most improvement. Performance is much better and so is drivability. The additional features are welcome too. And like always, it feels well built than most cars in its class and comes with a fairly large boot. With more power and better road manners, there has never been a better time to buy an Xcent, than now.