After the Grand i10, now comes the turn of the Xcent to get its share of makeover for the year 2017. Has Hyundai been able to justify the alterations done to a segment benchmark? Let’s take a closer look!
We were quite impressed when Hyundai brought forward the 2017 avatar of the Grand i10 earlier this year. The transformation done truly justified the icon, with further improving its quotient and desirability factor. That said, its also raised our hopes and expectation as we waited in anticipation for the South Korean automaker to launch the 2017 avatar of the Xcent in India. Well now the new iteration of this compact sedan is amongst us and for starters it looks as if our hopes and expectations have been given a worthy conclusion. But does all the modifications, alterations and additions done to the Xcent takes this segment benchmark a step ahead or is there still something that Hyundai has missed out on ?
First we take into consideration the exterior styling of the 2017 Hyundai Xcent. This is one area which needs to be taken in to maximum consideration as it is this aspect on which Hyundai has devoted its maximum attention to, with this facelift. Up-front you are to find Hyundai’s new cascade design grille which the automaker has provided with an open-hearted chrome treatment, around it and on the multiple slats. One is also to take due notice of the now completely restyled front bumper that comes with rectangular fog-lamps with LED DRLs curved around the ex-stream edges and cleverly places air-curtains (air-intakes) for better aerodynamic purposes. To sum it up, in our point of view, the 2017 Xcent’s front fascia now looks considerably much more aggressive than the earlier model’s rather timid and soft looks.
The side profile, apart from the implementation of new panels thanks to the aesthetic modifications done to the front and the rear fascia, remains identical to the previous model, which all things considered is a good thing off-course. However, one is to find new 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, if you were to buy the top spec SX(0) trim. While the rear is where all the magic has taken place, it is here you see that the 2017 Xcent’s true facelift characteristics. The rear-end of this compact sedan has been completely restyled and looks nothing like the previous iteration.
The biggest highlight are off-course the new 2-piece wraparound tail-lamps. They seem to take their design inspiration from the ones seen on the Hyundai Creta and possess quite a bit of detailing which provide them with an air of sophistication. Other than that, there is a redesigned boot-lid and a dual-tone bumper. Also, another significant plus point for the Xcent is that all these features provide the sedan with its own unique identity and does not make it seem as a mere elongated version of the Grand i10 hatchback.
Unlike the exterior of the 2017 Hyundai Xcent, the automaker has kept the changes done inside the cabin to a bare minimum. The dashboard design, material quality, the ergonomics, creature comforts all have been taken forward with this facelifted avatar of the compact sedan. That said, there is ideally nothing much to complain about. The Xcent’s cabin has always been a nice place to be in and we are glad to report that it continues to be the same with this new iteration as well.
The only major change or should one say addition, is the new 7-inch touchscreen AVN system, the same unit which we saw on the Grand i10 facelift. This infotainment system is breeze to operate and comes with features like Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Mirror link connectivity, voice recognition and smart phone Navigation. Not only this, the screen also doubles up as the display for a rear parking camera which comes with guiding lines, a must have in sedans.
Other than this, the 2017 Xcent continues to come with automatic climate control with rear air-con vents, multi-functional steering wheel, smart key with engine push start-stop, cooled glove box, two 12V power sockets, electrically adjustable and electronically fold-able ORVMS, day and night IRVMs, new seat upholstery to name a few. Increasing the safety quotient of the Xcent with the 2017 makeover, Hyundai has provided this compact sedan with dual-airbags as standard across the entire range while the higher variants also come fitted with ABS.
Engine and Performance
With this 2017 iteration, Hyundai has introduced a new 1.2-litre U2 CRDi unit in the Xcent, replacing the earlier 1.1-litre oil-burner. This new engine is the same unit which we saw in the Grand i10 facelift, churning out 73 Bhp along with 190 Nm of peak torque. For this road test, we had with us the 1.2-litre VTVT petrol engine. This gasoline motor comes with a power generation capability of 81 Bhp while the torque figure stands at 114 Nm. The transmission responsibilities are taken care of by a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The moment you turn the ignition, a thing that becomes quite evident is that this engine has been designed to offer a smooth drive. The motor is so silent, especially when on idle, along with almost negligible vibrations, that you often have to check the instrument cluster to see if the car was switched on or not. Slot in the gear and you are rewarded with seamless power delivery curve, but only if you are not an enthusiastic driver. There is indeed a bit of a lag in lower RPM’s which only evens out once the engine is well past the 1,500 mark. That said, the 2017 Xcent is no track monster but a compact sedan which promises to offer you a smooth city or highway cruise and we are happy to report that it does its job quite brilliantly. The clutch action is a breeze and the gears slot in their respective positions readily, almost enthusiastically.
But the biggest USP of the Xcent is its ride quality, which if to be put into simple words is quite sublime. Not very often would you feel a bump being felt inside the cabin. The suspension, McPherson Strut at the front and couples torsion beam towards the rear, evens out almost every rough patch thrown at them. This experience is further enhanced by the car’s superior build quality which translates into low NVH levels, even better than some of current C-segment sedans.
Coming back to the drivability aspect, the electric power steering stays light when at parking speeds and weighs up perfectly when cruising. The sedan offers good visibility all around and is quite easy to maneuver in city traffic and even through tight spots.
So should you buy one? Well, definitely! With the 2017 iteration, the Hyundai Xcent for sure has stepped up its game. It now comes with an improved styling, increase convenience and safety features while at the same time continues to offer its traditional superior build quality which once again makes it a benchmark in the segment. That said, competition is on the rise and we are soon going to see the launch of new iteration of Xcent’s biggest competitor, the next-gen Maruti Swift Dzire.