Hyundai launches the Xcent compact sedan in India

Hyundai Motor India Limited stormed into the booming compact sedan segment in India with the launch of its India-specific Xcent today. Based on the Grand i10 hatchback and restricted to less than 4 meters in length, the Xcent meets the Indian Government's small car regulations that offers an excise duty cut. The Xcent marks Hyundai's entry into a segment that's been witnessing record sales of late and has caught the attention of every automotive manufacturer serious about the Indian market.

Just like its competitors, the Xcent is essentially a boot added on to its hatchback sibling, the Grand i10. Until the rear doors, there is absolutely nothing to differentiate the two cars. The familiar hexagonal grille, the peeled-back headlights and the subtle chrome garnish gives the Xcent a mature European look up front, which is gradually lost as we move towards the rear. The integration of boot is neat and doesn't appear disproportionate or distorted, signaling that Hyundai's designers have been working on the sedan variant of the Grand i10 right from the initial stages of development.

That said, the Xcent is definitely a blip in the Korean manufacturer's form book that brought out fantastic-looking cars one after the other. Park the Xcent next to the Verna, Elantra and Sonata and you will know what we are trying to say.

The interiors, powertrain and underpinnings of the Xcent are carried over from the Grand i10 too. That would mean that the Xcent comes with good-looking, feature-loaded interiors with excellent build quality, fit and finish. A host of first-in-segment features such as rear air-conditioning vents, music system with 1GB internal memory, push-button start, rear parking camera with sensors and chilled glove-box make their debut in the Xcent. The feature list of the top-end variant includes automatic climate control, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), airbags for the driver and front passenger and 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.

Engine options include the familiar 1.2-liter 'Kappa' petrol and the 1.1-liter U2 CRDi diesel mills. While the former is available with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions and belts out 83 ps of maximum power at 6000 rpm and 11.6 kgm of torque at 4000 rpm, the latter is only available with a 5-speed manual tranny and churns out 72 ps of power at 4000 rpm and 18.4 kgm of torque between 1750 to 2500 rpm. Given that a 1.5-liter diesel engine powers the Honda Amaze, Hyundai should have plonked in the 1.4-liter diesel engine from the i20 atleast in the top trim level of the Xcent.

Three trim levels - Base, S and SX are on offer, with the latter two also coming with an option pack. Prices for the manual petrol variants start from INR 4.66 Lakhs for the Base and go up to INR 6.47 Lakhs for the SX(O) variant. The diesel variants retail between INR 5.56 Lakhs and INR 7.38 Lakhs while the two petrol automatic variants are priced at INR 6.28 Lakhs and INR 7.19 Lakhs. All prices are ex-showroom Delhi. That's a brilliant pricing strategy from Hyundai, especially for the base and mid variants.

Taking on well-established cars like the Maruti-Suzuki Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze and Tata Indigo eCS, the Hyundai Xcent has its work cut out. But, if sales of the Grand i10 is any indication, we expect the Xcent to face little trouble convincing customers to part with their hard-earned money. After two years at the top of the mid-size sedan segment, the Verna is now being left far behind by the new Honda City. Will Hyundai settle matters by beating the Amaze with the Xcent? Let's wait and watch.

1 comment:

  1. Hyundai Xcent has its work cut out. But, if sales of the Grand i10 is any indication, we expect the Xcent to face little trouble convincing customers to part with their hard-earned money.