Comparison: Maruti Suzuki Celerio vs Alto
Thats the effect a small sedan has on the Indian consumer. A sub-four-metre compact sedan is an aspirational product and thus consumers carefully decide which one to buy. The current players are the Maruti Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze, Tata Indigo and the newest one I am driving, the Hyundai Xcent. Although it fills the shoes of the Accent (1999-2013) and even sounds the same, the Xcent has nothing in common with Hyundais old warhorse.
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The Xcent is actually the Grand i10 with a boot. Modelled on Hyundais fluidic design language, the side profile of the car is striking. The top-end variant gets 15-inch diamond cut alloys that give it an upmarket feel. The rear is well proportioned but the wraparound tail-lamps have a love-me-or-hate-me lookchrome inserts in the tail-lamps look garish.
The Xcents USP is its 407-litre best-in-class boot space. From the front the Xcent looks exactly like the Grand i10 and I wish Hyundai could have made it look differentthe Xcent, after all, is an aspirational car! The top-end variant has electronic mirrors that automatically fold out when the car is unlocked and fold in when the car is locked. Lovely! Overall, while the Xcent doesnt wow you with its design, it is a smart looking car.
X factor: 7/10
The cabin of the Xcent is feature-rich, to say the least. The dual-tone dashboard is well laid out and all the controls are easy to reach. In the top-end variant there are some segment-first features such as a parking camera display on the rear-view mirror. There are some loveable features too, such as push button start with smart key, storage options in door trims and centre console, climate control, cooled glovebox the list goes on. Despite the Xcent being the narrowest car in its segment, the rear is roomy. Another first-in-class feature is rear AC vents that work well to keep the summer heat at bay. The rear seat also gets an arm rest.
X factor: 10/10
The top-end SX variant gets dual airbags as standard, but ABS comes only as an option in the S and SX variants. Steering mounted audio controls, rear parking assist and rear defogger are available only in the S and SX variants.
X factor: 7/10
Powered by the 1.2-litre Kappa dual VTVT engine that develops an output of 83PS and a torque of 11.6kgm, the Xcent petrol comes with a 5-speed manual transmission and a 4-speed auto-box. The engine is smooth, power delivery is linear and throttle response is quick. According to ARAI, this engine has a mileage of 19.1 kmpl.
X factor: 8/10
Powered by the 1.1-litre U2 CRDi engine that develops an output of 72PS and a torque of 18.4kgm, the Xcent diesel comes with a 5-speed manual transmission option. The U2 CRDi engine is Euro V ready and has low NVH levelsI expected some amount of diesel murmur when I fired the engine, but with the climate control on, all I could hear was the sound of the fan inside the cabin. Because the engine generates high low-end torque, minimal gear shifts are required at low speeds. But this 3-cylinder motor lacks top-end punch. According to ARAI, this engine has a mileage of 24.4 kmpl.
X factor: 8/10
On the road
The good news is that the steering feel on the Xcent is unlike what some Hyundai cars are infamous forit is responsive and you feel connected to the road. Overall, the Xcent is involving to drive, the suspension absorbs most potholes and the car doesnt nervously bounce on bad roads. The ABS-powered car I have driven offers a sure-footed stopping power.
X factor: 9/10
Smart looks, delightful cabin, decent safety features in the S and SX variants, right engines and a good ride qualitythere are a lot of things that work for the car. Add to these Hyundais aggressiveness on the pricing front, and you have the makings of a winner. At Rs 4.66 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the Base petrol, the Xcent, clearly, is the most value-for-money compact sedan in the Indian market today.