The Indian compact sedan segment is all set to have its feathers ruffled again, with a new entrant from Hyundai’s stable – the Xcent – which has just gone on sale. It’s derived from the very successful Grand i10, and all of the hatchback’s hallmarks have been carried forth – good legroom in the back, lots of features and a quality interior. But this segment already has two major players – Maruti’s Swift Dzire, for a time the second-best selling car in India, andHonda’s Amaze, which once boasted of being the most fuel efficient car in the country. The new Hyundai’s Xcent will have these two to answer to, so how does it square up ?
It’s time to find out how the newest entrant in the compact sedan class compares with established competition. It’s time for the new Hyundai Xcent to take on the Honda Amaze and the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire.
Let’s find out.
The compact sedan makes a very good case for itself. It is under 4-metre in length making it easy to park and convenient to live with in the city. And because it competes with hatchbacks, it is also efficient and priced very well, particularly for a sedan. Of course, the excise duty sop helps with the pricing.
The best option in this class for the longest time was the Dzire. And, for good reason. It looked modern, it had a nice interior, it wasn’t short on equipment, and being a Maruti, it had a huge service network backing it. No wonder, it sold extremely well; it still does in fact. The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire is the best selling sedan in the country currently.
Then came the Honda Amaze, and it offered more space, a bigger, more powerful and more fuel efficient engine, and of course, higher snob value with that Honda badge on its nose. It too found a good fan following, but naturally with a smaller network, it hasn’t been able to sell in as high numbers as the Dzire.
Now, we have a third entrant. It is backed by a huge service network like the Dzire. It’s spacious, and though it doesn’t have a large and powerful engine, it is efficient. And surprisingly, it’s quite driveable too. Its biggest selling point however, is the feature list it comes with as standard. It is the new Hyundai Xcent, the Korean firm’s first attempt at a sub 4-metre sedan. And going by what we have seen so far, it is a very good attempt.
But, is it good enough to beat the Dzire and the Amaze? To find out we have with us top of the line diesel versions of the three cars – The Hyundai Xcent SX Crdi, the Honda Amaze VX iDtec and the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire Zdi.
Well, if design is a big consideration for you, the Xcent makes sense; at least in parts. It looks exactly like the Grand i10 hatchback it is based on from the front giving it a modern yet elegant aura. Even from the side, the boot gels well with the overall proportions of the car and there’s nothing odd-ball about its design. The rear though, isn’t as impressive; we found the tail lamps to be a bit undefined.