Picture this. I am driving a new car on the Outer Ring Road, Hyderabad, when I see in my rear-view mirror a Maruti Swift Dzire repeatedly flashing its headlights. Surprised, and a bit nervous because seconds ago I had swiftly overtaken that car, I pull over to the side. The moustached man turns out to be a curious soul and inquires about the small sedan I am sitting in. And why not, he has just bought the Dzire and is now perhaps having second thoughts.
Comparison: Maruti Suzuki Celerio vs Alto
That’s 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 Hyundai’s old warhorse.
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The Xcent is actually the Grand i10 with a boot. Modelled on Hyundai’s 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 look—chrome inserts in the tail-lamps look garish.
The Xcent’s 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 different—the 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 doesn’t 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