The Hyundai Xcent, with its attractive looks, long list of features and frugal engines is set to shake up the sedan segment, writes Ouseph Chacko

Hyundai has just launched the Xcent, its new sub-four metre sedan that’s based on the Grand i10. There’s a nice sense of proportion to this Hyundai — the roof flows smoothly into the boot and the short nose also helps balance out the design. That the Xcent looks nice is no coincidence — Hyundai had a sedan in mind when it launched the Grand i10, the car the Xcent is based on. In fact, everything up to the B-pillar is identical to the hatchback, save for a bit of detailing.

Dimensionally, the Xcent shares the Grand i10’s 2,425mm wheelbase. . The dashboard too is shared with the Grand i10 and that means the quality is good, the design is appealing and it is easy to use. But there are small additions to the Xcent’s cabin — the cubbyhole under the centre console gets a closeable lid and it also features automatic climate control. The front seats, also from the Grand i10, are comfortable, while the rear seat gets the same amount of space as the hatch. There is enough space to stretch your legs and the car can easily fit four large adults. The wide doors also make getting in and out easy. The adjustable headrests and a rear centre armrest enhance comfort as well. The 407-litre boot is also the largest in this class.

Start the 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel and you get a few vibes at idle. Things smoothen out as you rev it a bit but there is some lag at low revs. In the Xcent, the mid-range is where you should be as it’s here that the engine feels the strongest. Hyundai says that a few tweaks to the ECU and a new electronically controlled wastegate (for the turbocharger) bump up power by 1bhp and 2.1kgm of torque over the Grand i10. This difference isn’t immediately apparent. Hyundai claims an ARAI tested 24.4kpl. The 1.2-litre Kappa2 petrol engine is much peppier. The 81.8bhp high-tech motor features variable valve timing (VTVT) and a drive-by-wire throttle.

Throttle responses are crisp and lightening quick. Hyundai is offering this engine with a four-speed automatic as well. Like the Grand i10 though, the Xcent feels easy to drive, with light controls and a slick gearshift.

Hyundai has tweaked the suspension settings to arrive at a more sedan-friendly ride. The other stand-out bit of the Xcent are its features. There are three variants — base, S and SX. The base variant gets central locking, a cooled glovebox, AC, power steering, front power windows and an engine immobiliser. On the outside it gets, body coloured bumpers and wheel covers.

The Xcent S variant comes equipped with goodies like fog lamps, body-coloured door mirrors and outside door handles, turn indicators on the wing mirrors, along with electrically adjustable and folding wing mirrors. It gets an integrated music system with radio, CD, MP3, aux-in, USB and Bluetooth compatibility. The music system also offers a 1 GB internal memory. On the inside, it gets chrome finish on the gear knob, steering-mounted controls, rear AC vents, front and rear power windows, adjustable driver's seat and tilt steering. It even gets a rear defogger and rear parking sensors. The top Xcent SX variant comes with leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather wrapped gear knob with chrome coating, and push button start/stop in addition to what you get on the S. This variant also gets a reversing camera, driver and passenger airbag, and 14-inch alloy wheels along with the option of choosing 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheel. The Xcent also gets two airbags and although ABS is optional.

You get all of this at quite a reasonable price. The prices of the petrol variants start at Rs. 4.66 lakh and go up to Rs. 6.47 lakh for the top SX (O) variant while the prices of the diesel starts at Rs. 5.56 lakh and goes upto Rs. 7.38 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi).