The realm of the compact sedan in India is a crowded one and two heavyweight competitors at the top of the hill are the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and the Honda Amaze. These 2 cars have all that it takes for being the most dominant in the segment and have been slugging it out for the crown for quite some time now. However now, the battle is poised to become even harder as a third entrant is all set to join in. The car in question is the Hyundai Xcent and now that it has been launched, we'll do a quick comparo to see what's what.
The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire did not go down very well in the styling department but there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that this was one extremely capable car. The sales figures of this car spoke for themselves – the Dzire was one of Maruti Suzuki’s best selling cars ever. In its current avatar, this compact sedan is driven by either a 1.3 litre, 74 bhp diesel engine or a 1.2 litre, 86 bhp petrol engine; both of which are connected to either a 5 speed manual or a 4 speed automatic transmission.
The Honda Amaze was an instant hit right from day one partly because of the fact that it is a great little compact city car and mostly because this was the first diesel powered Honda available on sale in India. The 1.5 litre diesel motor put out a healthy 99 hp and could be connected to either a 5 speed manual or a 5 speed automatic gearbox.
There is also the choice of a 1.2 litre petrol engine that develops 87 bhp. The car had the plus point of being very roomy for both passengers and luggage despite falling in the compact, sub 4 metre category.
The 1.1 litre, 70 bhp diesel motor and the 1.2 litre, 81 bhp petrol unit powering the Hyundai Xcent might seem familiar and for good reason. These 2 engines are the very same units that drive the Hyundai Grand i10. One can be sure that they will do a good job in the Xcent as well since they have given the Grand i10 owners and users no reason whatsoever to gripe about them. If you buy the Xcent with a diesel engine, you will get a 5 speed manual gearbox but if your car has a petrol motor under the bonnet, you can have either the 5 speed manual or a 4 speed automatic transmission.
The Maruti Swift Dzire does rather well on the features and comforts front. The top end variant gets climate control, alloy wheels, central locking, electrically adjustable rear view mirrors, an audio system with MP3, USB and aux-in capability, ABS and airbags. The Amaze also has a good bit of kit, including features such as power foldable rear view mirrors, steering mounted audio controls, an engine immobilser, ABS with EBD, an eco lamp to indicate efficient driving and so on.
But when it comes to features, the Hyundai Xcent outdoes both these cars. Easily. This car gets push button engine ignition, rear parking camera, steering mounted audio controls, rear air conditioning vents, a sound system with a 1GB internal memory and USB connectivity, automatic climate control and so on. The interiors of the Xcent are a notch above that of the Amaze with its premium look and the materials used.
All these cars are priced competitively, with the prices in New Delhi of the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire ranging from just over INR 4.85 lakhs (base model, petrol) to INR 7.32 lakhs (top-end diesel model). The Honda Amaze starts from INR 4.99 lakhs for the base petrol variant and goes on to INR 7.49 lakhs for the top-end diesel.
The newly released Hyundai Xcent price bracket starts from INR 4.66 lakhs for the base petrol variant and INR 5.56 lakhs for the base diesel version. The top-end diesel will cost you INR 7.40 lakhs (all prices ex-showroom, New Delhi). With such killer pricing by Hyundai, the Xcent has a massive edge in the war for compact sedan supremacy.
Hyundai Xcent launch video