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Hyundai Xcent 1.2L Kappa petrol: 6,000km long term review

Two months in, our petrol Xcent keeps the odo ticking without a glitch, well almost

Hyundai Xcent petrol rear static at Dharamshala

You really get to know a car’s breadth of talents or the lack of it with a long distance trip out of town. Our long term Hyundai Xcent petrol might be a commuter car with a small capacity 1.2-litre engine but it’s a car with a boot. That’s its USP over a Grand i10 and the only time you really use a boot is for a trip to or from the airport/train station or a jaunt out of town. So as we promised earlier, we have put it through the grind for a ten hour drive to the hills of Himachal and back over a long weekend trip. 

Mcleodganj in Himachal is a little over 500km from Delhi. Almost throughout the drive, the roads are smooth and fast till you hit the hills after a village called Amb en route. And that really gave us the opportunity to give the 1.2 kappa engine the beans over an extended period. With a full complement of passengers and luggage in the boot, the Xcent didn’t have the legs to maintain high speeds unless the right foot was buried deep in. It is happy maintaining upwards of 3000-3500 rpm though, and even at high engine speeds, NVH levels inside the cabin were impressive. Engine and tyre noise was almost non-existent making it a rather tireless affair. What did wear us out though were the front seats that, as I had mentioned in an earlier report, are a bit low on cushioning.  

Hyundai Xcent petrol chai break along the highway

Once we hit the twisties, the speeds were lower and the Xcent felt more comfortable. Second and third gear almost throughout the 100km long winding stretch going up to Dharamshala at the foothills of Mcloadganj was where the Xcent’s petrol engine impressed. With the engine in the meat of its powerband, progress was quicker than on the highway, not in terms of outright speed of course, but the effort required in maintaining relative pace. The Xcent is still set up on the softer side giving ride priority over handling. So while the car soaks up undulations with ease, it’s not as surefooted at higher speeds.

Hyundai Xcent petrol at Anandpur Sahib gates en route Dharamshala

That said the Xcent is much better than the now defunct i20 I took to the hills a few months ago. It feels a lot more confident comparatively and that helps in maintaining higher average speeds over a period of time. The light steering though requires a lot of input for small direction changes and I wish it was a bit more direct for an enjoyable drive in the hills.  

Just two months into its introduction to our long term fleet, the Hyundai Xcent has clocked over 6,000km. That’s a lot of running for a new petrol car in such a short span and now it is due for a service soon. Ownership has been almost entirely faultless last month. What did irk me a bit was that the trip computer entirely reset itself. The trip computer also measures drive time which is pre-programmed to reset every 100 hours but the rest of it shouldn’t reset unless manually done. Besides that, the Xcent was hassle free.
Drive up the hills returned 9.95kmpl which is not too bad. High loads and steep inclines do impact fuel efficiency. On the way back, I got a rather impressive fuel efficiency figure of 14.7kmpl and I wasn’t making any effort to save fuel. It gives the Xcent a realistic range of over 550km on a full tank when most of the drive done is on highways.

Date Acquired: June 20 2014
Total km till date: 6035km
Fuel consumed: 163 litres (Since last report) 
Efficiency: Best – 14.7kmpl, Worst – 9.95kmpl, Average – 13.7kmpl (As tested)
Cheers: Smooth engine, NVH levels, boot space
Sneers: Front seats, Trip computer glitch
Total Cost:  Nil

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