Maruti Dzire vs Honda Amaze Diesel Manual: Road...
- Oct 25, 2018
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The compact sedan segment is a huge success in India, created by laws but driven by the psychology of the Indian car buyer which gives a clear mandate to car manufacturers. A large majority of car buyers though are buying the diesel engine equipped compact sedan - the larger boot over their hatchback counterparts and the status symbol of the three-box shape going in the sedan’s favour. With the petrols, on the face of it, it’s just the social standing that would tilt a purchase in the sedan’s favour over the hatchback. In the real world though, is there more? We pit the Hyundai Xcent against the Honda Amaze in this petrol comparison review to find a definitive answer.
When we compared the diesels, the Xcent came out on top on nearly all counts barring space and engine performance. The Amaze proved to the more spacious of the two and it had the larger, more enjoyable and more fuel efficient engine. You can read our diesel review here
In case of the petrols, the Xcent overcomes one of these shortcomings. The Amaze remains the more spacious of the two, but the Hyundai’s 1.2-litre kappa engine packs in as much punch as the Amaze’s 1.2-litre i-VTEC mill; at least on paper, it does. In the real world, even though the two engines have similar engine capacities and outputs, these have very different characteristics. While the Xcent is a bit short on power to the Amaze – 83PS to the latter’s 88PS, it gives an impression of much more power packed in. That’s because the Xcent feels more eager even at part throttle. The Amaze feels a bit more leisurely at ambling speeds, especially in stop-go traffic. This also translates into quicker acceleration times for the Xcent and it proves to be more fun getting off the block.
Drive both cars with a heavy foot on a flat stretch of road and both seem eager to perform. The Xcent engine just sounds better; for a small four-pot unit it makes the right noises tempting you to drive with the butterflies completely open. The Honda, not so much, but it does perform better at high revs than at ambling speeds. Show the two cars some corners though, and the Amaze comes up on top. The steering is more accurate and you have more confidence carrying speed into a corner compared to the Xcent. The Xcent’s steering feels vague and artificial in comparison and requires more inputs too. As far as gear shifts go, the Hyundai Xcent offers slicker shifts but with a tad heavier clutch to the Amaze.
As speeds build up, the Xcent feels the better of the two till you find an undulation somewhere down the road. That’s because the Xcent is better built and better insulated on the inside. NVH levels are remarkable, masking the speed you are travelling at. The Amaze lets a lot more road and wind noise into the cabin, but as I said, it’s till you encounter that undulation or unexpected bump on the road. The Amaze handles it with more poise. The Xcent isn’t too bad by any means, but it’s just not that planted. Low speed ride is fantastic on the Xcent while at high speeds, the Amaze has better ride and feels more sure footed.
But let’s be fair, if you wanted a driver’s car in this range, you’d go for a Polo GT TSI. These two cars will be used mainly for city jaunts, with an occasional highway run for a family of four. Besides an easy to drive city car, which both qualify as, an average Indian family wants enough space on the inside and a set of pampering features. Here the Xcent and the Amaze trade blows.
We are still pleasantly surprised with Honda’s packaging. The Amaze gets more space in the rear compared to the Brio while the Xcent cabin is identical in terms of size to the Grand i10. The front seats of the Amaze are more comfortable and larger than the Xcent. Hyundai could have given the front seats a bit more cushioning. There’s also a lot more room on the sides in the Amaze. I constantly ended up touching the side of my left knee on the plastic panel in the Xcent, reminding me of the lesser space. Then again, there may not be surplus but just the right amount of space for four passengers in the Hyundai.
The Xcent fights back with its superiorly specified interior. The Amaze in comparison feels basic in this top-end variant. The Xcent comes with automatic climate control, rear AC vents, Bluetooth connectivity, parking sensors with a reverse parking camera, push button start-stop, all of which aren’t available in the Amaze. Sure the AC vents for the rear passengers aren’t too effective but they make the occupants feel special; in fact every single one of the above mentioned features do. The Xcent in top trim with its option pack also rides on larger 15 inch wheels with beautifully designed alloys to the slightly dated Amaze alloy designs on 14 inch wheels.
Add to that the quality of materials used at all the touch points, from the buttons on the centre console, to the steering wheel to the shape and lower lining of the gear lever, they all make the Xcent feel a segment superior to the Amaze. The Amaze is selling well due to its diesel variant and doesn’t require a facelift right away, but next to the Xcent, it feels in need of a refresh, at least on the inside. Both cars are on par when it comes to safety. Two airbags and ABS come as standard and the Xcent and the Amaze get discs in front and drums at the rear. The Xcent has strong brakes but they could have been a bit more progressive.
When it comes to pricing, it’s hard to make a convincing case for the Amaze. It is priced at Rs 6.64 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, which is about Rs 14,000 more than an equivalent Xcent trim. The price difference gets amplified though considering the Xcent has a long list of premium features that you don’t get in the Amaze. The Xcent just is a much better all-round package than the Amaze when it comes to petrol variants.
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