The compact sedan segment was first pioneered by Tata Motors to offer sedan-like features at hatchback-like price. But since then, the segment has seen several great products among which the contemporary Tata car was sidelined.
This segment then produced a great car, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire back in 2008 that enjoyed dominance over the others for quite a long period of time. The Swift Dzire is based on the Swift hatchback, just like the Honda Amaze (2013) is based on the Brio hatchback. These, along with the Hyundai Xcent (based on the Grand i10), has set up the segment perfectly for the later cars to find it tough to get going.
Even today, these three cars make up more than half of the total volume on the road. But even though these cars are immensely successful, there will always be a desire to find out the car that is the best among the top three. So, let’s just talk about these cars, comparing them inside out, to find out which is probably the best in the lot.
The new Maruti Suzuki Dzire (“Swift” moniker dropped) is the epitome of a crisp design and probably looks the best out the three. The front grille is now highlighted by a hexagonal shape with horizontal slats. The same sweptback projector headlamps are now underlined with DRLs. Down below, the spoiler too gets horizontally slatted radiator grille with black plastic cladded fog lamps on the two sides. The bonnet looks much more aggressive than before. The rear portion is not at bulgy as before and is straighter and classier. The rear portion has a thick strip of chrome running across the width of the car on the boot lid.
The Honda Amaze is sharp all around and is far more sculpted than any of the three. A thick line of chrome bisects the small top grille and merges into the sweptback angular headlamps cluster. The lower grille gets honeycomb mesh radiator and black plastic cladded foglamps. On the side of the car, there are two bold character lines, one from the front and the other from the back. The wheel arches are big and muscular. At the rear portion, there is the same chrome strip, but relatively thinner than the Dzire.
The Hyundai Xcent has been kept very upmarket and urban with its latest design update. Following the trend, the Xcent gets a single large hexagonal with horizontal slats. The headlamps cluster does not house the DRLs, which has been moved further below and has been added on the foglamps. The company has also tried to make the car look a little muscular by adding a black plastic cladding on the lower sides. The rear section is probably not as great as the Dzire, but it comes close to second as the new tail lights are now split between the regular position and the boot lid.
The interior features on the Maruti Suzuki Dzire have been a complete overhaul to what it was earlier. There is a new touchscreen infotainment system and the steering wheels are mounted with some controls as well. The seats are comfortable with good quality upholstery and ample legroom. The boot space of 320 litre is pretty decent too, making it a tough contender in the segment.
The Honda Amaze has evolved greatly over the previous generation. The new dashboard looks very similar to the one that we see in the Jazz hatchback. There also a new automatic climate control. Apart from the steering wheel and the titbits on the door panel, which remains the same as before, there are many new features to work with. The Amaze might look the smallest of the lot, but it has ample room for both the rows.
The Hyundai Xcent looks the best on the inside. The dual tone colour scheme makes the car the best among the competitors. It is a touchscreen infotainment system which comes with the connectivity options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The inside door handles are given a touch of metal. The car is also one of the most spacious of the lot possesses with a big boot which is only second to the new Tata Tigor. It has a 407 litres boot space which is ample for day-outs and picnics.
The Maruti Suzuki Dzire is available in both fuel options. The petrol trim comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine which makes a highest power of 83 bhp at 6,000 revs per minute along with a highest torque of 115 Nm at 4,000 revs per minute. The power is transmitted to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox. The diesel trims also get a 1.2-litre engine which makes a highest power of 74 bhp at just 4,000 revs minute and a peak torque of 90 Nm at 2,000 revs per minute. The transmission duties are fulfilled by a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox along with an option of a 5-speed AMT gearbox for the top end diesel variant.
The Honda Amaze is a little more powerful than the Dzire. The petrol version of the Amaze is powered by a 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine which makes a maximum power 89 bhp at 6,000 revs per minute and a peak torque of 109 Nm at 4,500 revs per minute. The power is transmitted to the wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox and an optional CVT gearbox for the top grade variants. The diesel variants come with a powerful 1,5-litre engine which makes the most power among its competitors. It makes a maximum power of 99 bhp at 3,600 revs per minute and a peak torque of 200 Nm at just 1,750 revs per minute. The transmission option for the diesel variants is fixed a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox.
The Hyundai Xcent gets a similar option as the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and a powerful diesel variant is missed. Both the petrol as well as the diesel variants come with a 1.2-litre engine. The gasoline motor makes 82 bhp of power at 6,000 revs per minute and 114 Nm torque at 4,000 revs per minute, while the diesel engine makes 74 bhp power and 190 Nm of maximum torque.
All of the three, Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent, are currently in their latest generation. Hence, comparing them makes it more justifiable and the result is surely accurate.
By far, if you looks at the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, you might not turn around to look at the other two. The Dzire undoubtedly has the best visual characteristics. On a similar note, the Honda Amaze is the most powerful car out of the three. And then, you have the Hyundai Xcent offering the best-in-class interior setup.
Having said that, there is always a strong chance that people will choose Dzire over the others. Reason? It has the best aesthetics and more importantly, it is a Maruti Suzuki, the leader in the passenger car segment.