69 days at the service centre & my Xcent is still not fully repaired

There are cars which are a delight to own for the short term but end up being a pain afterwards. Unfortunately, that summarises my Hyundai experience.

BHPian CrAzY dRiVeR recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Back home after 69 days!

So the Xcent was finally delivered today, after 69 days with partial work completed. This was after I lost patience and told the service manager how hard I plan to escalate the situation. That said – the issue was with Hyundai more than the service centre itself. The A.S.S and the SA in particular have been very helpful and responsive.

Why partial work? Because the catcon is still in backorder. I don’t understand why a company like Hyundai can’t arrange for a part in as many days!

The issue

Work done

Below is the sequence of events since the car was taken in for the transmission issue:

  • Car was first taken in on the 10th of March. They investigated the error code, removed it and asked to return it if it re-occurs.
  • Then on the 25th of March for the catcon issue.
  • Car was returned to them on the 1st of April 2022 after both issues reoccured.
  • They tried to remove the possibility of the gearbox being the culprit before finally deciding to check the ECM.
  • A spare unit was requested from an old test drive car. Never arrived.
  • After two weeks – a spare ECM was sourced from the Cochin hub and the car was tested to be fine with the spare ECM. The issue was narrowed down to ECM only now.
  • ECM was sent for repair and twice it came back without any luck. An order was placed for a new one.
  • The new ECM arrived and was tested. The gearbox shifting complaint seems to be resolved.
  • But the catcon was still giving continuous CEL and warnings and was also to be replaced. Both parts were ordered together, but the catcon took a week more to arrive.
  • Catcon finally arrived but in the wrong spec somehow – the unit was not a fit for my Hyundai Xcent. The order had to be placed again and now once again in backorder.

Service costs

Short TD impressions post service

Although too early to tell, at least for now, it looks like the gearbox is shifting without issues. The car was returned washed and vacuumed and almost with the same full tank of fuel that I had given them. But – no amount of vacuum cleaning can hide the damage done – evident with the soiled fabric on the seats!

Looks filthy and needs proper detailing:

My Hyundai dilemma! Why not move on?

With the car stuck at the service station, friends and family have been asking why not dispose of this Hyundai and move on to something else! That reasoning is not without its own logic too!

Two mega breakdowns

Two years (Covid first season) before – it had another breakdown that resulted in 47 days of the car being off the road, including 10 days at the service center. To be fair to Hyundai though – the restricted movement during lockdowns contributed majorly to the delays back then.

However – including the current issue – that’s a total of 116 days off the road in 31k kms of ownership!

The Root Cause: Poor manufacturing quality for long-term use. Failure of critical, but non-wear items like crankshaft bolt, ECM, catcon, etc. And then some nagging quality issues like a weak a/c compressor that requires regular attention, repeated ABS sensor failures etc.

The spiralling service costs

How much does it cost to maintain a small Hyundai car for 31k kms? Apparently ~1.33 lakhs, or Rs 4.14/km, excluding the catcon which is supposed to be another 20k worth of upcoming expense.

Strangely enough – maintaining a diesel Punto for 2L+ kms cost me Rs 3.06L or Rs 1.5/km.

The tin-can safety

The car was bought prior to GNCAP days, hoping the top variant would provide adequate safety with all those features. Now we all know the truth behind that! Hyundai in fact is even worse than Maruti in almost all the segments tested.

Thankfully, the car is barely used on highways. In fact, it is barely used and is primarily used by parents for their hospital visits and city runs.

The pathetic FE

For a small 1.2 petrol – the city FE is just about two-digit figures at best!

The dilemma: Reasons to retain the car

The obvious way out is to change the car. However, the problem is that a change doesn’t make any sense – given the very low usage at hand and the steep price increases over the recent years.

  • Low usage: The car has averaged ~3750kms/year and that figure is only likely to reduce further. Mostly used by parents for mom’s hospital visits, and even that is a losing battle against Uber these days due to parking constraints at the hospital. Plus I’m in my hometown in the present scenario and the Compass is around as the primary vehicle.
  • Perfect use case: With all of its defects, the Xcent is still an excellent city (automatic) car – equipped with a smooth 4-speed torque converter transmission, light controls, small size, slab-sided panels and good visibility. In fact, when we bought the car – it was almost like made to order for our requirements and still continues to be so, except for the reliability aspect.
  • The planet of the AMTs: Very difficult to get a proper automatic these days, with most of the entry-level options being AMT. We can’t go any wider (parking issues with the Compass too at home) and hence some of the options like Jazz CVT, the new Amaze CVT, Kiger/Magnite CVTs etc are not feasible. And also expensive for the use case scenario!
  • Steep prices: Exchanging to an entry-level SPresso AMT would require another 2-2.5 lakhs. Which sounds ridiculous considering the minimal use of the car.
  • EV prospects: Entry-level EVs are there, but not there yet! The only cheap replacement would be a Tigor EV, which requires an additional 10L for even the base variant. Again, not worth the investment for the limited usage.

The best option forward

I will hang on for a few more years and wait for the onslaught of the more affordable EVs from either Maruti Suzuki or TATA. With the ECM and Catcon fixed, hopefully, it should buy me a few thousand more kilometres before another major issue.

Fingers crossed!

All said and done – No more Hyundai/Kia long-term ownership for me. There are cars which are a delight to own for the short term, but end up being a pain afterwards – and unfortunately, that summarises my Hyundai experience. Best to sell these off when the warranty period expires.

Tech gets outdated pretty past and what we are left with – is a car with compromised mechanicals underneath – be it in terms of engineering, safety, quality or reliability.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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