Hyundai India has become the 2nd leading carmaker in the Indian market, and the sole reason for the Korean automaker’s success is the Santro. It all harks back 20 years into the past. You see, the Santro was the first product from Hyundai, and hitting success with that first product in a new market is exactly the kind of dream that lulls business moguls to sleep at night. Despite an unconventional tall-boy design, the Santro single-handedly laid the foundation for what the Korean automaker, aka Hyundai, has transformed into today.
Fast-forward 20 years, and while the Santro evolved into the more-premium i10, which in turn evolved into the Grand i10, the second-generation Santro needs to fill those shoes that were left untied by the Eon. That said, the new Santro is based on a new platform, with a 1.1-liter gasoline heart from the i10, with major improvements to the efficiency and to also ensure the engine meets the strict BS-VI norms come April 2020. Now without much further-a-do, let’s begin the Hyundai Santro review.
The urban Tall-boy!
Exterior wise, the Santro looks quite snazzy and impressive – while the new design does away with the tall-boy silhouette of its predecessor, the stance looks very identical to the Grand i10. And in all fairness, it shares the K1 platform with its bigger sibling. So inspired by its design, the Santro has many similar design elements such as the sweptback headlamps and the big cascading Hyundai grille, which in my opinion, looks a bit disproportionate.
Come to the side, and there are some nifty details like the boomerang creases over the front wheel arch and the rear wheel arch. What could have added some flavor to the side profile is the inclusion of alloy-wheels, at least on the top-spec Asta trim? But, it will take Hyundai another generation to consider that, to say the least. The rear is well designed, and it looks the most proportionate and urban from the rear end. What we also liked in our Santro review is the Diana Green shade, which certainly looks dope.
The inside story
Talking about the Diana Green shade, it is the only variant to get an all-black interior with neon green highlights over the top. For one, the air-con vents, the gear level borderline, and the seat belts are finished in a new green shade, which looks absolutely sporty. As for the other six colors, the interior comes with a dual-tone finish with golden highlights. On the equipment front, the Santro comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with usual suspects like Android Auto and Apple Carplay. In addition to that, there’s a segment-first rear air-con vent, steering-mounted audio controls, and a conventional tachometer. Safety-wise, all the variants are equipped with ABS with EBD and a driver-side airbag, while the top-end Asta trim offers a passenger airbag as well.
The one aspect I liked about the interior is space management. And in our time drafting the Hyundai Santro review, there were no complaints with the interior space. With scooped out seat backs, lower seating position, and an immaculate amount of headroom, the Santro is easily one of the most spacious cars in the segment. However, we would have liked at least telescopic adjust for the steering, which can be a concern for tall drivers.
But how is it to drive?
The second-generation of the Santro comes powered by a 1,086cc four-cylinder petrol engine, an updated version of the Epsilon engine that puts out 68bhp and 99Nm of maximum torque. Out on the smooth tarmac, the Santro feels well planted and body roll was quite manageable with good response from the steering wheel. The steering wheel, unlike other Hyundais, weighs up decently and transmits lots of road information to the driver. The Epsilon engine is rev happy, gains up momentum quite eagerly, and it feels refined until you start going pedal to the medal.
The Santro comes with two transmission options – a 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT. The manual is a revised version of the i10’s gearbox and it works very well with shifts, the gear lever slides into place very crisply and the smoothness is just commendable. However, it’s the AMT that we loved in our Santro review and it works fantastically well. The upshifts are smooth and the downshifts are just natural and buttery. In fact, the automated transmission is as smooth as it can get to a conventional torque converter. And that says a lot.
Should you get one?
The Santro has a lot going for it. To put things into perspective, this is not the entry-level Santro Zing that was a rival to the Alto K10 or the Renault Kwid, this is a replacement to the i10 and it will be going up against the Tata Tiago and the third-generation WagonR, for when it comes. Sure, the design is quirky, it has its ups and downs, but that’s how the original was, and it worked quite well at that time. In my opinion, the Santro ticks all the boxes for a mid-size hatchback, be it the roomy interior, the extensive equipment list or the refined engine. And being a Hyundai with a glorious past – it is bound to sell well too. To read our full verdict and the extensive Hyundai Santro review, be sure to visit us at autoX.