2018 Hyundai Santro 5 First Impressions
- Oct 9, 2018
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The new Hyundai Santro, which was unveiled recently at the company’s Chennai R&D facility, is probably the most talked about car of 2018. And with a scheduled launch on Oct 23, it is also the most awaited car of this festive season.
Even as the Santro was put out of production in early 2015 to accommodate newer generation models like the Elite i20 and the Creta, its popularity never really waned among loyalists and enthusiasts alike. And once the news of the Santro’s retirement was out, many prospective customers even paid a premium to get the original ‘Tall boy’ home as stocks quickly depleted.
That in itself says quite a lot about the pedigree of the Santro and the contribution it had in establishing the Hyundai brand in India. However, with the retirement of the Santro in 2015, Hyundai lost its biggest volume car and quickly started seeing gaps on the sales front as well. At its peak in 2006, the Santro hit annual sales of more than 1.4 lakh cars, making it the only challenger to the mighty Marutis of the era.
The resurrection of the Santro nameplate in India comes as no surprise, as Hyundai now looks to reclaim its tag of a serious competitor in the entry-level hatchback segment. The Korean carmaker has even decided to ramp up annual production to 7.5 lakh units in 2019 from an estimated 7.13 lakh units this year, in order to accommodate new launches such as the Santro.
With all plans in place now, the Santro is all set to hit showrooms on Oct 23 pan India, and will take the competition head on with a strong focus on build quality, safety and a host of first-in-class features. The addition of the first-ever AMT gearbox from Hyundai also makes the Santro a proposition hard to look by.
Unlike the first-gen Santro, the new model isn’t exactly introducing a whole new design philosophy to the market. We have seen the tallboy design being used before, but unlike many older designs, this does not look that tall at first glance.
The latest iteration of the Santro is more at par with the Grand i10 when it comes to sheer size. At the front, the large ‘cascading’ grille takes up most of the real estate and is accompanied by the lamps placed high up like the Kona SUV. The creases on the side (one near the front fender, the other over the rear wheel well and the kink in the lower window line of the rear window) may not make the new Santro universally appealing - but at least it is not plain jane. The rear design is a mix of the Grand i10 (the taillamps are a vertically stretched but flatter version) and the Maruti Suzuki A-Star.
The new Santro is powered by a 1.1-litre engine that is a heavily reworked version of the Epsilon motor found under the hood of the older Santro Xing and the i10. On paper, it churns out 69PS and 99Nm, and Hyundai claims a fuel efficiency of 20.3kmpl. There is also a CNG offering for the Santro that makes 59PS and 84Nm of torque.
But as you step inside, you are instantly greeted by a cabin that has top notch quality plastics and practicality. The biggest talking points here are the first-in-class 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the rear AC vents that making the new Santro stand out as a more premium offering in its segment. With features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity and reverse parking display, the multimedia system adds to the overall premium feel.
With its tallboy design, space utilisation on the new Santro is also top notch. We sent the biggest members of our team to test out Hyundai’s new small car, and we are happy to report that it fits two 6-footers one behind the other with ease. To read more on our first impressions of the latest Hyundai Santro click here.
Online pre-bookings of the Santro are now open at Rs 11,100. With many first-in-class features and ones re-incorporated from the previous generation, the new Santro looks all set to take the entry level hatchback segment by storm. With Hyundai looking to price the new Santro right around the Rs 3.75 lakh - 3.80 lakh mark, rivals such as the Wagon R, Tata Tiago and the Maruti Celerio might just have a serious competitor. For Hyundai, the Santro nameplate has always been iconic. If the new Santro turns out to be as good as it seems, they could see ‘em cash registers ringing soon.
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