New Hyundai Santro review road test

Hyundai brought back the Santro nameplate on a modified i10 platform. The new 2018 Hyundai Santro gets modern design cues as well as updated interior. It also borrows its engine from the original Santro and i10. This car will eventually replace the not-so great selling Eon. How has all this mix and match worked for Hyundai? Or, is it even working? We have reviewed the new 2018 Hyundai Santro manual after subjecting it to a variety of tests, a la AutoAlive style. Give it a read to see if the Santro will live up to your expectations or not.

New Hyundai Santro design

To be honest, it looks like someone from Hyundai used the same old die-cast model of the Grand i10. The face is unabashedly inspired from the cascading grille. However, it has been toned down here. Mostly because the buying populace is more or less going to be the thinking man and not the youth. The teardrop shaped headlights sit quite close to the chunky fog lights. This is a trend that can be observed in the new age cars like even the Tata Harrier SUV.

New Hyundai Santro

Move on to the side and you will notice the 14-inch wheels shod in Hankook Kinergy Eco rubber. The wheels though use a wheelcap and unfortunately, alloys aren’t even optional on this Asta trim. There are multiple cuts and creases on the side. Initially, I mistook one of them to be a dent. The door handles are of the flap type, reminiscent of the old Santro. At the rear, things largely stay bland and inoffensive.

New Hyundai Santro

The dimensions of the 2018 Hyundai Santro are 3,610 x 1,645 x 1,560mm for length, width and height respectively.

New Hyundai Santro interior

This is a modern and welcoming interior. It is at par with what the competition offers. The first thing that strikes you is the wide opening doors, both at the front and back. Hyundai though is offering a one-size fits all driver’s seat. It is adjustable for reach and recline but not for height. The steering too is non-adjustable. Taller folks like me can’t really see a quarter of the meter console. So, if any fault codes are thrown up, I may not be able to see it while driving the car.

New Hyundai Santro

Look past these and you will notice the new, yet simple meter console. It displays information such as average speed, time the car was running, a clock, twin tripmeters and average fuel economy. The steering wheel boasts Bluetooth telephony as well as music controls. Hyundai has used its 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and it has Android Auto, Apple CarPlay as well as MirrorLink capability. There are four speakers aligned to this music system and while the audio quality is decent, it is no patch on the Tiago’s eight speaker system. There is a USB outlet as well as a charging socket available, aft of the gear lever.

Above the decent sized glovebox, Hyundai has given a small storage space. Speaking of which, the door pads hold one litre water bottles easily. To make way for such big bottles, the power window switches are placed near the gear lever. It is one ergonomic issue as during the night time, one has to fidget to find the right power window button. Moreover, there is no backlighting to ease things. The four days I had the car, I still couldn’t get a hang of it.

New Hyundai Santro

Hyundai has provided rear AC vents, a first in the segment. These help cool the cabin effectively. Head rests at the front as well as back are of the non-adjustable types. These, in the unfortunate event of a crash, will not provide sufficient restraint system. Three grown-ups can sit in the rear seat of the Santro and even taller passengers will have sufficient leg and head room. This being said, the underthigh support is a bit lacking. Boot space at 235 litres is sufficient but the loading lip could have been placed slightly lower. One can also tumble the bench forward to liberate additional space.

New Hyundai Santro engine and transmission

Hyundai is using the same 1.1-litre Epsilon engine from the old Santro here. This engine though has revised internals, is BS-IV compliant and also promises to meet the future BS-VI norms. It makes 69PS of power and 99Nm of torque. For the first time, Hyundai is offering a factory-fitted CNG kit from the onset. In this guise, the engine produces 10PS less as well as 85Nm. While the CNG variant can be ordered only with a 5-speed manual, the petrol gets an optional 5-speed AMT. The latter has been developed in-house by Hyundai.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to sample the automatic. The manual has a light clutch and a late biting point. This will make driving for newbies very easy. The gearbox throws are short as well. For the most part, the new Santro will amble in town in second gear. If it gets a bit of breathing space, the engine will happily potter in third gear. However, for a quick overtake or two, one has to downshift. The top speed is 155kmph and we VBox timed the car for a 0-100kmph run time of 15s.

Refinement is the order of the day and the engine, even at idle, doesn’t let any vibrations in the cabin. Even when you rev the engine (the motor isnt as free revving as the K-series), the vibrations remain muted. In terms of fuel efficiency, the new Hyundai Santro returned 12.2kmpl in the city and 18.4kmpl on the highway. These numbers are lower than what the competition offers.

New Hyundai Santro ride and handling

MacPherson struts in the front and a torsion beam at the rear make up for the suspension components of the new Hyundai Santro. The suspension is set on the softer side and the car boasts a ground clearance of 175mm that is sufficient not to scrape speedbreakers with a full load. The steering is overtly light and reminds me of the first Santro ad where the salesman tries to convince Shahrukh Khan. Problem is that it doesn’t weigh up when the speeds increase. This robs one of the confidence to push the car at higher speeds.

New Hyundai Santro

Not only this, attack a corner at speeds above 70kmph and the Santro loses a bit of composure. It isn’t alarming but if you have driven the Tiago, Figo or Celerio, you will understand what I am trying to convey. In terms of ride quality, the Santro absorbs smaller bumps easily. The larger ones do catch it off the hook and there is some lateral movement too.

The brake set up is typical Hyundai – a wooden feel. That being said, ABS with EBD is standard across range and this increases confidence by several notches. A driver airbag too is standard while the Asta here is the only trim that secures the passenger side with an airbag as well.  The Hankook rubber is also grippy enough for most situations.

Verdict of the new Hyundai Santro

New Hyundai Santro

The new Hyundai Santro price in Mumbai is Rs 5.46 lakh for this Asta trim. At this price, the competition also includes the Baleno, Ignis, Swift, Tiago, Celerio as well as the Datsun Go+ (much bigger car). The Santro then is ideal choice only for beginners and learners. It is a family car, no doubt. However, there are better options out there. May be with not the same feature set but as a much better package overall.

Images by Donald Dsouza

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