Nostalgia plays an important part in human life. It is this very feeling that also urges manufacturers to bring back nameplates which were buried quite sometime ago. Case in point is Jawa and this, the new Hyundai Santro. The first generation car helped cement Hyundai’s name in Indian households. Will this new-age Hyundai Santro consolidate its position in a segment filled with the WagonR, Tiago, Celerio and Figo? Let’s take a look.
Hyundai Santro Design
Nostalgia is intact not only in the name but in several other aspects. The design is more on the lines of the now-discontinued Hyundai i10. The face is a broad unit while the cascading unit sits low in the bumper. Tear-drop shaped headlights are placed above the grille while the fog lamps are placed at a finger length away from the headlamp assembly. There are a couple of boomerang-like details on the sides. Hyundai is providing 14-inch wheels with the Santro and even the top-spec unit gets wheel covers instead of alloys. At the rear, the lights seem a bit too small but the bumper does add some substance to an otherwise bland bum.
Hyundai Santro Interior
Since Hyundai Santro is a budget car, it gets a non-height adjustable driver’s seat coupled to a steering whose position is fixed too. The headrests are fixed too. Even the power window switches are placed on the centre console and this makes accessing them, especially at night, a bit tricky. The cabin is done in black and seems high quality. The infotainment system supports both Apple as well as Android connectivity. The AC knobs though look a bit tacky. All the doors have a 1-litre water bottle holder as well. Like the original car, you do get a good all around view and the back seat can comfortably seat three as well. Sadly though, the rear headrests are small as well as fixed. This may not offer enough protection in the event of a crash. What is appreciable though is the rear AC vents that helps cool the cabin fairly quick.
While the loading lip of the boot is high, it can store 235 litres of luggage. The top-spec Asta trim that we have on test here gets rear parking sensors, washer-wiper, rear parking camera and a passenger airbag.
Hyundai Santro Engine and transmission
The new Hyundai Santro comes with the 1.1-litre engine that was present in the older car. This one is a 4-cylinder unit and packs in 69PS of power and 99Nm of torque. A 5-speed manual or AMT can be ordered with this engine. We’ve the manual with us and the claimed fuel efficiency is 20.3kmpl. In our tests, we got around 13.2kmpl in the city and 18.4kmpl on the highway. Refinement is the order of the day for this engine and there are no vibrations to speak of as well. Performance may not be in the similar space as the older car but the mid-range is punchy and strong. 0-100kmph takes around 15s while the top speed is closer to 155kmph.
What you will like with this engine is that the clutch pedal is light and isn’t springy like Hyundais tend to be. The gearbox though isn’t the smoothest unit around and doesn’t like to be hurried as well. In terms of driveability, the engine doesn’t protest when you slot into a higher gear at a lower rpm. However, if you want instant acceleration, you may have to drop a gear or two. The engine though doesn’t like to be revved. The sweet spot is the 2,000 – 3,000rpm.
Hyundai Santro Ride and handling
MacPherson struts in the front and a torsion beam at the rear take care of the suspension duties. Front discs and rear drums also have been offered. Good all around visibility makes it a good city car as well as something the newbies will appreciate. Ride quality is pliant over small bump and only the bigger ones cause the car to bob. The car though is nervous around corners and is not something that an enthusiast will appreciate. Ditto for the feather light steering wheel too.
Hyundai Santro is one of the few cars in its categories that offer a driver airbag as well as ABS with EBD as standard. This segment does have cars like the new WagonR, Tiago and Celerio. The Asta trim that we have here costs Rs 5.45 lakh, ex-Mumbai. The fuel efficiency of the car is a tad lower than the competition but then if boot space isn’t much of a concern, there is also the CNG trim available for Rs 20,000 more. The new Santro is not only spacious but also a good learner car. It also offers quite a lot of features compared to its competition. Looks like the top 10 sales chart should see a new entrant soon.