Some products have a very strong brand recall and manufacturers just have to keep re-inventing it to keep it going strong. The Hyundai Santro is one of those products. Even after the production of the Santro was stopped in 2014, Hyundai decided to bring it back in an all-new avatar in 2018. The original Santro was a break-through car for its segment thanks to its design, convenience and performance, but will the new car be able to replicate the same?
To answer this question, we will talk about 5 things that work for car and two things that don’t. And if you are considering the Santro for your next purchase, then you should pay attention to this review.
We already know Hyundai has a knack of making good quality interiors and it’s the same with the Santro. And we are stressing on quality here because the feel in the cabin is really good for a car in this segment. The plastics feel good and the rubberised buttons below the music system, smooth knobs and plastic buttons also feel nice to hold and touch. Overall, given the fit and finish, good quality of materials and the way all things are in place, it surely feels like it belongs to a higher segment.
The Santro comes with a decent amount of kit but the highlight is the 7-inch touch screen infotainment system which is easily the best-in-segment. It comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror-link smartphone connectivity, which again, is a segment first. It is the same system found in the more expensive Grand i10. As a result, the touch sensitivity is really good and big icons make it easy to navigate.
Spacious with a compact footprint
The Santro may be compact, but it is also quite spacious. Knee room is more than adequate and the generous width makes it a decent 5-seater. The tall-boy design also makes ingress and egress an easy affair.
The Santro gets a familiar 1.1 litre, 4-cylinder engine. Being a city car, there’s plenty of low-end torque and the Santro is effortless to drive. What also helps are the light controls. The clutch is light, the gearbox is smooth and the steering feels as easy as pie.
Comprehensive feature list
The Santro comes with a more than decent equipment list. It gets rear air conditioning vents, which is a first in its segment, and rear parking camera. There is also the electrically adjustable ORVM, steering mounted controls, comprehensive tripmeter and boot opening with the key fob.
Non-adjustable, high-set front driver seats
The driving position in the Santro is a love-hate affair. People with average height love it and the tall ones loathe it. The steering is placed too low and it lacks seat height and steering adjust. This is why it is difficult to find a driving position that is comfortable especially over long journeys.
Bouncy ride quality at high speeds
The Santro, when ridden on highways, can get a little unsettling, especially at the rear. The rear suspension also tends to get caught-out by sharp potholes or expansion-joints, which in-turn jolts the rear passengers. But then it’s a city car in the end and the bouncy ride shouldn’t really be a deal-breaker.
The Santro is a fine effort by Hyundai to raise the compact hatchback game and as you can see, it clearly has more to look forward to than to point a finger at!