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Living with Hyundai Santro

Living with Hyundai Santro

The Hyundai Santro needs no introduction. The iconic hatchback marked its return to the Indian car market last year after a long hiatus, this time as a successor to the i10 in Hyundai’s line-up. We have already done a comprehensive road test for the new Hyundai Santro. The 2019 Santro is an all-new car and it has been nominated for the coveted ‘World Urban Car of the Year’ award. And so, to test its mettle, we decided to spend some time with it and tell you how the Hyundai Santro is, to live with.

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How Practical is it?

On the outside, the Santro won’t come across as a very spacious hatchback. But in reality, its cabin is adequately spacious and has good visibility all around. The seats don’t get adjustable headrest, but are large and comfortable, even for longer stints. The knee room at the back is more than adequate with enough thigh support. And a shoulder room of 1240mm on the rear bench makes the Santro a genuine five-seater. The tall-boy design of the Santro also makes getting in and out of the rear bench an easy affair. 

All four door pockets can store a litre bottle with room to spare. There is a square stowage place beneath the centre console, and there is a little flat surface next to the handbrake too. The open slot above the glovebox is handy in case you need to keep some knick-knacks. 

The cup holders for the rear passengers are replaced by rear AC vents, which we think is the better option of the two. There are no back seat pockets, and the door pockets are the only space for the rear passengers to keep their belongings. The kink on the rear door is helpful for rear passenger’s visibility too. And lastly, the boot space at 250litres remains average, but the rear seat falls almost flat, clearing additional space if needed.

On the downside, the power window buttons are placed on the centre console and aren’t backlit. Thus anyone driving the new Santro needs to get accustomed to these oddly placed buttons, especially while operating with urgency.

What's the fuel efficiency like?

Powering the new Santro is the 1.1-litre four-cylinder petrol engine Epsilon engine as the old i10 and it produces 69bhp at 5,500rpm and 99Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. With the standard five-speed manual transmission, Hyundai has debuted its first-ever AMT with the Santro.

Under the CarWale testing cycle, the Santro AMT delivered 13.54kmpl in the city and 19.31kmpl on the highway. The manual guise which we have here returned 12.7kmpl and 16.8kmpl, respectively. 

What's on the feature list?

The most prominent feature of the new Santro is the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Borrowed from the Grand i10, the touchscreen system supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink, which is a segment first. The fit and finish of the dual-tone black-beige dashboard feel like it belongs to a car that is at least a segment or two higher.

The Mercedes-Benz styled air vents look great but somehow don’t match the rest of the cabin’s design. The rubberised buttons and plastic knobs feel nice to touch. The analogue/digital instrument cluster is informative and easy to read. The steering-mounted controls are sleek and non-intrusive. 

The equipment list on the top-spec Asta trim boasts of many first-in-segment features such as rear camera, electric ORVMs with turn-indicators, a comprehensive trip computer, USB and 12V ports. We couldn’t find AUX input though. On the flip side, a nice set of factory-fitted alloy wheels will make the Santro so much more enticing. 

The Santro, being a global product, is compatible with all the crash norms. Each trim is equipped with ABS with EBD and a driver-side airbag as standard. The top-spec trim also gets passenger airbag, central locking, rear defogger, keyless entry, speed sensing and impact sensing auto-door locks.

Weirdly though, Hyundai has omitted a chrome finish for the steering wheel logo and on the gear lever. Also, the air-con slider switch below the HVAC controls feels old and basic, especially for such a modern car.

How does it perform on the daily commute?

In simple words, the Santro is very ‘user-friendly’.  The petrol motor (the only four-cylinder in its class) has a vibe-free idle. However, past 3000rpm, the engine starts to feel gruff and it sounds even harsher near the red-line. The manual variant we have here feels smooth moving off the line thanks to its strong bottom-end grunt. The access to torque at low RPMs keeps the gear changes to a minimum when pottering around in the city, thus making it easier and stress-free to drive. So while commuting, it is best to upshift early and utilise the engine’s strong pulling power. 

The smooth-shifting gearbox, light steering, and clutch make the Santro a boon for daily commuting in typical urban congestion. The small dimension also makes it easier to park in tight spaces. 

The ride in the Santro is comfortable for everyday city commutes. The suspension soaks up small to medium sized potholes without any fuss, however, they tend to thud over the sharp potholes or when plodding over road expansion-joints, especially at the rear. This sometimes sends jolts inside the cabin which is disconcerting for rear passenger

How is it for a weekend?

Out on the highways for weekend getaways, the straight line stability of the Santro is impressive and it feels stable even past three-digit speeds. But at those speeds, especially at the rear, and over road undulations, it never feels settled. The light steering weighs up as you go faster, which is rather convenient on highways.

The boot space of 250litres (580/1050/530mm measurement) is big enough to swallow weekend luggage for four people. But there is no dead-pedal (which is generously offered in the Tiago) essential for long weekend drives. And talking about long drives, the Santro boast of a range between 400-490 kilometres thanks to its 35 litres tank size.

So the Santro is genial, has decent equipment, is easy, reliable and stress-free to drive. This is a safe car, whether it be for a mundane city commute or fun-filled weekend trips.

What's the deal with the warranty?

Hyundai offers three years of warranty and 1,00,000 kilometres, whichever comes earlier, with the Santro.


The Hyundai Santro is a very likeable little hatchback. It has a well-rounded package for its price point plus quirky styling. Additionally, driving dynamics, ample cabin space and generous features list are some of the many reasons why Santro may be the ideal first car for nuclear families or for someone looking for a well-rounded city hatchback.  

Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi.

Also read:

2018 Hyundai Santro Road Test

Hyundai Santro petrol MT vs Tata Tiago petrol MT

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Hyundai Santro Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 5.1 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 5.27 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 4.83 Lakhs onwards
Pune₹ 5.16 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 5.17 Lakhs onwards
Ahmedabad₹ 4.97 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 5.06 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 4.85 Lakhs onwards
Chandigarh₹ 4.82 Lakhs onwards
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