Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Hyundai Santro: First Impression: Good or Bad?


There has been a lot of buzz going on in the town about the come back of the tall-boy, Hyundai Santro. In its 2018 iteration and the gizmos that come along with it have enabled it to grab a lot of attentions. The "Rhythmical Tension" design philosophy gives the Santro a fresher and refined, yet Sporty image. The hopes are high as it brings a lot to the table without costing much. I was a bit sceptical if it could really meet the expectations of the people. And all thanks to Mukesh Hyundai , Guwahati (contact details are available at the end of the article) that I finally got the chance to lay my hands on the Santro 'Astra' to see myself if it could really live up to the "India's favourite family car" tag.
DESIGN:


The new design of the Santro seems to have borrowed very few visual cues from the older generation Santro and more from the Hyundai Grand i10. It has retained its tall boy stance but nothing looks out of proportion. The Cascade grille is wide and covers a major portion of the front and adds to the characteristic looks of the car. The fog lights too are placed higher and nearer to the headlamps. Although I got to drive the car during the daytime, being nearer to the headlamps the fog lights will possibly have a long throw of light beams. The tail lamp does manage to borrow design cues from its ancestor.



PERFORMANCE & HANDLING:
The one thing in the car that will truly blow your mind is the engine. The level of engine refinement will surprise you the moment you turn on the ignition. There are no vibrations until and unless you are revving the engine really hard. The engine is a 1.1L 4 cylinder petrol engine that produces max power of 69ps@ 5,500rpm and 10.1kgm torque @ 4,500rpm. The exhaust note of the car is really great at higher revs. The power delivery is very smooth and there is no significant lag in power delivery. The engine does not feel lazy and is always willing to go even faster. Although I did not get enough space to dash for the top speed, which is around 150+kmph, the Santro felt surprisingly planted even at high speeds. The car is short footed in corners and remains stable in corners too. The gearshifts are smooth and precise and the transmission is also well mated as you can drive at speeds as low 30 kmph in the 4th gear without any knocking. There is no requirement for dropping to lower gears every time you do an overtake. The NVH level is low and the noise from the roads did not seem to creep into the cabin too much even while rolling on very bad patches of roads. Hyundai claims that you can extract a fuel economy of around 20 kmpl from the Santro.

SUSPENSION & STEERING:
The suspension duties are taken care of by McPherson Strut in the front and gas shocks coupled with torsion beam axle at the rear. The suspension feels little stiff but soaks up any bump or undulation on the road very well. Even when driven on the twists of the hills, there is less amount of body roll (Thanks to the stiffer suspension settings). The feedback from the steering is almost precise. Being electrically assisted, it is not as heavy as an old-school hydraulic steering but unlike some cars, it is not very light as well and has no vague feeling to it too.
BRAKING & SAFETY:
Hyundai has not compromised with safety while developing the all new Santro. Apart from using 63% Advanced High Strength Steel and High Strength steel as major building materials, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) are standard across all variants. ABS is the system that looks after your braking and does not let the wheels lock even during hard braking and hence prevents skidding of the car. The EBD, on the other hand, looks after braking force on each wheel depending upon weight, direction, or speed of the vehicle. Braking on the Santro is impressive and the stopping distance is short. You do not get that vague feeling or it does not make you nervous even during hard braking. There is driver side airbag available even in the entry-level model, the 'D-Lite' but it misses out the AC. The top variant, the 'Astra' gets both driver and co-driver side airbags. Although there are safety features to look after your back, I always highly recommend not to be fully dependent on electronics rather drive with caution.
INTERIOR, COMFORT & ENTERTAINMENT:
The top end variant, i.e. the 'Astra' is fully loaded with features. As soon as you get inside the car you feel welcomed. The Santro feels spacious inside with a great amount of leg and headroom and the seats have great amount of support too. The plastic quality and the fit and finish are good. The greyish-black and beige dual tone interior feels nice and does not look dull. The aircraft propeller inspired design of the AC vents gives the dashboard a very premium touch. The large 17.64cm touch LCD screen on the dash is not only first in class but also is loaded with other first in class features. It comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 playback and also acts as the screen for the reverse camera. It also comes with reverse parking sensors. The ORVM too are electrically adjustable. The 'Astra' comes with 4 door mounted speakers which sound good. The steering wheel has all the buttons to control the music system, call buttons, and also first in segment voice recognition button. The rear AC vents work perfectly fine but since the entry-level variant, 'D-Lite' misses out on an air conditioner, therefore comfort in it will be highly compromised during summers. The boot space might not seem to be a huge one but it will be more than enough to carry your family vacation luggage. Apart from all these, if you choose to buy the 'Diana' green coloured variant of the Santro, you will get body coloured seat belts and body coloured highlights on the dashboard too which adds a very sporty ambiance to the interior.


ADDITIONAL FEATURES:
Hyundai is also providing the option for a factory fitted CNG kit. And if you don't mind sacrificing the boot space and if your city has CNG stations then you can definitely get CNG kit installed. A fire extinguisher is also provided along with the CNG kit for additional safety. The Santro comes with 3 years/100000 km warranty and there is option for door step pick-up and delivery of the vehicle during service.
COST:
Although the price may vary with time and offers the base variant, at the moment the 'D-Lite' costs approximately 4.35 Lakhs and the top variant, the 'Astra' at the moment costs approximately 6.06 Lakhs on road here in Guwahati, Assam, India.
VERDICT:
I got a very little time to spend with the car but the first impression of the 2018 Hyundai Santro is rather positive. With its host of features especially inclusion of the safety features even in the base variant, the Santro seem to be a value for money product. And it will be, if not now, "India's favourite family car".

Hope you found this article helpful and if you have liked it, then do share it with your friends and family to spread the words.

Lastly, a big shout out to Mukesh Hyundai, Guwahati for providing the car, without which this article would not have been possible; and thanks to Mr. Karan Jyoti, Mukesh Hyundai, Guwahati for his courteousness and assistance throughout the test drive. If you want to contact the dealer for further information, the contact details are available below:


Contact Details of Mukesh Hyundai, Guwahati:
Address: Kushan Plaza, G.S. Road, Dispur, Guwahati 781006
Ph no. 9864355004, 9864060001
Email: mukeshguwahati@karini.in

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post.


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