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2018 Hyundai Santro – First Impressions

2018 Hyundai Santro – First Impressions

Snapshot: We take the pre-production model of the all-new Santro on a test track in Chennai, read below for our initial impressions!

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Santro, the name itself brings back some of my earliest car memories as when introduced originally back in 1998, I was already a huge fan of the Hyundai Santro and of course of the legend who was seen on-screen with it, Shah Rukh Khan. I so wanted to own one, but sadly I was merely 7 years old back then. Ten years down the line, I learned to drive in a Santro and I still remember how solid, peppy, and well-built it used to feel and had all the traits of a good car. The car not only marked the entry of the Hyundai brand in India, but also built a foundation so strong that the brand is now trusted by millions in India, and the Santro has a huge part to play in Hyundai’s success story.

The company recently invited us for a short experiential drive on Hyundai’s test track in the Chennai plant. And I consider myself lucky to get a first-hand experience on the car that is supposedly a torchbearer of the legend, said to be the most loved family car of India.

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Hyundai’s tall boy is back and now it returns in an avatar that matches the current timeline, and by that, I simply mean it doesn’t quite remind of the older Santro but has been reborn as an all-new product. The old school, curvy design lines are now replaced with sharp and sculpted looks. Hyundai’s ‘cascading' grille looks dominant on the front ‘V’ shaped bumper, the headlamps and badge now make their way up on the hood, which is an interesting format. Look at the side profile, and you’ll find a rather funky design comprising of many cuts and creases. The rear too matches with the rest of the looks and doesn’t ruin anything.

How is it on the inside?

Like all Hyundai cars, the cabin feels nicely bolted together and has a premium feel to it for a car of its size. It gets a dual-tone beige-on-black themed dash and the main attraction is the new 7-inch touch screen infotainment system which supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Mirror Link and even Voice Recognition. Plastics used all around are of decent quality, and it ticks all the right boxes in out charts when it comes to the cabin feel. The seats up front are decently comfortable and have a great back and under thigh support, and so are ones at the back, but these can certainly use more cushioning for extended comfort. The space, on the other hand, is good even for 6-footers and is a fairly comfortable place for a family of five.

How about the engine and performance?

Pop the hood and you’ll find the car runs on the newly updated 1.1-litre Epsilon petrol engine. Which pushes out close to 69hp of maximum power at 5,500rpm and 99Nm of peak torque at 4,500rpm. The car will be available with a 5-speed transmission and an AMT gearbox (which is first for Hyundai).

Fire up the engine, and you’ll be delighted to see how calmly the car idles, hard to figure out if the engine is running at all. Shift to the first gear and release clutch only to find that delivery is smooth and so is the fuelling (typical Hyundai). The clutch is light, the manual transmission feels slick, steering doesn’t feel loose and has a good weight to it, re-centering the car with confidence. The acceleration clearly isn’t as peppy as the older cars, but then again it is the car for the newer generation; the market now is more mature and prioritizes features and comfort, and the all-new Santro has loads of it.

There is also an AMT on offer which felt quite impressive in the short five minutes spin we managed to get on the track. Unlike other AMTs we’ve tested so far, this doesn’t feel as lagging, or jerky in the transitions, while also going down the gears it is fairly smooth and our first impressions are positive.

Also Read:Hyundai Santro to Get AMT in these variants

The final words –

Hyundai has put in great efforts to bring back the legend that once framed the picture of an ideal family car. The market now is evolved and is much mature than what it used to be twenty years back; though the competition surely is stiff but the all-new Santro packs nearly all the good stuff that makes it a worthy torchbearer.  

P.S - No cameras were allowed during our test experience on the track. 

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