The Hyundai Santro has been India’s favourite family hatchback for over two decades for one too many reasons.
Hyundai Motor India was set up in 1996 with an investment of 614 million USD, which happened to be the most significant investment made by any MNC in the Indian automotive sector till then. Hyundai set up a manufacturing plant in Sriperumbudur, a city near Chennai. This was Hyundai’s largest plant outside the carmaker’s nation (Korea).
Hyundai Santro was released in India; however, the car was launched in other countries with other names such as Hyundai Amica, Kia Visto, and Atos.
The first-ever Santro was showcased in the 1998 Auto Expo when Trident Hyundai was set up. The name “Santro” was inspired by Saint-Tropez, a French city famous for its fashion and sophisticated lifestyle.
The Santro was launched on September 23, 1998, and Trident Hyundai delivered the first Santro on October 18, 1998.
Santro was rolled out with a point to prove and gather genuine followers and customers. Soon after its launch, Santro was called the “Tall Boy of India” due to the conventional design Indians were accustomed to at the time. Indian cars at the time were compact designs of hatchbacks such as the Maruti Suzuki 800 & Zen.
The Santro was equipped with a 1 litre (999cc) engine, capable of producing 56PS of power with new technology like MPFI (Multi-point fuel injection), making the Hyundai Santro’s performance superior to its competitors in India.
It was not long until Hyundai launched the upgraded model, Santro ZipDrive, which packed a 1.1-litre engine, more powerful than the earlier version, producing 63PS of power and 98Nm of torque. It came with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard and an optional 4-speed automatic gearbox. It also came with power steering, a front grille, and a spoiler at the back.
Since its launch, Santro has had a long and phenomenal run, with Indian customers appreciating and welcoming the design, features, and performance. Santro quickly became a customer favourite among middle-class car buyers in the country.
Owing to the positive reactions to the original model, Hyundai upgraded the car and launched Santro Xing in 2003. The new model appeared boxier and buff compared to the original Santro.
The Santro Xing was fresh and appealing; the entire front and back designs were changed, giving the car a fresh look. The Santro Xing had a 1.1-litre (1086cc) engine, an inline 4-cylinder engine that produces a maximum power of 62 BHP at 5500 RPM and churns out 96 NM torque at 4000 RPM. In addition to the engine modifications, Zing was upgraded with power windows in the front and back rows, new interiors and a fresh new look.
Santro has rightfully earned popularity and respect over the years. After being discontinued in 2015, the Hyundai Santro was relaunched in 2018. With a breezy new look, new features, and numerous colour options, the all-new Santro was ready to roll out onto the streets once again. With higher competition and a larger market, the Santro levelled the playing field, and the figures have grown steadily ever since.
The new Santro is not only longer and wider than its predecessor but the roof has been lowered by 30mm, giving it a sleeker look. The car has been designed to maintain the classic Santro’s silhouette, at the same time making it more relevant in today’s market.
The Santro has a cascading chrome front grille framing the bold and stylish look. The front encompasses high-set trapezoidal fog lamps and is garnished with chrome linings and panels to compliment the overall look of the hatch. The back has a well-sculpted bumper that meets the tail lamp.
The new Santro offers premium black and beige interiors with great features. The dashboard holds the “elephant-inspired” centre console that incorporates a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a first in this segment. The steering wheel has mounted controls with Bluetooth and voice recognition support. The Santro is as spacious as ever, equipped with 235 litres of boot space.
The Santro hides the BS6 1.1-litre MPI petrol engine under its hood. The engine uses the Grand i10 K1 platform as its base. The engine is capable of producing 69PS of power and 99NM of torque. Santro comes with both manual and automatic transmission and comes in the CNG variant as well. The petrol variant gives 20.3 kilometres to the litre while the CNG version returns 30.48 km/kg.
The hatchback’s turn radius is 4.7 metres, while its ground clearance is 165 mm. The Santro doesn’t compromise in its safety standards either; its body is made of advanced high-strength steel that is rigid, light and helps refinement. The car also comes with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensor and camera, speed-sensing door lock, impact sensing door unlock, rear defogger and other features.
The Santro has been the king of Indian roads and the first choice for many Indian families since its inception. Many would argue that Santro changed how the Indian auto sector functions and how the Indian middle class purchases a car.
Santro is the first car sold by Trident Hyundai, and it has since helped us become the most trusted Hyundai dealer in Bengaluru. The Santro plays an important role in Trident Hyundai’s and India’s automotive history.