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. A Manufacturing plant was set up in Sriperumbudur near Chennai. This was Hyundai’s largest plant outside the carmaker’s nation (Korea) till then.
The 1st first-ever Santro was showcased in the 1998 Auto Expo, the same year when Trident Hyundai was set up. The name “Santro” was inspired from Saint-Tropez, a French city famous for fashion and sophisticated lifestyle.
The Santro was launched on September 23 1998. On October 18 1998, the first-ever Santro from Trident Hyundai was delivered. The Santro rolled out with a point to prove and gather genuine followers and customers. Soon after its launch, it was immediately called the “tall boy of India” due to its conventional design that Indians were used to at the time. Indian car buyers were used to the compact design of hatchbacks such as the Maruti Suzuki 800 & Zen. The Santro brought a 1 litre (999cc) capable of producing 56PS of power with new tech 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 Santro ZipDrive which packed a 1.1-litre engine that was more powerful than the previous 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 as well. It also came with power steering and a new front grille and a spoiler at the back.
The Santro’s run since its launch had been phenomenal, Indian customers very much appreciated and welcomed the design elements, features and performance, making it a popular choice for middle-class car buyers in the country.
Santro Xing was launched in 2003, followed the path as its predecessor, it stood out from the crowd and was an upgrade to the older version. The redesign made the Santro look boxier and buff compared to the previous version. It came with updated features such as power windows in the front and back rows, new interiors and a fresh new look. The Santro Xing was fresh and appealing; the entire front and back designs were changed and gave the car a breath of fresh air. The Xing picked up where the Santro left off, gaining immense popularity. The Santro Xing had a 1.1-litre (1086cc), inline 4-cylinder engine that produces a maximum power of 62 Bhp at 5500 rpm, and churns out 96 Nm torque at 4000 rpm.
After being discontinued in 2015, the Hyundai Santro was relaunched in 2018. With a new look, new features, and new colour options, the all-new Santro was ready to take on the streets again. With more competition and more consumers, the Santro has levelled the playing field, and the figures have grown steadily.
The new Santro is not only longer and wider than its predecessor, but the roof has been lowered by 30mm to give it a sleeker look. The car has been designed to maintain the classic Santro’s silhouette while at the same time giving it more relevance in today’s market. The Santro has a cascading front grille with chrome framing the bold and stylish look. The front encompasses high-set trapezoidal fog lamps. The front 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 looking black and beige interiors with great features. The dashboard holds the “elephant-inspired” centre console that incorporates a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is first in the segment. The steering wheel has mounted controls with Bluetooth and voice recognition support. The Santro is spacious as ever and has 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. It comes mated with both a 5-speed manual transmission or automatic transmission left to the buyer’s preference. The Santro also comes with a CNG variant. 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 at 4.7 meters 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 choice for many Indian families. Many would argue that the Santro changed the way Indian auto sector functions and how the Indian middle class chooses the car they buy. The Hyundai Santro was the first car that we sold. It has since helped us become the most trusted Hyundai dealer in Bengaluru. The Santro plays an important role not only in Trident Hyundai’s but also India’s automotive history.