Hyundai Santro: India’s Favourite Family Car Since 1998
The Santro is famous for offering more for less, a legacy that endures to this day as it leads the pack in performance, features, comfort, and safety
In 1998, after over seven years of economic liberalisation, India’s car buyers were yet to be liberated from a choice of cars with dated designs, lacklustre features, but surprisingly high price tags. That status quo was changed for good by Hyundai when it launched the Santro in September 1998.
The Santro not only put Hyundai on the Indian car buyer’s map but also set several new benchmarks in its segment. For instance, it was the first in its class to be fuelled by an MPFI (Multi-Point Fuel Injection) system instead of the inefficient carburettor setup its competitors used then.
Sporting a competitive sticker price, this made the Santro a hit with buyers who needed a consummate family car. It’s a quality the latest-gen Hyundai Santro retains with aplomb by offering a fresh design, premium interior, advanced features, uncompromising safety, and peace of mind ownership.
Here’s why your family deserves to drive home India’s favourite family car since 1998.
Drawing Admiring Glances, Since 1998
The original Hyundai Santro marked several firsts when it was launched in India, with its tall-boy design being the most talked about aspect. The latest-gen Santro is an evolution of that design as it not just stands tall but extends quite wide, in keeping with the needs of modern Indian families.
You can feel this the moment you step inside the car as it offers above-par headroom for both front and rear occupants. At 1645mm, the Santro is also among the widest in its class, making it possible to seat three average-sized adults at the back.
But before impressing with its interior, the Santro’s distinct design leaves a lasting impression on you with signature elements such as a cascading grille and large headlamps along with smaller interesting bits such as the numerous creases. Add the eight colour options to the mix and you’re looking at a car that gets easier on your eyes as the years roll by.
Winning the Interior Game, Since 1998
But it wasn’t just interior space where the original Santro rewrote the rulebook. The car came with several features that introduced buyers in the segment to a then unprecedented level of cabin comfort. For instance, the Santro was the first in its segment to offer air-conditioning as standard.
The latest-gen Santro follows in the original’s footsteps by offering rear AC vents as standard. In fact, the Santro is the only car in its segment today to offer rear AC vents, a must-have for Indian weather as it enables easier and quicker circulation of cold air to rear seat occupants.
But it’s the interior quality where the gulf between the Santro and its competitors becomes the widest. Its premium two-tone black and beige finish with champagne gold inserts for that added sportiness is a great example of this. Overall, the Santro’s premium interior stands unrivalled and can even be passed off as belonging in a much more expensive car.
Leading the Technology Stakes, Since 1998
Technology, benefitting both driver and passengers, was another aspect where the original Santro trumped its competitors. For instance, it was the first in its segment to offer features such as fog lamps, rear defogger, adjustable head restraints, and all-round power windows.
The current-gen Santro similarly offers a wholesome tech package that not just makes your stay in the car entertaining but also convenient. Top of the list here is the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that offers a smooth and lag-free operation.
Featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the infotainment system can be paired with your smartphone to help you receive and make calls, control music playback, and use live navigation. This is a useful feature to have on occasions when you are stuck in endless traffic and when taking your eyes off the road carries too much of a hazard.
The Santro’s tech makes life easy not just during your drive but also after you reach your destination. That’s because Hyundai offers the car with a reversing camera and parking sensors, features that help you park the Santro into the tightest spots without skipping a heartbeat.
Setting Performance and Safety Benchmarks, Since 1998
As mentioned previously, the Santro was the first in its segment to get MPFI tech which helped with cleaner combustion. Coupled with the then unheard-of 3-valve SOHC setup, this made the Santro’s 1.0-litre 4-cylinder the most refined, peppy, and fuel efficient car in its class.
The 1.1-litre BS6 petrol mill powering the Santro today continues to set the benchmark in its class as it’s the only 4-cylinder engine in a sea of 3-cylinder motors. Churning out 69PS and 99Nm, the Epsilon engine offers superb refinement, a claimed fuel economy of 20.3kmpl, and excellent dependability too as it has powered quite a few successful Hyundai cars in the past.
This engine is paired with either a 5-speed manual or AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) gearbox, the latter making the Santro the first Hyundai to get the feature. While the manual option is great for those who like to work the box, the AMT is ideal if you spend most of your time navigating congested urban areas.
Safety is another aspect where the current-gen Santro has big shoes to fill as the original Santro was the first to introduce rear seatbelts in its segment. And fill the shoes it comfortably does as Hyundai offers the Santro with driver and co-driver airbags, front seatbelt pretensioner, and ABS with EBD to ensure your family’s safety at all times.
Offering Unmatched Peace of Mind, Since 1998
Before 1998, Hyundai was a little-known brand in India. But the company showed it meant business by setting up its first manufacturing plant outside of South Korea in Chennai, choosing India for the world debut of the Santro, and quickly scaling its service network. The result? The “Hyundai” name soon became a byword for peace of mind ownership.
The company has built on that image by offering the latest-gen Santro with an industry-leading 3-year/1 lakh Km warranty. And it also draws upon its wide service network to offer a 3-year roadside assistance package that comes to your rescue no matter where you’re stranded in India.
Being the Best, Since 1998
The original Santro redefined how people perceived family cars in India by bringing terms such as refinement, technology, reliability etc. into the car-buying lexicon. The latest-gen Hyundai Santro has similarly introduced today’s family car buyer to a world where smart styling, premium interior, rich feature list, and reliability can be spoken of in the same breath as affordability. If you want to experience this world up close and personal, head to your nearest Hyundai dealership today.
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