The Santro joined our fleet a few months ago and has been my daily ride around the city. However, I did get a chance to drive the vehicle for a longer distance, as I had to ferry an ailing relative every day, to a hospital around 50km away. This meant the Santro put in about a 100km or even more each day. While it may not be a lot, for me it was way over my usual 25km daily commute. Thankfully, the route included long highway stretches which gave me a chance to really explore the Santro’s 1.0-litre engine. Highways are best tackled at cruising speeds of about 70-80kph; try and drive it harder and it becomes quite noisy after about 3,000rpm. The high-speed highway ride is comfortable and my co-passengers have had no complaints either.
LOOKING BACK: Reverse camera helps when parking in tight spots.
These long drives also gave me a chance to play around with the infotainment system. The Santro may be only the second car in the segment (first being the Kwid) to feature a touchscreen but the Hyundai’s infotainment system is miles ahead of one in the Renault. Firstly, the interface is slick and there is hardly any lag while switching between menus. The display is crisp but readability does get affected under harsh sunlight. The best bit, however, is the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and I took complete advantage of this – from listening to music, accessing navigation and even having my messages read out, without having to touch my phone at all. As far as sound quality goes, the speakers do a decent job but they aren’t as good as the ones on the Tata Tigor or the Tiago (my previous ride). Another important feature is the display for the reverse camera, with guidelines; this does help when parking in tight spots.
GREEN BELT: Seat belt looks cool but gets dirty in no time.
Speaking of tight spots, I do deal with them on a regular basis, especially near my prayer hall – a journey for which I have a dedicated car, the Tata Nano. But thanks to the Santro’s small footprint, I didn’t feel the need to switch cars for those trips.
MOTOR SPEAK: Four-pot motor refined at low speeds but noisy post 3,000rpm.
As far as fuel economy goes, the Santro is at a steady 11.5kpl, but it have given a higher 14.2kpl figure on longer highway runs. So far, I’m really enjoying these small-car benefits along with the big-car perks like the touchscreen.
2019 Hyundai Santro long term review, first report
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