The original Hyundai Santro was synonymous with practicality, ease of use and efficiency. Does the new, second-gen car live up to the legendary name?
A light steering, small turning circle and good all-around visibility make the Santro a friendly car to punt around town in. Ride comfort at city speeds is also a strength. It feels a bit jiggly at times on uneven surfaces, but low-speed bump absorption is good, and what’s really impressive is how quietly the suspension goes about its business.
Even at higher speeds, road and wind noise are well contained by segment standards. The Santro is fine for highway use but, at cruising speeds, it doesn’t quite give you the same confidence as something like a Tata Tiago. Sure, straightline stability is not a cause for complaint but the softly sprung Santro tends to amplify small surface crests and waves taken at speed. With a full load of passengers, you’ll notice how the rear end tends to bob at high speeds, in its own way drawing attention to the small-sized headrests at the back. Brake performance is adequate and our tests cars’ Hankook tyres provided ample grip but you don’t get an absolutely reassuring feel at the helm in panic braking scenarios. Go hard on the brake pedal and there’s a moment of nervousness from the car before it restores its composure while shedding speed.
Lift-type door handles look last-gen and don’t feel premium either.
Steering feel is like the Hyundais of old – which means there’s an inconsistency to the weight – but
it’s also something unlikely to play on the mind of the average Santro buyer. Just wish the steering had a stronger self-centering action.