Hyundai is planning to relaunch its most successful offering, the Santro, in India. The Santro was launched in India in 1997 and was seen as a premium alternate to the Maruti Suzuki 800. With the new-generation Santro, which has been in development in South Korea, Hyundai will take on competition from Renault, Datsun and Tata Motors.
The engine options that will be offered in the new-generation include the petrol 1.0-litre from the Eon that makes 69PS/94Nm and the 1.2-litre from the Grand i10 that generates 83PS/116Nm. There wonâ€™t be any diesel engines, at least during the launch. However, we might not be surprised if Hyundai launches the Santro with the new-generation turbocharged petrol engine that was launched in the international-spec i20 last year. This 3-cylinder 998cc direct-injection motor is based on the Kappa 1.0-litre MPI engine and comes equipped with a single-scroll turbocharger. There is a strong possibility of this with the stricter emission norms and increasing focus on higher efficiency as well as performance. Additionally, the 2018 Hyundai Santro will be exported in international markets as well and might be manufactured at the companyâ€™s plant in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.
In terms of styling, the new-gen Santro, similar to the previous offering, will sport a tall boy design. While there have been reports of the new hatchback to get a crossover styling, the 2018 Hyundai Santro might borrow its design cues from the Grand i10 facelift (known as the i10 in the international markets) that was revealed in August this year. The cabin layout and features too will receive a major change and will house more modern options with comparatively more premium quality of seat fabric.
Hyundai will not only offer best-in-class safety features in the new Santro but will also offer a stronger impact resisting structure as seen on Hyundaiâ€™s new-generation premium offerings like the Elantra and the Tucson. The brand was under the scanner as its entry-level offering Eon received a zero-star rating in Global NCAP crash test. The right-hand drive hatchback scored poorly on the driverâ€™s head, knee and chest crash protection. It was also deemed as structurally unstable by the Global NCAP. Post this development, Hyundai started offering driver airbag as an optional feature on the D-lite+ trim of the Eon.
We have also learnt that the new-generation Santro was one of the reasons for getting Y K Koo, managing director and CEO, back to the brand for the third stint in the company in 2015. He was one of the founder members of Hyundai Motor Indiaâ€™s operation in 1997 when the brand entered with Santro that was followed by the Verna sedan.
The 2018 Hyundai Santro will be positioned at par with the Eon and will also have trims that will be positioned above the Eon. The new Santro will lock horns with entry-level cars like the Renault Kwid, Hyundai Eon and the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. It will also compete with the likes of the Tata Tiago, Maruti Suzuki Celerio and Wagon R. The launch is expected to happen sometime in 2018 wherein the prices will range between Rs 4-5 lakh.