Hyundai has confirmed that the Santro will make a comeback in 2018.
The Santro single-handedly built repute for Hyundai in India, kick-starting their innings in 1998. The little city runabout was a stellar success for the Korean major, and it continued to sell in sizeable numbers till it was eventually phased out in 2014.
By then, the Santro had become a household name. A 16-year long stint at the market is no mean feat, and the little Hyundai managed to gnaw into sales of the Maruti Suzuki Alto and the WagonR considerably before bowing out. Notably, the production of the Santro was halted to make way for the Grand i10 and the Elite i20, with the older generation of the i10 filling the void. Now, two years on, life comes full circle, as the upcoming Santro is set to displace the old i10.
Hyundai has confirmed that the Santro will make a comeback in 2018. What's it going to be like? Here's a preview of what you can expect:
1. Premium Positioning
What was once the 'entry-level' offering from Hyundai, will move up the ladder a notch. The Santro is likely to make a comeback sporting a premium avatar. The Altos and the Kwids are unlikely rivals, and Hyundai will look at targeting the upcoming Chevrolet Beat and the popular Tata Tiago. This means pricing is likely to start around the Rs 3.5 lakh mark and top out close to Rs 5 lakh.
2. Engine Options
Hyundai currently has an arsenal of four petrol engines - the 0.8-litre and the 1.0-litre units in the Eon, the 1.1-litre iRDE2 engine that powers the current i10 and the 1.2-litre Kappa2 motor that does duty in the Grand i10. The new Santro can be expected to sport either the 1.0-litre or the 1.1-litre engine and develop close to 70PS of power. Also, the new Santro is likely to be a petrol-only offering, just like its predecessor.
Believe it or not, the Santro first got an optional automatic transmission way back in 2003. Hyundai could very well offer the new Santro in a two-pedal avatar, considering the affordable hatchback segment as a whole shows signs of going clutchless. Notably, Tata is working on an AMT avatar of the Tiago, which Hyundai would like to counter with an automatic variant of their own.
4. More Features
While the old Santro was a fairly basic point-to-point commuter, the new one is expected to kick things up a notch. Other than the usual fare that includes power windows and air-conditioning, one can expect goodies like Bluetooth connectivity (possibly with a touchscreen head unit), a multi-information display and height-adjustable seats. Also, since new safety laws are right around the corner, the new Santro is likely to feature Airbags and anti-lock brakes as well.
5. Not a tall boy!
You read that right! The new gen Santro will not be a tall boy. The small hatch is likely to be based on Hyundai's Fluidic 2.0 philosophy. It is possible that the production version will draw inspiration from the ix-Metro concept that Hyundai showcased way back in 2009.