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Old 20th August 2009, 23:01   #1
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Cool Hyundai Santro Xing XL Automatic 55,000 km Report

Ok so here we go, I don't see many ownership reports about the Santro Automatic

On August 19, 2007, we brought home my dream, my first car, a Hyundai Santro XL Automatic. Yesterday she turned 2! Can't believe its been 2 years and 55000 km. I feel likse just having bought it.

So let me try dwell on each point of my ownership experience.

Dealership:
Satisfied with Kun Hyundai ( Anna Nagar ). We called them up one night and a benign guy answered. We said want to book a Santro Xing AT. He said we can come over next day itself. So we visited the showroom next day itself. We were greeted by the same, benign sprightly, knowledgeable guy who spoke on the phone. He explained everything about the car (which I already knew from my detailed research). Even a Test drive car was available, so went for a TD, and we were really happy with the quiet and comfortable cabin. The small cramped roads meant no pushing it. But I read reviews which said Santro has the fastest and torquest engine in its class. Ordered one in Passion Red, ogled at a BMW 3 and 5 parked in their yard for sale, and left. We paid a total of 4.6 lacs OTR.

Initial Impressions:

After 3 weeks, we brought it home. We started putting her throgh her paces. She was such an easy car to drive. My dad and I learnt driving for the fisrt time in our lives, in this car directly, in one day, no driving school, no instructor, nothing, we just took it and drove and practiced in an empty football ground , by evening we were really confident about the car.

The engine, gearbox and performance
The eRLX engine is a gem. It is silky smooth, throaty at high revs, has enough punch and torque. The engine is rather a gem-ini than gem. She is dual. Push her hard and she accelerates with a throaty roar to a thrilling 120 kph in urgently, like Sachin Tendulkar. Accelerate smoothly and slowly and the same engine quietly picks up speed with no noise from the engine, only wind swishing, and you hit the same 120 kph, without drama, like Rahul Dravid. Very subtle. I know 63 BHP is not a lot, but it is enough to get wheel spin when accelerating through a low gear corner.

The 4-speed auto 'box is easiness simplified. I have heard people being circumspect about the reliability and robustness of an auto 'box esp. in such a budget car. But let me tell you, last two years it has worked like charm. No matter what you do to it, wheel spinning start, rev the engine in Neutral and engage transmission suddenly, forward while the car is doing reverse, it keeps going on. Once my driver accidentally put it into "P" while driving, still no problemo! The gear box really shines in stop go traffic.

On Zero throttle input the car keeps moving at 5 kph, so in slow moving traffic, you need not worry about riding the clutch, feathering throttle , braking etc. It is really "automatic". And since automatic use liquid coupling , it will never stall. It is impossible to stall. As far as acceleration is concerned, you can pull away from traffic like a rocket. By the time the big cars, depress the clutch, slot the gear , match the revs and press the throttle, you are off with just a prod of the throttle, leaving the traffic gasping in your RVM. I really like when "faster" vehicles start changing lanes to overtake me, but can't keep up! ha ha !

One thing is if you floor the throttle from stand still, it takes some time to build up speed. You gotta be a gentle at low speeds I mean till 5 kph. After that you can floor the car and the kick down is awesome, slotting it into a lower gear and giving a power surge. But the kick down is a bit late off late, so you better floor the throttle a bit earlier than you want. You can also limit the maximum gearing you are in by slotting it into "L" and "2" mode. In "L" mode It stays in 1st gear till 50 kph and the acceleration is phenomenal! You get really pushed into the back of your seat! But too bad for your F.E.

It easily does 145 kph without breaking a sweat. Very few cars have overtaken my peppy baby! because the acceleration is seamless, there is no time wasted for depressing the clutch and changing gears.

Ride, Handling and Braking:
Ride as with all Santros is a bit bumpy. I really hope they had gas filled shocks. Some bumps realy make the car resonate and bob up and down. But on a smooth highway, you hardly realise any movement even at speeds of 130+

Handling is confident enough. But the tall boy design means it will tilt and roll in corners. But the precise steering gives you confidence that it will hold line, and it reacts well to minute corrections mid corner.

Brakes are powerful. But the servo is a bit unpredictable and enthusiastic. Press the pedal too smoothly and it kicks in very late, scarily late. Press it hard in panic and wheels lock up in a jiffy. You have to be firm but gentle from the start. Then the brakes are great.

The ride, stability and braking have improved by upgrading to 5" Alloys ( stock wheel is 4") and Bridgestone Turanza.

Interiors:
Interiors not bad, but nothing too pretty. Functional and practical. Big easy to use knobs, Simple controls. Decent but not great plastics. Nice looking three spoke steering wheel, but too hard material, a nice leatherish cover, took care of that. Decent space in the front. Foot well a bit narrow. Rear bench quite comfortable and relaxing but too narrow for 3 people. The A/C is good enough after it gets into its element, but takes a while to chill.

Maintenance:
Low on maintenance, as such, the bad roads to my office has really taken its toll. Had a bent axle oncen and alignment keeps changing due to the bad roads. Now the roads are laid perfect. So hoping no problems will surface.

The biggest maintenance have been once when it hit a dog at 110 kph, damaged the radiator. We pulled up and called for the towing vehicle, but it was raining and it a while , and fearing suspension damage from towing ( you can't tow a an AT car with its front wheel on the ground, it will damage the transmission, so you can't use another car to tow), we felt a bit adventurous and drove to Service Center, but suddenly the engine temperature shot up and had to replace the engine heads as well , costing 37,000.

Have changed the front brake pads twice and brake discs once. I always want my brakes razor sharp.

The Service is very good, with prompt delivery and polite staffs, who explain all the problems and the solutions.

UPGRADES:

ICE:
June 2008: Added a Sony Xplod 1000W Sub woofer and Amp, to the existing Sony Xplid CDX series HUD and 4 basic speakers.

Tyres:

Stock tyres
were MRF ZVTS 155/70 R13 tube-type. Steering and handling was good, but ride was harsh and lost all tread-depth at 22 k km ( thanks to some aggressive driving too )

June 2008 (almost one year)At 22,000 km, after reading a lot of threads in T-BHP, upgraded to Bridgestone Turanza 165/65 R13 tubeless on stock steel wheels. Ride and grip improved, But due to excessive side-wall flexing, felt a bit wobbly during crosswinds and braking. The tyres were too wide for the stock wheels. Steering was a bit puddingy and not sharp. Suspected reduction in Fuel Efficiency.

Feb 2009: upgraded to Aura D 6350 5" Alloys ( always wanted alloys!). as stock wheels were bent due to some high speed pot holes impact. Wobbling reduced. Ride was same. Felt more stable in highway and during braking. But steering effort increased and central tendency was a bit too much than I liked.

August 2009: at 53,000 km, the tyres again wore out and changed to Bridgestone Turanza but tubeless 155/70 R13 ( stock size ) this time. This lightened up the steering. Increase high-speed and braking stability due to reduced side-wall flexing. Have to try Michelin XM1 next year.

Fuel efficiency. Please do not ask, the automatic gear box plus spirited driving means FE is 10 kpl at the max. Well you cannot have everything

Overall the last two years has been wonderful. It keeps performing consistently and reliably that you hardly notice how efficient it is in doing its job. A nice first car to have!

Here she is :
Hyundai Santro Xing XL Automatic 55,000 km Report-17052008787.jpg

Hyundai Santro Xing XL Automatic 55,000 km Report-11012009181.jpg

You can catch more about her in my Garage

Last edited by rageshgr : 20th August 2009 at 23:20.
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Old 21st August 2009, 00:07   #2
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Hi Ragesh,

Nice detailed report. There are very few reports on Santro Auto.

It is surprising that your tyres worn out at just 31 K kms. My Santro (2001) ran on stocks and i had to change it at 48K just because the tyres were 8 years old.

One more suggestion is to change to spark plugs to "OWS Iridium". These plugs really breath life into the engine. Since you live in Kalpakkam, you could drive to IgNite on the ECR, which falls on the left just before you reach Golden Beach.

Happy driving. Saw your signature; When is the M3 expected?
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Old 21st August 2009, 00:27   #3
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Hi MAS, thanks a lot dude! Hope you are enjoying your Santro as well.

Ya I too was surprised! In fact 1st tyre change was at 22k, one reason about the 31 K was that , my alignment had taken a toll, and the tyres started wearing unevenly. Another reason may be, 100 km up and down ( 50 + 50) journey everyday at consistent speeds of 100-120 on the ECR most of the times, and braking at such speeds, may be the tyres get overheated. 8 years in one tyre? wow!

About Iridium plugs, I read in TBHP's modifying section that Iridium plugs on a stock engine does n't make any difference. That's why did not venture. You find any performance gains after you fit Iridium plugs?

About M3! In my dreams dude, in my dreams! not in another 15 years!

Happy Driving u too!
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Old 21st August 2009, 07:23   #4
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My 2002 Santro Zip plus automatic with 45K miles on the odo is still a pleasure to drive so I am sure your erlx is much better. In my view, Santro AT is the best car for our crowded cities. I got 44K on the first set of tires.
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Old 21st August 2009, 09:45   #5
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"Fuel efficiency. Please do not ask, the automatic gear box plus spirited driving means FE is 10 kpl at the max. Well you cannot have everything"

Sorry to disagree. But why are Indian consumers so accommodating?
Whats wrong with having comforts of AT and good FE?
My Honda City AT gives me 12 to 13 kmpl in city driving conditions and I expect it to be 15+.
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Old 21st August 2009, 10:07   #6
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That's a fairly comprehensive review of the Santro AT, makes me want to have one.
How nice it must feel, to just accelarte and not have to press the clutch and change gears. Apart for the accident you had, maintanence also seems to be easy on the pocket.
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Old 21st August 2009, 10:58   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subscrive View Post
"Fuel efficiency. Please do not ask, the automatic gear box plus spirited driving means FE is 10 kpl at the max. Well you cannot have everything"

Sorry to disagree. But why are Indian consumers so accommodating?
Whats wrong with having comforts of AT and good FE?
My Honda City AT gives me 12 to 13 kmpl in city driving conditions and I expect it to be 15+.
Honda City Auto costs twice as much as Santro Auto and comes with a Superior Auto transmission. What you pay is what you get. Santro Auto is all said and done is a good VFM car despite low FE.
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:30   #8
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Default Nice Review

Ragesh,

Nice review of the Santro AT. Its unfortunate that you had to change the head gasket after that accident. Apart from that you've had a smooth ride.

I drive a Santro too with a MT and have clocked ~56,000 kms in little over 4 and half years. Still run on the OEM Bridgestones (not a single puncture yet-touchwood) and Exide battery.

The tyres will be changed soon and so will the battery. Also my dad's planning on an upgrade to a i10 AT. I drove a colleague's i10 with an auto box and was gleaming at the ease of the drive in peak traffic.

Drive safe!

Cheers,
gpa
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Old 21st August 2009, 13:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subscrive View Post
"Fuel efficiency. Please do not ask, the automatic gear box plus spirited driving means FE is 10 kpl at the max. Well you cannot have everything"

Sorry to disagree. But why are Indian consumers so accommodating?
Whats wrong with having comforts of AT and good FE?
My Honda City AT gives me 12 to 13 kmpl in city driving conditions and I expect it to be 15+.
I am not being accommodating. I too want my Santro to give me 16 kpl. But as "DieselFan" said I know that the for this price all I can get is a small engine with a 4-speed auto which does n't promise much FE. Even if I have a 5 speed Auto, an auto transmission has other losses due to liquid coupling. Also you cant say shift up too early like in MT. I think had Santro given me a 6-speed auto, it might have given me the FE of a Santro MT. But then it would have cost too much. Now itself Santro AT is 70k more than Santro XL MT and 40 K more than even XO

By you can't have everything I also meant, you cant have a lot fun by driving the car in full throttle and enthusiastically all the time and still get maximum FE of 13.7 kpl ( as claimed by Autocar on highway). Great to know ur City AT gives u 13 kpl!

Last edited by rageshgr : 21st August 2009 at 14:01.
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Old 21st August 2009, 13:50   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
My 2002 Santro Zip plus automatic with 45K miles on the odo is still a pleasure to drive so I am sure your erlx is much better. In my view, Santro AT is the best car for our crowded cities. I got 44K on the first set of tires.
Wow! You all are terrific with your tyre numbers. I think your stock tyres were durable hard compound. Ya dude, its small size, agilty coupled with AT gives it best of both worlds advantage in city

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Old 21st August 2009, 13:53   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmanaman View Post
That's a fairly comprehensive review of the Santro AT, makes me want to have one.
How nice it must feel, to just accelarte and not have to press the clutch and change gears. Apart for the accident you had, maintanence also seems to be easy on the pocket.
Thanks dude! Go ahead and have one
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Old 21st August 2009, 13:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpa View Post
Ragesh,

Nice review of the Santro AT. Its unfortunate that you had to change the head gasket after that accident. Apart from that you've had a smooth ride.

I drive a Santro too with a MT and have clocked ~56,000 kms in little over 4 and half years. Still run on the OEM Bridgestones (not a single puncture yet-touchwood) and Exide battery.

The tyres will be changed soon and so will the battery. Also my dad's planning on an upgrade to a i10 AT. I drove a colleague's i10 with an auto box and was gleaming at the ease of the drive in peak traffic.

Drive safe!

Cheers,
gpa
Thanks dude! 56 K?? OMG! OEM Bridgestone is S322. That is a hard compound tyre. That could be one of th reasons of its durability. Also you may be driving it butter smooth. i10 AT eh? cool! go for it. You will enjoy it I am sure

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Old 21st August 2009, 14:32   #13
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Great to hear about how much you're enjoying driving your Automatic. I have bought an i10 automatic 4 months back and ever since, i simply adore the advantages or the Autobox when i'm stuck in traffic in a congested city like Bombay. In bumper-to-bumper traffic there's nothing better than relaxing your left foot rather than negotiating clutch and gear every few seconds. Now i know who to ask for queries related to extracting maximum out of that box. Great detailed report. Cheers!
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Old 21st August 2009, 15:04   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anilkalvani View Post
Great to hear about how much you're enjoying driving your Automatic. I have bought an i10 automatic 4 months back and ever since, i simply adore the advantages or the Autobox when i'm stuck in traffic in a congested city like Bombay. In bumper-to-bumper traffic there's nothing better than relaxing your left foot rather than negotiating clutch and gear every few seconds. Now i know who to ask for queries related to extracting maximum out of that box. Great detailed report. Cheers!
Sure dude! with pleasue! Glad you too are loving it! i10 is a great car! Actually i10 was launched just after I bought Santro. Missed it by a whisker, but of course the AT came much later.
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Old 21st August 2009, 16:40   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rageshgr View Post
Sure dude! with pleasue! Glad you too are loving it! i10 is a great car! Actually i10 was launched just after I bought Santro. Missed it by a whisker, but of course the AT came much later.
You can see my buying experience here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...automatic.html (My New Hyundai i10 Automatic)

Adios,
Anil
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