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Old 15th December 2009, 20:28   #1
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Default Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report

One thousand eighty six cubic centimeters of sunshine

Eight hundred and twenty five.
That's exactly was the amount of runs that were scored today in India versus Sri Lanka match.
The tri coloured side contributed four hundred and fourteen.
And another,the one with lion's share, so close, that it lost the game.
Four hundred and eleven to be precise.
Or, in other words, just 3 runs short. But this small amount of numbers game can make huge differences in one's destiny and career, and most importantly, it forms a part of the game.

It is often said that good things come in small packages. And what better fact to justify that more than 70 percent of India's car buying public buys small cars.
Easy on the wallet, easy to park, drive, maintain and at the same time sufficiently powerful and efficient to cater to your daily city driving with occasional highway runs for an average family of 3, or at most 4 people, mainly Mia Biwi and their bachcha party.

Hyundai in 1998 understood that small doesn't necessarily have to be small. Just like Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made an astonishing addition to Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri's statement "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan", by adding "Jai Vigyan" to it, it signaled our country's modernity and adoption to modern technology, beliefs and values while keeping our core ones intact.

Similarly, Hyundai also believed that the small car market can also be of a tall order to crack, so it told itself that good things often come in small as well as TALL packages, and this led to the creation of santro for our market.
Thoroughly modern, it was our country's tallest affordable car hat time and when launched, people went berserk over its gawky hideous shape, but under that quirky shape, there lied a thoroughly modern engineering marvel, with tech like first in class (for 1998) MPFi, electronic ignition, multi valve epsilon engine, tall shape for easy entry and exit, wide 13" tyres, many convenience and safety features etc, all at a value price.

Adding Mr. Shahrukh Khan as its brand ambassador only proved to be icing in the cake and the Santro is considered to be one of the biggest success stories of all time in the Indian small car market, a fact that it still sells in thousands every month, and approximately more than 15 lakh santros have rolled out both for domestic as well as export consumption out of Hyundai's plant in Sriperumbadur.

Now while the car got evolved and got constant upgrades over the years, its core DNA of an all round VFM city car still remains intact.

The turning point and a major factor that contributed to its success came in May 2003 when the car got transformed from Santro to Santro Xing with a dramatic face lift and improvements in both exteriors and interiors based on customer feedback. the 1.1 epsilon engine was unchanged but the car got heavier, thus blunting its highway performance especially in comparison to its arch rival, the Wagon R.

Competition has evolved and so has the car. Many cars came and gone but the Santro still remains one of the top 10 selling cars in India. Its successor, the i 10 meanwhile is doing staggering numbers and it became India's second best selling car in November 2009, the fact remains that the Santro Xing, now positioned as an entry level hatch with periodic price cuts and discounts, continues to sell on an average of 6,000-7,500 units per month, a respectful number given the car's 11th year of production.

2005 April was a turning point when the country was adopting to stricter Euro 3 norms, many manufacturers had significantly upgraded their motors for more mileage and less green house gas emissions, but at the cost of marginal drop in performance.

Hyundai, on the other hand, finally gave the xing the motor it deserved at first place. While 80 percent of the engine remains the same, a new roller bearing camshaft, lightweight all alloy cylinder block and heads and a new dual coil distributorless ignition (similar to wagon R) has made significant improvements to the engine's performance, mileage and emissions, at least on paper.

This upgraded epsilon motor, (IN MY TERMS AS XING MK-2) dubbed the E-RLX (don't know what it means) also features an increased torque of 9.8 kg-m at a lowly 2,800-3,000 rpm, 80 percent of which is available from just 1,500 rpm, and an upgraded ECU, bigger valve design for better combustion and breathing and altered second and third ratios for optimum bottom end performance in city limits, and the fact that it has earned reputation as one of the most user friendly cars to drive further reinforced its positioning as an all round city hatch.

The requirement:

Back in mid 2006, while looking for a replacement for my bruised and abused matiz, I restricted myself to kei-cars only due to small size-fits-all factors and my daily running meant that the car had to be easy on the pocket as well as on the wallet, be able to take a fair amount of abuse, be equipped with decent equipment and safe enough at high speeds with decent handling. Test driving Santro, Wagon R, Zen estilo and Indica xeta made my choice clear-it had to be a santro.

Big discounts and freebies during the navratra period only sweetened the deal.
Yes, there were super minis like the swift and getz but they were a bit beyond my budget at that time. I was about to start my MBA next year and keeping this in mind, it was he default choice.

Now, since my parents drive the jazz, its me and my brother (the new owner of the Santro) who use this car often, in fact 90 percent of the time it is still driven by me, as my bro hardly gets the time to even think of driving (BPO life, you know what I mean.)

After 38 months and 66,900 km, how does it hold up in real life conditions?
Read on to find out.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 15th December 2009, 20:33   #2
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Exteriors:

While the car has been only facelifted majorly once, fact remains that it still manages to look decent, though dated, yet at the same time it retains that traditional Korean quirkiness, especially with the overdose of creases and curves at the side. Its only when kitted with 5 spoke wheelcaps (like the one fitted on my car) it looks pretty striking in person. Silver suits this car the best and I still love those gorgeous taillights which look classy at night.
My car is an XO variant, at that time the top model, after the XS was withdrawn and some features of XS were added on XG to create the XO. I changed the ugly steel rims with hubcaps to black finished I 10 rims with original XS design 5 spoke wheelcaps from Hyundai genuine parts to get that ďdifferent lookĒ. Fog lamps were not part of standard equipment but I got it fitted from an authorized Hyundai workshop, all to factory spec parts and wiring with relay unlike most aftermarket accessories shops.
Overall, the look has grown on me and though it is such a common sight, it manages to look quite decent without offending anyone. After all, how many people spending about 3,50,000 manage to care about looks alone? Its subjective, and a matter of taste.

Build:

This is something very important when purchasing a small car in our country. How much will the body shell be prone to withstand squeaks, rattles and abuse? How well will it be able to protect its occupants in an vent of a crash?

The truth is, my car has faced all this, and a big time at that. It went through some minor, and some major crashes, 3 times to be precise and the monocoque frame is still untouched, so good is the build integrity of the car. The car is showing some minor signs of rattles but it is because of some loose fittings which I got repaired today. It has been abused a lot, yet the body shell never shown signs of rattle till 63,000 km, of course this is possible only if the car is properly maintained.
Attached Thumbnails
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Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-36.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2009, 20:37   #3
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Interiors, space and comfort:

The car has ample space for 4 occupants, with an occasional medium sized fifth passenger thrown in. In fact, it is one of the first cars in India with a theater style tall rear seat for easy entry and exit. The entry point is high and it means that you sit on them rather than in them. Cushioning is firm but decent and can get a bit tiring on long trips.

Two up, the seat is very comfortable but on squeezing a third person, the comfort levels drop but not drastically. For short to medium runs, it works.
The biggest drawback, however is the shortage of legroom, especially when the front seats are fully pushed back. To disguise this fact, the seats are placed high as the higher you sit, the less you need to stretch your legs. While it works for short people, taller passengers continue to face this problem.

Headroom is phenomenal, even for a six footer and the angle of seat inclination is pretty OK.

Up front, things get better as the seats are firm but comfy but again, bad pedal placement means that my right ankle often pains due to awkwardly laced throttle pedal , more so that sometimes I have to turn my right leg towards a bit to left side to get a good grip over the throttle pedal. Tall drivers will know what exactly I mean.

Legroom is again short for tall driverís like me (I stretch my legs fully while driving, thatís my habit) and Hyundai could have designed the car more intelligently, like decreasing the space for the engine etc. to generate more legroom.

The dashboard is convectional with 1980s like slider controls and thereís not much storage space other than a small glove box and a couple of knick-knack spaces on the right side of the stereo console. The gear console has 2 small sized half-a-litre bottle holders and the driverís seat is provided with a seat-under-tray, a feature deleted after the XO was phased out to make room for GL and GLS models.

However, the best part of the interiors is the material quality and fit and finish, easily the best in its class of cars, only bettered by the I 10. Regular dry-cleaning keeps the interior look as good as new and the gray-and black coloured combination makes it fairy easy to clean and maintain also.
The new interiors, introduced recently in brown and beige colour combo are actually of a more higher quality but will require heavy maintenance to prevent them from getting dirty.
Attached Thumbnails
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Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-32.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2009, 20:38   #4
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Engine, gearbox and performance:

This is one area where the car really shines, in fact its USP of an easy to drive user friendly city hatch is reinforced by its upgraded mechanicals.
In my books, the calibration of engine to body weight with respect to performance and torque is still best in the santro, in its class of kei cars that displace between 1.0 litres to 1.1 litres.

The upgraded E-RLX engine is actually a big step forward over the old 1.1 engine in the pre march 2005 santros.

Start the ignition, and the engine growls to a sporty idle. Increase the RPM, it gets more raspy. Pickup at first and second gear, after all this abuse, is still brilliant with all that torque coming to play. Drab the throttle and once you use all its 63 horses at peak 5500 rpm, its astonishingly easy to overtake traffic even on the highway, and the carís masterstroke is actually its third gear which uses all its available torque to pull up cleanly at speeds as low as 20 kmph all the way up to 90 kmph.

Acceleration through the gears is simply amazing for a car of its diminutive size and the car is actually fun to pilot and potter around, given the knowledge about how to use the gearbox at the right time at the correct RPM.

Regular oil changes and service schedule will keep the engine running as good as new and touch wood, my engine has never been opened for any major repair till date. In fact, major critical components are still original factory parts, including the timing belt, which I plan to change at 70,000 kms.

The best part of the 1086 cc engine is that it never runs out of breath even at 5th gear with all the available power being used to the fullest. In fact, strange and unbelievable as it may sound, I have cruised at 155 kmph on an open expressway while the car can occasionally touch 160 kmph. But you need FULL CONCENTRATION and an empty stretch to do it with the RIGHT set of wheels and tyres. More on that later.

The gearbox complements the engine perfectly and shift quality is butter smooth even today, provided the car gets transmission fluid changes every 30,000 kms, as manufacturer recommended.
Attached Thumbnails
Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-35.jpg  

Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-37.jpg  

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Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-25.jpg  


Last edited by sidindica : 15th December 2009 at 20:42.
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Old 15th December 2009, 20:45   #5
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Fuel efficiency:

This is the mileage that I have been getting using regular grade 87 octane fuel:
  • City with 100 percent AC on in start and stop traffic: about 12-13 kmpl
  • Highway with full AC on at 80 kmph: about 15-16 kmpl
  • Mixed traffic conditions: about 13-14 kmpl
  • Highway with AC off in winter: 18-19 kmpl
  • City with AC off at 50-55 kmph: 16 kmpl
  • Best achieved with light foot: 21.3 kmpl
  • Worst with abused driving: 8 kmpl
The quality of fuel can also vary the mileage, in fact recently my efficiency dramatically dropped to below 7 kmpl an the culprit was adulterated petrol. Fuel tank was cleaned and refueled and the car is back on track with my expected figures.
Attached Thumbnails
Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-9.jpg  

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Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-12.jpg  

Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-22.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2009, 20:48   #6
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Ride, handling and braking:

The car’s suspension is stiff and it provides it with top class handling in its class of cars, only bettered by spark and a-star. The car may lack EPS but handling in city is simply terrific, with accurate steering ratio and light controls coming to play. The clutch is incredibly light, and the car is effortless to dart in congested city streets, a fact that lady drivers love about this car.

The stiff suspension has a major drawback-its bouncy ride, more so at the rear. My car came with tube type good year GPS 2 tyres, which pitched excessively and tossed passengers around at the rear. While the shockers are heavy duty and good quality, the springs and dampers could have been a bit softer, like those on the Wagon R and spark.

But, on changing the tyres to tubeless Michelin XM1s at 50,000 km, the ride improves dramatically. Its still bouncy, but at least its controllable and bearable.

One thing that I noticed is when I changed the stock rims, 5.0 J X 13 to I 10 rims with new tyres, 5.5 J X 13, and 155/70 R13 respectively, the car’s stability has MASSIVELY improved. That wider rims actually contribute a lot to the car’s highway stability, which once was its worst drawback.
Want proof? At 155 kmph on greater Noida expressway, maintaining the correct tyre pressure the car feels stable and secure, and never shudders given its tinny weight.

I strongly recommend santro xing E-RLX owners to switch to I-10 rims and tubeless and the improvements to the overall ride and highway stability can be as high as 20-30 percent, depending upon how well the car is maintained.
Attached Thumbnails
Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-11.jpg  

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Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-40.jpg  


Last edited by Dippy : 21st April 2010 at 11:18. Reason: Correcting typo
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Old 15th December 2009, 20:53   #7
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Buying and owning:

I purchased this car for about 3,89,000 OTR Delhi after discounts and freebies from a dealer.

As far as after sales service goes, it varies from good to bad to absolutely atrocious experience with various dealers that my car has been through. Though the running repair replacement parts are cheap, the labor rates are ridiculously expensive, more so for denting and painting jobs.

Moreover, Hyundai dealers do not sell the part freely (no counter sale) and you often ending up paying unnecessarily taxes and labor charges, most of the time for those jobs which one can be done ourselves.

Overall quality of after sales has really gone down and Hyundai needs to rethink its policies and keep a check on dealer attitude to make sure that overall experience is not ruined.

Actually, many dealers just donít care about customers and keep on taking in cars after cars, thus increasing workload by as high as 40 percent on weekends. Why bite off more than you can chew?

Only one answer: money, more money and profit margin, which these dealers are doing.

Summing up:

Overall other than bashes here and there, this car has never let me down mechanically. It remains an efficient, easy to drive, reliable commuter for rough inter-city use, abuse and to get basics doing that I expect.

How longer we intend to keep the car is still unknown but the fact remains that the santro is still the best all rounder entry level basic city hatch that buyers on a budget can buy. First time drivers/ buyers/as a second car for all the aforementioned uses, I gets the job done, and a big one a that.
Attached Thumbnails
Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-21.jpg  

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Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-23.jpg  

Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-26.jpg  

Hyundai Santro Xing eRLX: 1,00,000 kms report-13.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2009, 20:53   #8
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Dear Sidindica-your car looks in amazing shape, very well maintained, just a query, what tires are your car running on, and have you noticed that the santro comes with two types of wheel rims on with 4J and one with 4.5J, any idea why this is so?
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Old 15th December 2009, 21:08   #9
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Summary:

Make and Model: Hyundai Santro XO
Colour: Bright Silver
Purchased: September 2006
Colour: Bright Silver metallic
Kilometers run: 66,900

Service recommended by Hyundai: every 10,000 km
Service followed by me: 5,000-7,000 km depending upon the condition of the car:
Scheduled Parts replaced:
  • engine oil and oil filter change
  • air filter change
  • alignment and balancing
  • washing and cleaning
  • fuel filter changed at every 10,000 km
  • transmission oil changed at 30,000 and 60,000 km
  • ran on company oil till 50,000 km, switched to mobil 1 synthetic from 50,000 onwards
  • brake pads replaced
  • decarbonized at 50,000 km
  • tyres and wheels changes at about 50,000 km
  • clutch overhauled at 63,000 km
  • timing belt to be replace at 70,000 km
warranty repairs:
  • radiator replaced for leakage at 20,000 km
  • rear brake shoes replaced for wheel jamming twice at 20,000 km
accident parts replaced at company A.S.S.
  • front fender-twice right, once left
  • front bumper-twice
  • rear bumper-once
  • windscreen-twice
Standard equipment checklist in my car:
  • body coloured bumpers
  • rear wiper, washer and defogger
  • all round power windows
  • manual central locking
  • HVAC
  • hydraulic power steering
  • seat under tray, two door pockets, seat back pocket
  • fabric insert on all door trims
  • all round moulded trims in interior
  • double folding rear seat
Optional equipment fitted:
  • front fog lamps for 6,500-from Hyundai A.S.S.
  • matching trim seat covers-from Mayur Vihar phase 2 accessories shop
  • gear lock (free by the dealer)
  • mud flaps and floor mats (free by the dealer)
  • Hyundai cobra anti theft alarm system and keyless entry (free provided by the dealer)
  • I 10 wheels and new tyres (from a well known tyre shop)-cost: rs. 1000 total for 5 rims, Rs. 22,000 for 5 michelin tyres
  • full 5 spoke wheel cover (from Hyundai genuine parts-cost Rs. 2,000 for a set of 4)
ICE:
  • Pioneer 2750 MP3 CD only player with antenna and front 2 speakers with 2 rear pioneer speakers (freebie provided by the dealer)
  • Upgraded to pioneer 3050 USB/AUX/CD with same speakers and remote (old one was stolen)
  • Upgraded to sony CDX 484 US in fall 2008 as again, the pioneer was stolen.
  • Speakers replaced with JBL GT5-S204 front 4", GTO 947 6 X 9 oval at the rear (fitted inside the grill)
  • Kicker 4 channel amplifier
  • JBL CS 1000W woofer
Current resale Value of my type of car:
  • About Rs. 1,75,000-1,85,000 depending upon the condition.

Last edited by sidindica : 15th December 2009 at 21:20.
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Old 15th December 2009, 21:37   #10
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Excellent and detailed review for one of the most sought after hatchbacks in India. The pictures and write up were so detailed.

Good job Sid.
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Old 15th December 2009, 21:54   #11
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Excellent review Sid.
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Old 15th December 2009, 22:16   #12
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Nice review. The Santro motor is a delight to use in city. Gearshift is something that is way better than the competetion.
I sincerely hope Hyundai brings out a new version of the Santro with improved rear seat, suspension and digital dotometer/tripmeter, rotary AC controls. It might just bounce back to take the crown away from WagonR as the largest selling car in the segment.
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Old 18th December 2009, 23:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Dear Sidindica-your car looks in amazing shape, very well maintained, just a query, what tires are your car running on, and have you noticed that the santro comes with two types of wheel rims on with 4J and one with 4.5J, any idea why this is so?
I 10 rims (IIRC 4.5 J, don't know the size), Michelin XM1 155/70 R13 tubeless tyres
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Old 30th December 2009, 12:24   #14
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New upgrade to the onboard entertainment system.
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Old 30th December 2009, 20:28   #15
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Very nice review of your Santro. You seem to amaze all of us even with an ownership report. Way to go.
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