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Old 1st January 2011, 21:48   #1
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Default Santro GLS AT 2 years on

I bought my Santro GLS AT in end July 2008. Have covered over 27,540 kms. in it since then. So I thought I would update you all on my ownership experience.

1. The Santro automatic gear box is a great boon in city traffic. My tension levels have dropped substantially. The engine never stalls & the car never rolls back on inclined roads at signals. Actually I sit with both legs extended – left on dead rest & right on accelerator- in sofa style & really enjoy the music.http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif Using a light right foot I am able to control the car with minimum braking, even in bumper to bumper crawling. The low speed torque delivery is excellent as primarily the engine has good bottom end torque and this is amplified by the torque convertor of the gearbox. Engine is smooth as teflon and noiseless.

2. The steering geometry of the car has been optimized for city traffic. The power steering is very effective albeit a bit noisy once you come to complete lock. Dimensions are also spot on. I find it very easy to park in tight spaces. Literally able to dance my way in. I actually find it easier to park than my previous Maruti 800. The rear C pillar tends to obstruct rearward vision a bit during reversing. So I have installed a door mirror on the left side also. Shortly will be integrating a rear view camera with the head unit. The head unit is a 5” TFT Touchscreen Single DIN unit. Have used it for 2 months now. No problems with fouling etc. The large screen helps in selecting songs when using a DVD with many MP3 songs folders.

3. I get a fuel economy of 11.5 to 12 kmpl in the city. 30-50% a/c usage. I get 15 -19 kmpl on the highway. FE is very sensitive to speed & hilly terrain.

4. The auto gear box is a real gem. It is programmed for FE in city use. It has a detent button that one has to press when shifting from P to R. Moving from R to N is just by tapping the lever. Similarly once can move between N & F (both ways) by tapping the lever. But for moving from N to R one needs to press the detent button. Similarly one needs to use the detent button to move from D to 2 or L. Because of this one can tap the lever back & forth between N & D without any fear of accidentally engaging R or a lower gear. There is a small button to switch on/off the OD function. OD off acts like a sports mode. But I have found it to be only marginally different. So I keep it in “OD on” mode all the time. The 2 or L positions are meant for hill climbing. In 2 the gb keeps the gear in 2nd./3rd. for the max. In L it keeps the gears in 1st/2nd. But I have found that keeping the gb in D is more that sufficient on all ghats. Some ghats covered by me are Mumbai-Pune on the expressway. Udipi-Agumbe. Sringeri-Kudkeremukh. Mangalore-Madekeri. All these were with driver+co passenger & full load of luggage. I have also taken the car with 5 onboard up some pretty sleep slopes without any problems. The hill hold function is quite effective, though you may need to increase the accelerator in cases of steep inclines and full loads.
The shifting of gears can be controlled as follows:- i)flooring the accelerator results in a downshift, though it takes between 1 to 2 seconds. ii) easing off the accelerator while accelerating results in an almost instantaneous upshift. Absolutely no problems with the auto gearbox.

5. The engine power is more than adequate for city driving. On the highway it just about manages. But that has not prevented me from taking it on long highway trips. On long steep inclines it takes quite some time to pick up speed. I manage to drive at 80kmph average and have run it at 120kmph on occasions. Car is stable & planted, but once must alway keep in mind the fact that it is a tallboy city slicker. So no violent cornering or the body roll will unsettle you. Actually when driving down a long ghat road from Kudremukh had a hoot sprinting down the ghat at 40-60 kmph. Had to brake harder & earlier to keep body roll in check and this necessitated harder accelerating out of corners. (FE on that stretch must have been pathetic).

6. I have done 2 long distance drives in the car.
The first was in Diwali 2008. Route was Pune-Karwar-Murdeshwar-Kollur-Udupi-Sringeri-Kudremukh-Hornadu-mangalore-Dharmasthala-Kukke Subramanya-Madekeri-Yellapur-Gokak-Pune. Total run was around 2600 kms.
The second was in Diwali 2010. Route was Pune-Chitradurga-Chennai-Bangalore-Tirupathi-Chitradurga-Pune. Total run was around 3110 kms including local trips in Chennai.
In both the trips I was driving throughout & my wife was navigating. Dicky was full of luggage with some pieces on the rear seat also. Absolutely effortless though I had to be careful on potholed roads as the front ground clearance was a bit of an issue. More power would have been welcome but I managed without any serious issues. With the windows rolled up & A/c on there is very little wind noise though tyre noise does get thru. At all times it is better to keep in mind that this is a city slicker so that one does not get carried away & do something foolish.

7. The ride is ok for city use. Possibly a bit hard, but acceptable. Handling is nothing to talk off – after all it is a tallboy. Brakes are ok. Lack of ABS & Airbags is a big letdown in my view. Possibly the one main reason why i may upgrade to an I10. The additional 12-14 bhp of the 1.2 Kappa will also be a bonus. I am 5'9.5”. So I need to push my seat all the way back. So there is minimum legroom for anybody sitting behind me. Our usage pattern is that max. no .of trips are single driver only(i.e. me). Only occasionally we have full load of 4 people & that too for short trips. Rear seat ride is quite ok. Have sat there a couple of times when my driver was at the wheel.

8. Overall the body has held up well. Some rattling from the fuel filler cap on rough roads. Some squeaks from the dash & steering column at times. But nothing irritating or something I can't live with. The left front ground clearance is less(135mm as per manual). So one has to be careful when going onto the hard shoulder. One also has to be careful over large speed breakers or deep potholes. There is a protection plate that takes the scraping. But I have found that it is mainly the towing hook bracket that scrapes the ground.
Reliability is excellent. No problems other than the wheel alignment discussed below. Period! Have spent around Rs. 5,000 or so on Fluids & labour for servicing till date.
I had replaced the stock tyres with Michelin tubeless immediately after taking delivery. Had found that he Camber angles were out of specs. Tyre shops said nothing can be done to correct this. Got a bit lazy and forgot to do the alignment at 15,000 kms. Noted later on that front tyre wear had started increasing. By the time I did something the 2 front tyres had to be replaced at around 22,500 kms. Put in 2 MRF ZVTS. At that time the shop also managed to get the camber corrected. (yes it can be done!). Will replace the rears at 30,000 kms & rotate the tyres.

Hope this encourages more people to go in for the I10 Auto now (Santro auto has been discontinued). It is ideal for city use with occasional highway drive. Will be glad to answer any queries. I visit the forum once a week so please bear with me for any delays in posting answers.

Attached Thumbnails
Santro GLS AT 2 years on-santro_gls_at.jpg  

Santro GLS AT 2 years on-shift-lever.jpg  

Santro GLS AT 2 years on-head-unit.jpg  

sridhar-v is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd January 2011, 11:25   #2
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Default Re: Santro GLS AT 2 years on

Great review.
I was unaware about the 135mm GC of only 1 of the side. That seems odd.

I will ping you later to know more about 5"display.

You can also provide FE details at following thread.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...automatic.html (What is the fuel efficiency (FE) of your Santro Automatic (AT)?)
This will help people decide on ATs and remove the bias of low FEs.
subscrive is offline   Reply With Quote

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