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Old 20th December 2009, 12:23   #1
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Default Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic

Fellow BHPians,

Attempting a short story + a semi detailed review (lets say initial impressions) of 'you already know what'.

The prelude :
'98 model Zen VX (owned 2004-2009) : Driven for about 40k kms in the 5 yrs I had it.
Mostly driven in Pune (outskirts) when well, the climate was colder, the traffic was lesser, the fuel was cheaper and road sense was better. All it had in terms of convenience was a decent AC (which made it crawwwll..) but, I never felt the need for even a power steering / windows. Leave alone the AT box.

Moved to Mumbai in early 2008.
Here's where it all started.
Miles of crawling in B2B traffic on the W.E.H. (with flyover constructions and what not).
40 kms of daily drive in peak city traffic (20 kms each way). Constant use of the clutch eventually gave me a left knee pain, constant shifting of gears meant my one hand was pretty much occupied on the gear. Which left just my right hand to operate the 'non power assisted' steering in traffic. Result - back pain towards the right shoulder side.

Here's where I thought, I need to fix it. Else, it'll end up in permanant problem with the leg and the back.
I remembered driving Automatics back in the US. There I wondered why all cars were automatics. The convenience of that feature was needed HERE !

And then started the 'upgrade' (from Zen) hunt for a better car.
Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009663.jpg

To be continued ..

Last edited by jigbarai : 20th December 2009 at 12:25.
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Old 20th December 2009, 12:53   #2
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Congratulations, do post more pics.
My brother also has a santro automatic for around 3 years now, and no problems arose till now, i am sure your car will also run without any problems also.

Last edited by abhayshanu : 20th December 2009 at 12:55.
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Old 20th December 2009, 13:28   #3
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Continued ..

So, about 6 months back I started looking for a good used automatic, primarily for city driving only.
Rarely used to do highway trips, find trains/flights better for that purpose.

Checked out couple of NHC CVTs (asking 5L +) for 4/5 yr old models. Felt they were too costly.
Checked out an optra automatic. Was recommended to avoid since it was not very frugal for city commute and was a fuel guzzler.

Meanwhile the i10 Automatic was launched and Santro AT discontinued. I test drove the i10 3 times and sooo wanted to get it. But for 5 Lacs + on the road, apart from the AT box, the rest of the car was honestly disappointing. Didnt feel worth that much money.

Somewhere during this process I happened to also happened to test drive the Skoda Fabia, just for the heck of it.
Had a secret liking for the model since a long time, so did the wifey.
To cut a long story short - even though it did not have the AT / DSG, I ended up buying one .
I thought the excellent dynamics, quality, comfort of the car would still make me continue driving the Manuals.
8 months, 7000 kms, it is still going strong and the experience has been fantastic, to say the least. Oops, this is going OT, needs a separate thread.

Back to the subject..

Somewhere during this, the Zen was sold. Sigh, lovely car.

9 months with the new Fabia, still; whenever I ran into dense traffic (which BTW happens daily) and bikers/autos cutting and jumping lanes, making you stop and go (new car makes you drive that extra carefully). The trouble of frequent clutch / gear use did not go away. The itch to get an automatic slowly came back. Albeit, with a reduced budget now. Had set myself a max target of 2 to 2.25 tops.

The only options in this zone were the OHC AT and the Santro AT. Both are considered rare models in the used car market. Finding one, in right condition at the right price was a struggle, more so the Santro AT.

Saw 3 OHC ATs, all had done 5, 6 even 7 years so far. All had clocked more than 60k on the ODO and were 2/3 owner. But none was quoted below 3L. Discontinued (for long) model, high running, sounded a tad risky.

The mind said 'keep looking for the Santro'. The model is still running, the AT box is the same in the newer i10/i20s, so maintenance shouldnt be an issue. Small size would make it quite drivable in city (even for the wifey).

After looking thru like 4 Santro (and Xing) ATs, I finally found myself one THAT CLICKED.

Nov 2005 Model, Santro Xing AT eRLX.
Single owner. Husky blue colour.
No dents, no visible scratches.
Done only 23k on the ODO.
Original tyres (tubetype) with still life left on them.
The spare tyre looked like it was never even taken out.
Everything is stock so far. As if it was driven out new from the showroom.
Yep, it had no ICE installed on it at all during these 4 yrs.

More to follow ..

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Last edited by jigbarai : 20th December 2009 at 13:30.
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Old 20th December 2009, 15:26   #4
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Congrats on your new acquisition, and nice writeup - keep it coming.
AT box sure is a blessing in b2b traffic.
From the initial pictures the car (santro AT) looks well maintained. Eagerly awaiting for more pics and performance stats.
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Old 20th December 2009, 15:50   #5
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Contd ..

This image below, is precisely why I spent 2.5 L

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009657.jpg

For details around what this AT gearbox is, how to use it, benefits of the automatic etc., a fellow bhpian has penned down a good write up.
I'd just provide the linky here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ml#post1217351 (My Hyundai Santro Automatic)

Like you can see, even with no clutch, they've retained the 'dead pedal' for resting the left foot. Quite comfortable. You could even fold your left leg up and drive. Like you'r sitting on a sofa.

The picture below will make the foot well more clear. Notice the dead pedal on the left, the largish break in the center and the accelerator on the right.

Comment - I wish they were a little better spaced out.

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009659.jpg

Next one is the simple instrument cluster.
No tacho provided sadly.
Another imp. feature missing is indicating on the cluster, which gear is engaged. A few automatics have this (even the OHC does, I believe). Without this, while moving between P-R-N-D-2-1, you have to look down at the gear to make sure you are doing the right thing.

A nice temprature guage. Notice the two black dots between which the needle rests. This is supposed to be the 'optimum range' - good to know when the engine is warming up or when its getting 'too hot'.
It takes about 2 min of idling to reach the optimum range.

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009669.jpg

More to follow ..

Last edited by jigbarai : 20th December 2009 at 15:52.
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Old 20th December 2009, 16:39   #6
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I bet AT would be perfect for B2B traffic. How is the FE of the used AT?

I heard horror stories of i10 ATs giving 5,6,7 kmpl.
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Old 20th December 2009, 17:24   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MutantX View Post
I bet AT would be perfect for B2B traffic. How is the FE of the used AT?

I heard horror stories of i10 ATs giving 5,6,7 kmpl.
people are slowly breaking that myth!
I myself average 12 to 13.5 kmpl in my i10 AT
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Old 20th December 2009, 17:31   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
Congrats on your new acquisition, and nice writeup - keep it coming.
AT box sure is a blessing in b2b traffic.
From the initial pictures the car (santro AT) looks well maintained. Eagerly awaiting for more pics and performance stats.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MutantX View Post
I bet AT would be perfect for B2B traffic.
Thanks.
City B2B traffic is precisely why she's here.
I might lose a few thousands over my ownership period, but it will help save my left knee and my back.

Quote:
How is the FE of the used AT?
I heard horror stories of i10 ATs giving 5,6,7 kmpl.
Frankly, today's the first time I put in some fuel myself As you see the fuel guage closing on the empty mark. Lets see how it goes.
Looking at the needle move over the last 3 odd days (500 was topped up during delivery I was told, drove approx 100 kms since), I am expecting anything close to 9-10 kmpl in with AC on.
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Old 20th December 2009, 17:49   #9
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Interiors :

Minimal, maintained decently & kept clean.
Most of it is intact and in shades of grey. Prefered to tacky beige found these days.
A couple of rattles noticed, which will be fixed during service.

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009668.jpg

Needs some 'interior detailing' which should enhance the appearance.
Badly needs a good steering wheel cover.
I like the large'ish 3 pointed horn. Very easy to reach without moving hand position. (This is not that easy either on the Fabia or the Zen.)
Dont prefer honking much, but the bike/auto wallahs dont leave much of a choice.

One of the big pluses of the santro is the height. Ingress / egress is very comfortable, esp for parents. Much of relief as compared to the Zen.

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009660.jpg

It has front two power windows, the rear ones are manual.
The rear space is comfortable enough for 2. Three would mean elbow'ing.
Good to see headrests for the rear passengers too. [Missing in the i10 magna.]

The rear leg room is decently sufficient even with the front pushed a little back. High seats give good thigh support as well.

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009661.jpg

These were all the pluses.

Now, the gripes.

Seats are badly contoured. Esp. the front ones. Very bad lumbar support and they are hard at the base too. (Have they gone hard or do they come like this only?) They no way stand in any comparision to the Fabia's. However, even the Zen's seats were far better in comfort.

Help needed :
Where can I get these front seats 'beefed up' in the western suburbs ?
I'd like to add a bit of contoured foam and cover it up well with nice art leather or suede.

Last edited by jigbarai : 20th December 2009 at 17:55.
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Old 20th December 2009, 19:18   #10
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Continued further :

Externals :

The tall boy santro was never a 'looker' to start with. However, the Xing version has made it quite acceptable.

Benefits : Good headroom, really good GC. No worries over odd speed breakers.

The sheet metal thickness and overall build is also good. Does not show signs of aging after 4 yrs.
Not like the Skoda by any standards, but much better than the Marutis.

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009666.jpg

The black moulding running thru the circumference is a great thing to have. Looks much much better & intergrated than the after market corner fittings.

The internally adjustable OVRMs fold both ways (externally). Good to prevent damage from stupid knicks in traffic.

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Missing - Rear wiper. But the monsoon's gone and I have time to think about it.
By the looks of it, even the front wipers look like the need a new pair.

Clear glass headlamps look good. The light throw could be brighter/better. A potential future upgrade.


Engine, power :

1.1 eRLX MPFI works well.
The manual santro has amazing low end torque. This one due to the AT box may not be as quick to zip around, but is quite good nevertheless. Pick up on slopes, with 4 members and AC on is a tad slow.

Gear changes are mildly felt. Gets to the 2nd at 20 kmph, the third around 40 kmph and in overdrive (if on) at around 60 kmph.

Kick down mode works well for quick overtaking.

Silly question:
Is there any way to alter these gear ratios ? I mean I'd ideally like the 3rd to kick in upwards of 30 and the o/d to kick in by 50 kmph.

This may also better the FE, which currently I am thinking is around 10 kmpl with AC.

Air conditioining :

A/c is good.
Cools well even on the 1st blower setting.
A/c operation has not shown noticable impact on the engine performance (makes me remember the carb Zen here )

Gripe - The vents can't be closed. I pretty much travel by myself mostly. So I typically close out the passenger side vents enabling much better air throw at myself. Not possible, sadly.

Handling, dynamics :

I wish I wouldnt have to write this part/section. Nothing to write home about.
Bump bump, wobble wobble most of the way. Reminds of the high seas as some say. All undulations are made known.

May be my views and experience are biased by the 9 month Fabia experience. But this is one area where I'd have to see how to improve it a bit. The suspension seems okay.

Any other suggestions here ?

Steering is very light and a big boon. It can be operated by a finger.
Turning radius is quite tight & good, as expected.

You CANNOT corner aggressively or throw it around without getting worried.

Tyres :

Still running on original Bridgestone tube type.
Stock 155/70/13 size on OE rims.

And they still look good for atleast another 10k kms if not more

Hyundai Santro Xing Automatic-20122009662.jpg

A future upgrade on the Michelin/Apollo/Yoko tubeless 165/65 's might make things better I hope.
Should I go for the 175/60 to improve ride / handling ? Will it make the steering hard or impact FE ?

Braking :

Non ABS, still has a very good bite.
I dare say even better than the Fabia.

But being an Automatic, this needs to be used 'wisely'.
In 'D' mode, the car is always doing its bit to move at 5 kmph.

Shifting to 'N' or 'P' (during slopes) is a good idea, on any 'stops' above 10 seconds.
'P' will stop the vehicle from moving back or forth in slopes/flyovers without any brakes applied.

ICE :

Currently running on 2 speakers.
Full front soundstage.

Of my Nokia N82 placed near the speedo console
(All the current pictures are from the same cellphone camera. )

Work to be done :

a) Front seats - need to add contour and some soft foam for better ergonomics. Top priority.

b) Sunfilm - All around.. Garware on the sides and Lumar on the front ?

c) Interior detailing.

d) ICE - A decent HU (preferably with BT). May be front compos and 6*9s.

e) Steering wheel cover.

-----------------------------------------------


Will conclude the review here with a comment that it is one of the best things to drive in city traffic. Frugal, high, light steering and no clutch/gears.

And it is a very good buy in the used market (if you find one).
It commands a premium and they get sold in like hours of coming to market.

People who have it wouldnt be willing to sell unless they are upgrading.

Thank you for reading.

Hope it will be helpful to many forum readers on the subject topic.
Will update the thread periodically and answer any questions that may popup.

Cheers !

Last edited by jigbarai : 20th December 2009 at 19:20.
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Old 20th December 2009, 20:11   #11
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The Santro AT is the ultimate City car. The i10 maybe superior in many aspects but if you look at the engine output of the i10, the Torque comes at a much higher RPM than for the Santro 1.1 ERLX engine. This is why the Santro is more fun to drive in the city than the i10.

I have a 2002 Santro Zip Plus which has the 1.1 liter engine and ABS. So far the car has about 49K miles on the odomoter and runs great.
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Old 20th December 2009, 21:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
The Santro AT is the ultimate City car. The i10 maybe superior in many aspects but if you look at the engine output of the i10, the Torque comes at a much higher RPM than for the Santro 1.1 ERLX engine. This is why the Santro is more fun to drive in the city than the i10.

I have a 2002 Santro Zip Plus which has the 1.1 liter engine and ABS. So far the car has about 49K miles on the odomoter and runs great.
Guess you are talking about the 1.2 kappa engine which has maximum torque @ 4000 rpm. The 1.1 irde engine has its peak torque @ 2800 rpm. The santro xing has its peak torque @ 3000 rpm.
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Old 20th December 2009, 23:12   #13
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Guess you are talking about the 1.2 kappa engine which has maximum torque @ 4000 rpm. The 1.1 irde engine has its peak torque @ 2800 rpm. The santro xing has its peak torque @ 3000 rpm.
Yes, I am referring to the 1.2 Kappa engine in the i10. The AT is available only with this engine in the i10. The irde engine doesn't have the AT option. This is why I feel the Santro makes a better city car than the i10 as you don't have to keep revving it up so high to get the torque.
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Old 21st December 2009, 00:37   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
Yes, I am referring to the 1.2 Kappa engine in the i10. The AT is available only with this engine in the i10. The irde engine doesn't have the AT option. This is why I feel the Santro makes a better city car than the i10 as you don't have to keep revving it up so high to get the torque.
oops - I forgot that we were talking ATs exclusively.

Nope I never rev it that high (4000) except to overtake on some rare occasions.
Usually upshift at 2300-2400, and cruise after that.
On 4th gear, the car does 60 @ 1500, 80 @ 2000 and 100 @ 3000.
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Old 21st December 2009, 12:04   #15
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Does the i10 AT have the tacho ?
I so wish there was one on the Santro AT as well. Helps immensely in understanding the upshift/downshift pattern and improve the way we drive.

May be aftermarket tacho can be helpful .. thoughts ?
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