My Hyundai Santro Automatic
I bought the Santro AT as our second car for my wife. I drive a Hyundai Verna CRDI SX ABS (you can read my review on that wonder machine too in Team-BHP)
We had owned a Santro manual transmission before - and needless to say, were absolutely delighted with it. Since it is a well appreciated quality car in India, I am not spending time to type much about the Santro in general. Since my wife preferred an automatic to a manual, and since the best hatchback in India had that as an option, we went for it.
Purchased in June 2008, and now after many months, we are sure we made the right choice.
The car is an absolute delight to drive. For those who havenít driven an automatic before, here are some facts:
About 80 to 90 % of the cars in the US are automatic. They are by no means ícity carsí or ínot meant for heavy useí etc. as wrongly mentioned by some other reviewers. In fact, in India, you will get more fuel mileage with the automatics on the highways, than in the Indian cities. In the cities, they offer excellent convenience. We will talk about that later.
Automatics donít have a clutch. Think of them like the Kinetic Hondas - (in fact more advanced) - gear changes are automatic. So you have only two pedals on the floor - an accelarator, and a brake. You must still use only your right foot for both the pedals - since you must press only one pedal at a time. The left foot must not be used at all (rest that on the foot rest provided in the Santro!).
There are the following positions on the gear lever:
P: Park (Keeps the car locked in one place - whether the engine is on or off. This is unique to automatic transmissions. There is no similar mode in a manual transmission car).
D: Drive (Normal driving mode. Gear changes are automatic based on many factors - load, how much you press the accelerator, etc.)
Two more modes usually never used:
1: 1st Gear
2: 2nd Gear
These two are used when you are climbing uphill or downhill and want the car to behave like a manual transmission in 1st or 2nd gear.
Most practical advantages:
1. Superb convenience - No clutch issues - like you may have read in the other reviews
2. Simply put into D and take your foot off the brake - and the car starts rolling forward at about 5 km/h. Then you need to press the accelarator to drive at normal speeds.
3. The car will not roll backward at most slopes (while climbing ramps, etc.)
4. You will never damage the gearbox because you donít know when to change gears. The electronic cum hydraulic auto gearbox does this automatically for you.
5. You will never damage the engine due to high rpms since the car will automatically shift to a higher gear at the right time.
6. In the thick of Bangalore, or any other Indian city traffic, you can relax - because all you have to do is take your foot off the brake, and the car will inch forward in very slow traffic. You donít even have to press the accelarator if you donít need to go beyond 5 to 10 km/h crawling traffic - very common in Bangalore.
1. Since in Indian cities you will travel very slow, usually below 60km/h, the mileage will always be 8 to 9 km per liter.
2. If you drive on open roads where you can exceed 60km/h (thatís when the car moves into its 4th gear - the overdrive), you will get a much better fuel mileage. I have not yet measured this - but am sure of it.
The car is very reliable. The same gearbox is used in i10 - and i10 has 3 automatic variants that you can choose from - all use the same gearbox.
Thereís more - unlike other car makers, Hyundai sells the same quality cars in India, as what they export. So you get the same high quality auto trans gearbox as what is exported. That says it all!
I drive this car once in a while, and must tell you, reminds me of the superb convenience I used to have when I used to drive a Corolla in the US. In India, it adds all the more convenience due to slow moving and stop and go traffic.
You can take it to the highway too - absolutely nothing different from the manual Santros - and you will get more fuel mileage on the highways than in the city since most of the time you can exceed 60 km/h and the car will be in overdrive (the 4th gear in AT).
Go for it!
Great review man.
What you have written about convenience is absolutely true.
convenience of AT can not be beat by any "enthusiastic" MT.
I have also decided to go for Santro AT, but the car has been discontinued, so i took OHC AT (which is also equally or even more wonderful AT car).
Price difference between Santro AT & i10 AT is a good enough reason to buy Santro instead of i10.
Enjoy the driving with such a great car.
Nice review! Yes I agree with you since its such a delight driving in the Chennai traffic. I picked up a Santro Automatic for my wife in Nov 2007. But the only issue is the mileage since it only returns 7.5 to 8 with 100% ac in bumper to bumper traffic. But wonder why Hyundai did not have marketing plans for this model. But atleast now they have woken up with some ads for i10 auto exclusively .
guys, maybe a dumb question, but, do automatic cars have a run-in period?
They also have engines, & engines always require run-in.:)
Add the 'disadvantage' of replacing brakes discs/shoes earlier than manuals. Thus is partly due to a incorrect driving technique where brakes are used too liberally in heavy traffic instead of shifting to 'Neutral' or 'Park' for longer waits.
I had a Accord auto in London and it was so pleasant (especially after a long day)when stuck either in city traffic or on London's dreaded orbital motorway, the M25!
Do Indian manufacturers upgrade brakes on automatic models? Somehow I doubt it. Can any automatic i10/Santro/OHC owner compare with a manual and confirm?
Overall Automatic is a good deal but FE is a concern. So manual Santro returns somewhere around 12 to 13 Automatic returns 8.5 to 9.5 almost 25% reduction
So apart from easiness is there any other thing which is advantage wrt to India scenario as still car makers don't promote automatic much
Is service cost is more than manual ?
Having owned AT since 1999 I quite afree that they are a peach in town.
One thing you missed out. The Santro AT is a 4-speed so you should keep the Overdrive as they call it active. Only then do you get the 4th gear. Having owned an AT Zen in the past I must say the Hyundai AT sure beats the Maruti AT hollow. The low range(s) are to keep the engine connected to the wheels even when it is slower than the wheels. This is necessary for engine braking esp. when going downhill.
One must however accept that this is a rudimentary AT with no advanced features like Torque Converter Lock up etc.
I have the same combination that you do - Santro AT (Aug 2005) and Verna CRDI (Feb 2008).
Automatic is a big big plus in terrible and snail paced Bangalore Traffic. The convenience can be traded for power certainly. In fact one can push the mileage up to 10.5 with driving at a steady pace (you may have notice that a stronger push to the pedal down shifts the gear). You also feel better control.
The minus as already been pointed out is unconscious abuse of brakes.
My AT is well over 3 years now and touch wood not one visit to the A.S.S center other than for normal servicing.
Welcome to Hyundai Motor :: Hyundai Santro
Also I get between 10-11 kmpl in the city with AC on. One has to be conscious of a couple of things - on long waits, switch to neutral so that the engine is not straining against the brakes and burning more fuel. And use the energy of the engine wisely. By that I mean that zipping and braking burns fuel and wears out your break pads. Once you've built up a certain speed, coast for a while if you can anticipate when you need to stop. Autos don't tend to slowdown as fast as manuals when you lift your foot off the accelerator.
Thanks everyone for those messages...indeed it is a great car to have AT in India.
Absolutely agree. Maruti was responsible for Indian owners shying away from automatics for a long time. Indian buyers still think that an auto transmission is going to require more maintenance, which is not true. Maruti introduced outdated 3 speed auto gearboxes in the Zen, and if I'm not wrong, offered the same (or a similar 3 speed gearbox) on the Wagon R. Buyers who put their money into it regretted since the car had very low resale value and the driving experience was also inferior due to the 3 speed gearbox. It is Hyundai (and of course Honda, though they don't have a hatchback in India) which is in fact pushing the automatic market in India hard with the Santro first, i10, and now the Verna CRDI. Hyundai sells the same auto transmission gearboxes in India that it exports. Of course more expensive cars always had the auto option incuding the Sonata, Civic, Accord, Corolla etc. But in the 4 to 10 Lakhs segment, it is really Hyundai India's pet project! Have to mention the 6 speed auto trans offered by Mahindra on it's Scorpio too that sure looks cool. Am yet to get a first person account of its performance though.
Congrats , is your car grey and EGL by any change ? .
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