If you have super star Shahrukh Khan endorsing your car, then your car has got to be one of the best in this world or atleast in India. That’s what happened when Hyundai Motors India Limited stormed into India with their Hyundai Santro car in India. India’s first tall boy design met with a high success ratio due to its practicality and frugality. That was that day in 1998 and now, Hyundai Motors India Limited have moved onto making bigger cars and is now India’s second largest car manufacturer and the number 1 in exports. The Hyundai Santro in India has become a household name now. Recently to commemorate its 10 years in India, the company offered the Hyundai santro at the same price that it was offered 10 years ago. Globally its replacement may be the Hyundai i10 however in India both co-exist as is the norm. Considering that one wants to buy a used Hyundai Santro in India, here are a few tips.
First of all, the body of the Hyundai Santro isn’t prone to rust and most probably the cars located near the coastal regions would have some rust on them. Usually its hard to find a used Hyundai Santro in India since the car has been so reliable and trustworthy that few would consider selling it. Earlier Hyundai Santros were prone to having their head lights busted so watch out for these when eyeing an used Hyundai Santro in India. The tyres, if showing uneven pattern of wear means that they haven’t been rotated as per schedule or have been in a shunt. It may be even a sign that front lower arm or the one on the back has been bent while negotiating a pot hole. The tyres are good to last till 55,000 kms and if the sample you are checking out has crossed that mark, then be sure to check if the tyres have been replaced or not.
Suspension in the Hyundai Santro is quite pliant and there is standard MacPherson strut suspension set-up in the front whereas coil springs, dead axle and shock absorbers make up for the rear suspension. The front suspension was good enough to have the car corner well however for the rear suspension to cope up with the tall boy design, the car was fitted with shock absorbers and a stiffer spring element. This saying, passengers seated in the rear seats would be treated to a slightly choppy ride. When fully laden, the rear doesn’t bottom out like some other expensive cars and this is when the ride quality improves. If the rear end bottoms out too quickly, it is a sign of worn out or faulty shock absorbers. Hyundai Motors India Limited had changed the suspension set up a bit and it was softened keeping in mind customer feedback. The changes had a dramatic effect with sales of the Hyundai Santro sometimes challenging that of the best selling Maruti 800. The car is powered by a 999 cc motor making 55 Bhp with a 1.1 liter motor putting out 67 Bhp coming in later in 2005 with the Erlx tag attached to it. Both the motors are equally refined as well as peppy. The former is more fuel efficient whereas the latter is more for performance oriented people. There also is a CNG version doing the rounds however chances of finding one is very rare. Both the motors are fuel injected ones and shouldn’t be a trouble till 1 lakhs to 1.5 lakh kms. This however will depend on the maintenance of the motors. Regular servicing, oil and filter changes would ensure that the engine stays in shape well. During a test drive keep an ear for any unusual sounds from the engine bay. If they emanate, do walk away as an engine overhaul would be costly affair.
The Hyundai Santro features a 5 speed gear box which is very slick in its operation. The gearshift axle should also be able to last around the 80000 mark. If the car has crossed this mark, be sure to enquire if the required repair has been done to this effect. The Hyundai Santro is a front wheel drive car and the engine weight is negated by front suspension. The steering of the car is also quite light and can be operated with finger tips. For approximately 45,000 kms, the tie rods and ball joints should be okay and after this they would require only a Rs.848 expense. The interiors of the car use well wearing plastics and upholstery. If buying a used Hyundai Santro with more than 80,000 clicks on the odo, be sure to change its upholstery as the earlier beige ones used to get soiled far too often.
Last but not the least, take a good mechanic with you and one who would evaluate the condition of the vehicle and then accordingly peg its price. Also have a look at the service history of the car. An ill serviced car is the one to stay away from and you can probably look for some other car with a good servicing history. A used Hyundai Santro in India, for a 1998 model would be available for as less as Rs.80,000 whereas ones from 2002 to 2007 can range anywhere from between Rs.1.75 lakhs to Rs.3.30 lakhs.