by Somnath Chatterjee
Hyundai will launch the new Santro on October 23, 2018, but that is old news. The main talking points now are the emerging details about what is among the most awaited new cars in recent times.
The new Santro will have an AMT (automatic) gearbox, along with a 5-speed manual variant. The engine will be the same across platforms: a 1.1 liter, 69 bhp version.
The AMT gearbox will not be available in the top-end trim, but on the ‘Sportz’ and also on a variant below that. The new Santro is likely to be pretty well equipped with some features that one would not expect in a car of this class.
It is the AMT variant that has roused the most interest among prospective buyers. As you know, AMT is a popular type of gearbox in the entry level category. It is basically a manual gearbox but in which the driver does not use the clutch to shift – so essentially it is an automatic in that you do not need to use your left leg to press the clutch to change gears.
Hyundai did not get the AMT gearbox from an external supplier like other car manufacturers. Instead, Hyundai developed its own technology that took some three years and the new Santro would be the first car to have it. Other models such as the Grand i10 are expected to have this in the future.
At low speeds, the new Santro is very smooth. Hyundai have worked hard and at low speeds, the car ambles along nicely. In traffic, it is painless to drive. Usually, AMT gearboxes are slow and downright jerky with a irritating ‘head toss’ when you shift. This one is a marked improvement. The shifts do take some time, but it is a smooth experience devoid of any jerks.
This is an AMT alright, but with most of the bugs removed. There is also a manual mode for when you want that extra punch. The engine even gets vocal when you push it though.
Mileage and cost are the main reasons why AMTs are so popular. Compared to a conventional gearbox, an AMT is way cheaper and more efficient. The AMT Santro has the same mileage as the manual one.
While the prices are to be revealed only on October 23, we expect the AMT version to not have a big premium over the manual version. This basically means if you are looking at the Santro, we suggest the AMT version for its usability. So, yes, wait for the AMT Santro to hit the showrooms.