If you've been waiting for an interesting city car, one that takes the size and shape of a subcompact hatchback, then the Hyundai Santro -a model just revealed online by Hyundai in India- might be worth waiting for... because it could become the new generation Hyundai Eon.
The name Santro may be unfamiliar to our market, but it's really the Indian marketing name for the older Hyundai Atos/Atoz; a model that was succeeded by the first generation i10 in 2007. Reports indicate that this model will replace the diminutive Eon and slot in as the entry grade model under the Grand i10. Our spy photographers have snapped up the new Santro before while it underwent winter testing in Europe, but this is the first time Hyundai has released official images of the undisguised model.
The design is a departure from the previous design cues of Hyundai; they're calling this the “Rhythmical Tension” design theme. The big “cascade” grill dominates the front and appears to be extended by the foglamp trim. The design of the of the Eon, err, Santro is completed by a rather liberal use of creases and character lines to accentuate the hood and wheel arches, breaking up the tendency of tall, economy hatchbacks to become rather slab sided and featureless.
Hyundai did not release any interior images of the Santro, but they did mention that the Santro will provide easy entry and exit ergonomics, a high seating position, a spacious feel, and good visibility all around.
Some of the technical details that Hyundai released are about the platform and the engine. The Santro's unibody is composed of 63% advanced high strength steel (AHSS) as well as high strength steel. The engine appears to be a carryover: the familiar 1.1-liter gasoline engine.
What's new with the powertrain is that Hyundai says they will offer it with a Smart Auto AMT; by all indications, that sounds like an automated manual transmission. This will be the first Hyundai model to offer it.
Hyundai mentioned that the Santro will come with a 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, Apple Carplay, voice recognition, and even a rear parking camera. But one feature that Hyundai is highlighting is the powerful airconditioning system: it comes with an evaporator that has a special coating to prevent bad odors from developing, and even comes with A/C vents for the rear passengers. Hyundai says its mean to combat the harshest of Indian summers, so we imagine it should be good for our summers as well.
The full reveal of the Santro will be on October 25 in India. We're curious to see if Hyundai will officially confirm that it will become the replacement of the Eon for export markets. The Philippine-market Eon comes from India as a kit, and is assembled at their facility in Laguna.