South Korean carmaker Hyundai has been testing a new hatchback both in India and overseas, and the word around the new model is it will bring back the Santro nameplate. And now it is all but confirmed that this new small hatchback from Hyundai will be called the Santro, a model that was for a long time associated with class in the country.
The proof comes from HMIL Managing Director and CEO YK Koo. Asked about the possibility of the Santro hatchback being brought back, he said: "It is a possibility."
Adding that the new hatchback could be launched in India around Diwali this year, Koo said: "So we will take a final call on the Santro badge around that time. However, I must admit that we are under a lot of pressure from dealers, customers and market to bring back the Santro brand."
Hyundai now calls the upcoming hatchback a "family concept". It is expected to get new styling while retaining the tall-boy stance of the Santro. The new Santro is expected to get larger windows than its rivals and could have a roomier cabin, wider and taller than the i10.
Expected to be slotted between the Eon and the Grand i10, it will replace the i10 in the market. The new Santro will rival Renault Kwid, Tata Tiago and Maruti Suzuki Celerio, among others, in its segment.
Under the hood, the new Santro could get two petrol engines — 1.1-litre and 1.2-litre — that are likely to come mated to five-speed manual transmission. The hatchback is also rumoured to get Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). The new Santro is expected to get a price tag around Rs 4 lakh.
The Santro, which paved the path for the South Korean automaker in the Indian market, was driven out of the country in 2014 to allow the company to push ahead with new models such as the Grand i10 and the Xcent.