Hyundai Santro Xing AT (2006) - Still Strong: Ownership Review


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Brief History of the Santro

The santro xing was a classic and was an instant hit among Indian buyers since it's launch in 2003. The xing replaced the previous Santro zip plus and Zip drive models which were HMIL's first launch and were also selling in large numbers.

Even to this day, there are many of the first generation Santros which one can spot on our roads which only goes to show how much of an impact the car had made to Indian families. The first generation zip plus was powered by a 1.0 litre epsilon petrol engine producing about 54 hp. The santro introduced the tallboy hatchback design to Indians which seemed to catch the eye of consumers as the design allowed for more rear legroom and headroom which gave the cabin an airy and spacious feeling. The car was very reliable, easy to drive and well priced. These factors contributed immensely to the success of the car which we now call an icon. HMIL later introduced a 4 speed torque converter automatic gearbox for the zip drive model. This gearbox also continued it's duty in the xing (the same gearbox used in my car) till HMIL pulled the plug on the automatic variants of the santro in 2009. Eventually, the newer i10, i20 and the eon started outselling the santro and HMIL decided to discontinue producing the xing in 2014.

The story of my Xing. The car which still is my daily driver

The xing was bought by my father for my mother as she needed a reliable car for her daily commute to work. Mother had the Reva EV which was a decent car but had absolutely pathetic range and was used only for short distance commutes. Mother could not drive a manual car and therefore a car with an automatic transmission was the only choice for her. At the time there weren't many options as we have today and therefore Dad had to make a quick decision between the Maruti WagonR and the Santro Xing. At the time there was also the choice of the Verna AT and the Honda City CVT which were both way out of Dad's budget and thus concluded with the 2 options as stated above. Dad looked keen on buying the wagonR as he had owned the manual variant and just loved it. However the 3 speed automatic was very laggy and just not good enough. This eliminated all choices and left us with the xing which we eventually bought and absolutely loved. The gearbox was butter smooth (still is in November 2020) and the engine is refined and peppy. The wagonR seemed no match for it as the gearbox was pretty sad. The xing felt like a car which was far ahead of it's time and was absolutely no match for the laggy maruti. We finally bought the Santro with the Real Earth (Beige) paint job and was driven by Mum for the most part till I reached legal driving age and got my license.

Here's an overview of the maintenance done on the car since I started using it


The car was handed down to me 2 years ago when I turned 18 and procured my driver's license. Since then, a lot of time, effort and money has been spent on it to keep it running like a gem. The car was barely used and had just about 49k kms on the odo when I got it. As it was used so sparingly, the battery was dead when I tried to start it up (No surprise). So yes, the first part which needed to be replaced in order to restore my car was to replace the battery.

Attached a picture of the same

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This powered me on for the rest of the year and no other maintenance was done on the car as the oils were up to level and were clean and barely used since it's last oil change. About 6 months later, the AC stopped working. I took the car to a local service station (which I don't recommend doing anymore) and got the coil replaced and also cleaned the evaporator. The AC is running beautifully since. However the scheduled maintenance service was due and I decided to give the car to Advaith Hyundai at Vasanthnagar for service. As only the engine oil and filter were replaced regularly, a routine check of all other parts was needed and therefore decided to get it done. The spark plugs were replaced, engine was decarbonized, 5w30 synthetic engine oil was changed and a few other parts were checked and replaced as per SA's recommendation. Received a huge bill but could safely say that each penny was worth it as the car felt good as new. The automatic transmission fluid was also changed as it was burnt and could potentially have damaged the transmission

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The worn out transmission fluid

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Service in progress. Photo clicked by SA

The service was done at 61203km on the odo and was good for another 10k km or one year. The santro continued to munch through miles and for a car which was 13 years old at the time, felt like brand new and there was nothing for me to complain about. I was considering buying a new Hyundai soon but as I was daily driving thie gem, the need for a new car felt like an absolute waste. The timing belt was due for replacement at 80k km but I decided to do it earlier as this being an interference engine, I didn't want to take the risk. The next service was done at 70798 km at Trident Hyundai and cost me approx Rs. 7500 which was almost half of what it did in the previous service. As stated earlier, the timing belt was on my mind and a few weeks after the regular service, I decided to go ahead and change the belt. The replacement cost me around Rs. 4250. The timing belt, tensioner and 2 boot lifter struts were replaced.

This has been the maintenance done so far on the car and as far as I can say, the santro has been pretty reliable through my 2 years of driving it.

ICE upgrades and alloy wheels will be posted on another part of this thread
 
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