I have been driving the Hyundai Santro extensively over the past several days and after a tough week (yes, we auto journos do work hard unlike what most people think) at work it was time for me to unwind. And being the lazy city-dweller that I am, I decided that the best way (read – requiring minimum effort) was to spend some time at the mall with a couple of friends. When the time came for a weekend out with my friends, the Hyundai Santro looked like a great option with plenty of space and practicality.
And considering that one of those friends was Riddhi who doesn’t skimp on shopping, I had to ensure that there was enough space for her many bags and us. Thankfully the hatchback has space in abundance. Accompanying her was another one of my friends – Jivraj. Now Jivraj likes to lose himself in the tunes that he is always carrying with him and to do that he needed the quiet cabin of the Hyundai Santro. Decision made. Santro it is then, for our little excursion in the city.
The four-cylinder engine of the hatch is inherently a very refined unit and you can feel it the moment you turn on the car. Very few vibrations creep into the car and subsequently, it feels a lot better than its counterparts at insulating you from the noise and clatter of the engine. The cabin is in itself a very pleasant and quiet place to be in, thanks to its ability to isolate you from the humdrum of the world outside. And the lively colours and design of the interiors, especially around the air conditioning vents, perk up your mood even when you are having a tough day.
We started off from Viman Nagar in Pune and I headed deep into the city where I picked up my friends. Construction work all along the arterial roads in Pune meant that we crawled at a snail’s pace. After cursing under my breath several times about my choice of a relaxing activity, for what felt like ages, we finally managed to escape the worst of the traffic. My friends, visibly bored by the long commute and my apparently poor taste in music, relegated me to just driving the car. With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at their disposal, they took turns to blast out what I thought certainly couldn’t qualify as music. But they had the reins of the amazing infotainment system of the Santro and I didn’t complain. After nearly an hour of driving, we finally reached the posh Pavillion mall on Senapati Bapat road. All through the drive to the mall, the extremely light clutch and short-throw gearbox made my life easy. The brakes too were a treat to use and helped us shed speed easily on the many occasions when Pune’s infamous bike traffic decided to cut across in front of us.
We entered the mall and the place was crammed with cars waiting to park. We drove in and after circling the parking spots for a couple of minutes we found a spot that could just about fit the Santro. Reversing into a tight spot wasn’t a problem though, courtesy the parking camera. Adding to the ease of parking was the extremely light steering that requires negligible effort to use. Thankfully I hadn’t brought anything bigger otherwise I’d regret the decision to come to a mall on a weekend even more.
Resuming to regret my decision to come to the mall on a weekend, I made my way up.
Riddhi told me that she only had to pick up a few things from the mall. And I rather stupidly believed her leading to us spending an inordinate amount of time tagging along with her from store to store until she finally said she was done for the day with half-a-dozen or so bags.
With more than half a day spent I still felt fresh as a daisy and the same could be said about my friends. And much of the credit has to be attributed to the Santro for how comfortable it made us for the entirety of the drive.
Since Riddhi had thankfully not spent the entire day getting retail therapy, and considering the fact that we had the Santro, we realised that we could do something that would be a bit more fun.
All of us decided on a drive to the nearby Manas lake to watch the sun set. Traffic continued to be dense but the Santro was comfortable in dealing with it and the numerous stretches of broken roads on the way. In fact, the 68bhp and 99Nm from the Santro’s 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine feels quite zippy. Zippy enough for us to race between traffic lights and then accelerate hard on empty stretches. Evidently, the going was quick, for a short while later we were at the lake. It was still some time to go for sunset so we decided to satiate our hunger pangs at a nearby restaurant. Our tummies full while we were waiting for the sun to set, we were presented with a surprise. A dog owner nearby was curious about the Santro and was rather intrigued to find out if the Siberian Husky that he brought along would be comfortable on the back seat of the Santro.
Looking at the incredibly friendly dog that he brought along, we were more than happy to oblige. And the dog loved it. Jumping into it from the window and making himself comfortable on the back seat, he went about licking everyone’s faces and showered us with love. The sun was soon going to set and it was time for Riddhi to demand a few photographs be clicked for her Instagram account. She went about posing with the Santro and it was clear to me why a lot of young people are opting for the Santro as their first car. The proportions are what Riddhi would later call cute and the colour that we had our Santro in looked stunning in the amber light of the evening. Now Jivraj being the music lover he is, doesn’t travel without his guitar and aptly to Riddhi and my delight he had brought it along. He started strumming and soon enough we joined him and started singing along.
We drove the Hyundai Santro all across the city, and did all the things we had planned on doing and also a few that we didn’t expect. All through everything, the Santro delighted us in more ways than one. It did everything that was expected of it remarkably well while also managing to do the things that aren’t usually expected from a car. It was comfortable and welcoming not just to us but also to a four-legged guest who found it so nice that he refused to leave. Isn’t that everything you want from a car? A car that’s accommodating of all the quirks and unusual demands that we youngsters throw at it while at the same time being entirely at ease dealing with the day to day challenges that all cars in our congested cities are put through. Add to that a few friends with no plan but to have a good time and voila! You have had a great day in the city.