Hyundai Santro vs Maruti WagonR vs Tata Tiago – Which is the best small car?

In the presence of its brand ambassador of 20 years - Shahrukh Khan, the new Hyundai Santro has been launched in India.

“The Legend is Back” read the banner at the launch ceremony, which aptly described the mood and popular perceptions associated with the launch of all-new Hyundai Santro. The once favourite family car is now back in its new avatar, offering an array of innovative features and upgrades.

2018 Hyundai Santro is available in 9 variants with a starting price of Rs 3.9 lakh. It will primarily compete with Maruti WagonR and Tata Tiago. Here’s a quick comparison between all-new Santro and its primary rivals to understand which car is the best in this segment.

Design and Styling: Hyundai Santro has a sporty tallboy design with curves at the right places that give it an aerodynamic look and feel. In comparison, WagonR has a predominantly boxy structure even though it is meant to provide more space and comfort to car users. Tata Tiago has got the curves too, but it’s not as cohesive and fluid as that of new Santro. Some of the key design features in all-new Santro include cascade-design chrome front grille, swept-back headlamps, Z-shaped character lines, body colour door handles and mirrors, dual tone bumpers, micro antenna and high-mounted stop lamp.

Interiors: 2018 Santro’s interiors feature premium dual-tone black and beige colour theme that looks classy and elegant. There’s ample space on the inside to comfortably accommodate five adults. New Santro has a unique elephant-inspired centre fascia, which perfectly blends traditional heritage with modern appeal and utility. WagonR and Tata Tiago also have dual-tone interiors that’s largely equivalent of all-new Santro. With their tallboy design, both Santro and WagonR fare better in terms of headroom and shoulder room.

Comfort and convenience: New Hyundai Santro features a first-in-segment 17.64cm Touchscreen AV System that’s compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Mirror Link. It comes with smartphone connectivity and supports voice recognition and navigation. Another first-in-segment feature is the Rear AC Vents that allow improved air flow to rear passengers. Other key features of new Santro include 6.35cm Advanced cluster with Multi Information Display (MID), eco coating technology for fresh, odour free air, premium propeller shaped AC Vents, day and night IRVM for safer night journeys, floor mat hook, steering mounted controls and electrically adjustable ORVMs. Clearly, all-new Santro has certain features that are not available in WagonR and Tata Tiago.

Engine & transmission: New Santro is powered by a 1.1L, 4-cylinder petrol engine that delivers max power of 69 PS at 5,500 RPM and max torque of 99 Nm at 4,500 RPM. There’s a factory fitted CNG variant also that delivers 59 PS at 5,500 RPM and 84 Nm at 4,500 RPM. Engine is mated to 5-speed manual transmission or a Smart Auto AMT unit. Maruti WagonR is powered by 998cc, all-aluminium, 4-cylinder engine that delivers max power of 68 PS @ 6200 RPM and max torque of 90 Nm @ 3500 RPM. CNG variant delivers 59 PS power and 77 Nm torque. Transmission options include 5-speed manual or Auto Gear Shift (AGS). Tata Tiago offers petrol and diesel options, with the Revotron 1.2-litre, 1199 cc, 3 cylinder petrol engine delivering 85 PS / 114 Nm and Revotorq 1.05-litre, 1047cc, 3 cylinder diesel engine delivering 70 PS / 140 Nm. Petrol variant has both 5-speed manual transmission and AMT whereas diesel variant only has 5-speed manual transmission.

Tiago D stands for Tiago Diesel. Tiago does not have CNG option.

Mileage: Hyundai Santro petrol manual and automatic variants give mileage of 20.3 kmpl whereas the CNG variant gives 30.48 kmpl. WagonR petrol manual and automatic variants give mileage of 20.5 kmpl whereas the CNG variant gives 26.6 kmpl. Tata Tiago petrol manual and automatic variants give mileage of 23.84 kmpl whereas the diesel variant gives 27.28 kmpl.

Safety & security: All three cars offer advanced safety features such as dual air bags, ABS with EBD (or equivalent), central locking, immobilizer, parking assist, energy absorbing body structure, and collapsible steering column.

Price: All-new Hyundai Santro is priced in the range of Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 5.65 lakh. Maruti WagonR is priced in the range of Rs 4.31 lakh to Rs 5.51 lakh. Tata Tiago is available in the price range of Rs 3.51 lakh to Rs 6.15 lakh.

Verdict – Which one should you buy? New Santro has an attractive design and it comes with several new features and upgrades. Some of these features are segment-first and not available in WagonR and Tiago. In terms of mileage also, Santro CNG variant gives the highest mileage of 30.48 kmpl. Another thing is that new Santro has a premium look and feel, which makes it more appealing than its competitors. In terms of price, 2018 new Santro takes the second spot, costing less than WagonR and more than Tiago. Overall, all-new Santro seems to have both style and substance to effectively compete with its rivals. It appears to be a good choice among the three cars.