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Good cars are getting cheaper and cheaper cars are getting good, a strategy that has motivated car manufacturers to produce economical cars at affordable rates. Both Tata and Hyundai have tried to win the masses with this mindset. Their main aim has always been to provide a compact and easy to drive car. Today we will compare Tata's Tiago with Hyundai's Santro to find out which one is better for you.
Exteriors - Hyundai has revived the Santro name with an all-new design. The new Santro looks fresh and contemporary. On the other hand, The Tiago looks very smart and attractive. The Tiago looks like a car of a segment above thanks to its modern design approach.
Interiors - Both cars get well-equipped interiors. The Tiago's cabin feels upmarket with the textured dashboard and a premium sounding Harman audio system. Other features include an automatic climate control system( only on the top-end) and a 242-litre boot. The seats are comfortable and there is a good amount of space on offer both at the front and at the rear.
On the other hand, Hyundai's fit and finish on the Santro is unmatched. The quality of materials used and the features on offer make the Santro a winner here. Features include a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and rear AC vents. However, Hyundai has done some cost cutting such as the power window controls which are placed near the gear level and are not backlit. The boot is slightly smaller at 235-litres and the front headrests are not adjustable.
Performance - The Santro is powered by a 1.1-litre petrol engine producing 69 BHP and 99 Nm of torque. The engine is very refined and silent. It is punchy in the mid-range and fit for city driving. The clutch is on the lighter side and the 5-speed manual gearbox is smooth.
The Tiago gets a 1.2-litre petrol engine producing a segment-leading 83 BHP and 114 Nm of torque. The engine is not as smooth as the Santro and tends to get vocal too. The engine is also not as responsive and one has to work through the gears to get moving. The clutch is also not very progressive. The Tiago also gets driving modes, which are missing on the Santro. There are two modes on offer- City and Sport. The modes alter the engine response to give you a better driving experience.
Both cars also get an optional AMT gearbox. The Santro's AMT gearbox is smoother and more responsive compared to the AMT on the Tiago. However, the Santro is missing a diesel engine which is present on the Tiago. On the other hand, the Tiago also is available in the top-spec variant with an AMT, something which is missing on the Santro. If you desire more performance, there is also the Tiago JTP on offer.
Driving Dynamics - While the Tiago might not have the better engine, the ride and handling dynamics of the Tiago are better than the Santro. The steering has a good amount of weight to it and the body roll is well contained too. The Tiago is fun to drive around corners thanks to the feedback from the steering. The high-speed stability is much better on the Tiago because of the high kerb weight.
The suspension on the Tiago is on the softer side. The softer suspension keeps the passengers comfortable both at low and highs speeds. On the other hand, the Santro's light steering, superb visibility and small turning radius make it perfect for city usage. However, the tyres do not offer adequate grip and this can be evident when braking hard.
Safety and After Sales Service - The Tiago gets an option of ABS and dual airbags on all variants except for the base variant and the top end variant has it as standard fitment. On the other hand, Hyundai has gone one step further and offers the Santro with a driver side airbag and ABS as standard on all variants. Coming to service and reliability, Hyundai has a better track record than Tata. Having said that Tata is not far behind and has worked on improving its quality over the years.
Verdict - Both cars win and lose in certain areas. While the Tiago wins in terms of build quality and driving dynamics it loses out on performance and reliability. On the other hand, the Santro offers great performance along with a better interior, easy to drive nature, good comfort and Hyundai's spot on reliability. However, it also loses out against Hyundai's cost-cutting and dynamics. If you want a diesel, get the Tiago as there's no diesel on the Santro. If you want petrol, the Santro makes an excellent buy.
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