The new Santro looks to revive Hyundai’s mojo in the hot and happening A2 hatchback segment. While both the Tata Tiago and the Maruti Celerio have been performing pretty strong with their average sales of 8000 units per month, Hyundai is now here to wreak havoc on these numbers. So here we compare the best of the segment Tata Tiago, Hyundai Santro and the Maruti Suzuki Celerio.

STEEL SKELETONS….

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Being cars spawned from new platforms, the entire trio shines bright as all cars have individuality and are the future torchbearers for their respective firms.

Celerio- Brand new platform

Tiago- Heavily modified X1 platform (derivative of Indica)

Santro- K1 platform (brand new)

The Tiago was a model that rewrote Tata’s history. The “IMPACT” design philosophy, aimed to emote the customer, really did its job and made the car a chartbuster in terms of sales. The extended smiling grille, dubbed the “Humanity line”, the strong shoulder line which merges with the wraparound taillights and the ORVMs with integrated side indicators are the styling highlights of this cute and attractive car.

The Celerio is your typical Maruti car that plays safe with the design. While there is a hint of a tallboy design, apart from the large sharp headlamps and a curved shoulder line, there are no exciting design elements.

The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo
The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo

With the new Santro, it is clear that Hyundai aims to entice the buyers with the looks of the original i10 and the name from Santro, both of which were a hit with the Indian masses. There are a few quirky bits thrown in like the kink in body panels near the rear window and the deep boomerang creases which make the car more exciting than its predecessors.

THE SIXTH FINGER- INFOTAINMENT

In the age of today’s digital world, one would expect their car to be tech savvy too. And on that front, the Santro is leaps and bounds ahead with a massive 7 inch touchscreen (even the Creta gets the same size!) , smartphone connectivity (Apple car play and Android Auto) and rear parking sensors and cameras.

Tiago, though skipping on the touchscreen, gets an excellent Harmon- Kandon speaker unit which is simply a treat to the ears. Navigation and Bluetooth connectivity are also made available.

The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo
Tata Tiago Interior

Celerio, though has nothing big to say with only Bluetooth connectivity on its cards.

All the three cars have an attractive dashboard that is pleasing to the eye. The Celerio has the most elegant one with a dual black-beige tone scheme and a chunky large steering wheel.

The Tiago feels a bit sporty with its hexagonal instrument cluster finished in piano black and a tri spoke steering wheel. Also the body coloured air vents adds a bit of flair.

The Santro has the most premium looking dashboard of the three with a superb touchscreen in the middle and a dual beige- black scheme. The air con vents also come in body colours and imitates those on the Mercedes!

THE BELLS AND WHISTLES…

CELERIO–  As the case with most Maruti’s, Celerio has 3 variants- the L, the V and the Z ranking from the lower end to the premium. The xi denotes that it is a petrol model.

Lxi 4.15 Lakhs The bare bones basic model with just AC and power steering. Gets driver airbag as standard though.
Vxi 4.49 Lakhs Adds the power windows and central locking into the mix.
Zxi 4.74 Lakhs Bluetooth connectivity and adjustable steering make up this top end trim and also has a very useful gimmick which is the keyless entry feature.

ABS and passenger airbag are optional across all the trims for an additional 15k over the base price.

TIAGO– Has four variants to choose from

XE 3.40 Lakhs Same case as Maruti, gets only AC and power steering.
XM 4.03 Lakhs Again mirrors the Maruti’s Vxi trim.
XT 4.35 Lakhs Gets the parking sensors and the complete infotainment systems (Harmon kandon speakers & navigation systems) added to the kit.
XZ 5.22 Lakhs Loaded up to the gills with alloy wheels, standard ABS, EBD, 2 airbags, steering mounted controls and the eccentric body colored air vents.

Height adjustable seats, 2 airbags are optional extras for 23k across the XE, XM and XT trims.

The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo
The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo

SANTRO– Hyundai does a commendable job on safety as it offers a driver airbag, ABS with EBD across all their five variants.

D-Lite 3.89 Lakh Gets only the power steering. Skips with the AC(!) to keep the costs down.
Era 4.24 Lakh Gets only the power windows at the front but the biggest surprise in this 4 lakh car is the inclusion of rear AC vents. Cool.
Magna 4.57 Lakh Rear power windows are also thrown in along with Bluetooth connectivity and central locking features.
Sportz 4.99 Lakh Enormous infotainment systems package which consists of even voice recognition features!
Asta 5.45 Lakhs The nearly 50k premium is justified by the addition of rear parking sensors and cameras and dual front airbags.

A surprising omission throughout the variants is that of alloy wheels though the wheel caps look quite attractive in their own way.

The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo
The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo

All the cars provide good value for the money spent. Celerio, although starting on a high base variant price has the lowest price among the top variants. Santro has the most features among the group and considering its price, it offers tremendous value for its price range. Tiago has the lowest base variant price, but it does skip out crucial safety features which will cost you an additional 23k from your pockets.

TIME TO STRETCH YOUR LEGS…

Model Length Width Height Wheelbase Ground clearance
Santro 3610 1645 1560 2400 167
Celerio 3695 1600 1560 2425 165
Tiago 3746 1647 1535 2400 165

 

Space was always the Tata’s forte and it certainly doesn’t disappoint here with the largest cargo volume on offer (240 litres). Also on cards are the cooled glove box and several stowage spaces for knicks and knacks all around the cabin.

Interior Celerio
Interior Celerio

Santro pulls one back by having the longest wheelbase of the three while Celerio surprisingly offers good rear legroom in this class. Both these cars also have decent cargo (235 litres) and the Santro also has a useful parcel shelf.

Although all these cars are advertised as 5 seaters, it would be a tight squeeze for the last person. Only the Celerio fares a little better here and it also has dedicated seatblets for the fifth member.

COUNTING THE HORSES INSIDE…

Model Engine Displacement Power Torque Gearbox Fuel efficiency
Santro 4 cylinder 1.1 L 69bhp 99Nm 5 speed MT/ AMT 20.3 kmpl
Celerio 3 cylinder 1 L 68bhp 90Nm 5 speed MT/ AMT 23.1 kmpl
Tiago 3 cylinder 1.2 L 85bhp 114Nm 5 speed MT/ AMT 23.84 kmpl

 

Only the Santro gets a 4 cylinder engine, and true to the physics, produces fewer vibrations that the less balanced 3 cylinder units. The 1.1 Litre unit produces a smooth flow of power all the way till the top end range, where it struggles a bit to pull through.

The Three Musketeers! Tiago, Santro and Celerio Detailed Spec Comparo
Hyundai Santro Interior

If you love power, the zippy Tiago will surely be the one that excites being the powerful one in the group. Also the eco mode helps to maximise the fuel economy by numbing down the power supply to the wheels. In the sport mode, it gives a good top end performance with a top speed of 150kmph which is the fastest in this group.

Maruti has given the Celerio the modified version of the K-series engine found in Alto K10, and it gives enough grunt to pull this small car. There are fairly less vibrations in here when compared to the Tiago.

The Santro gets an in house developed AMT. This is a more advanced unit in the sense that it gets electronic actuators which are much slicker than the hydraulic ones found on the others.

All these cars offer fantastic value for the money, good looks and are light on your pockets in terms of service and maintenance. The Celerio is the market leader at this moment with the Tiago hot on its heels, while the strong first month sales and bookings of the new Santro show that it definitely isn’t a pushover. Add the off road versions (Celerio X and Tiago NRG) and the red hot Tiago JTP into the mix and finally we get to see a fierce three pronged battle on the A2 segment!

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