What do we have here?TIAGO\: It\’s been around for a while now, but is the one that really kicked off the shift in perception for Tata\’s passenger cars. It looks good, is well\ engineered and has plenty of features to compete for big volumes in this competitive segment. This one is a petrol automatic, but you can have one with\ a diesel drivetrain as well.SANTRO\: It indicates the revival of a legendary name, and shows the faith the Koreans have in this little hatch. Based on the same platform as the\ Grand i10, it slots in between the Eon and the Grand i10 in the line-up. It draws on a lot of the strengths of the original including the iconic tall-boy\ design, but packages them in a thoroughly modern set up.
So, what\’s the inside story?TIAGO\: The Tiago doesn\’t give you the same feeling of airiness as the Santro with its black and grey interiors, but what it does is cocoon you nicely.\ There is more adjustability for the seats and steering, you sit lower and feel more encompassed by the car, though never suffocated. Everything in the\ cabin has a slight heft to it, making it feel less flimsy than the Santro.SANTRO\: This particular Santro had a dual-tone interior with highlights that match the exterior paint. The cabin has a sense of airiness with its large\ glass area and tall seating. The materials used on the dash do remind you that you\’re in a budget car; however, it is finished rather well. Space is\ adequate, and though its wheelbase is identical to the Tiago, it felt like there was more knee room in the rear.
What are they like to drive?TIAGO\: The Tiago may not be able to match the Santro on refinement, but the extra displacement and consequently, power, are immediately welcome.\ It certainly feels quicker. The AMT \’box though doesn\’t shift as seamlessly as the Santro\’s and your head is left bobbing every time the clutch\ disengages. But it does shine in ride quality and high-speed manners. It also isolates the cabin from the outside better.SANTRO\: The Santro gets a 1086cc four-cylinder engine and its real highlight is refinement, by virtue of having that extra cylinder over the Tiago. The\ head-toss effect so prevalent in AMTs has been minimised and allows for a fairly enjoyable driving experience. The creep function works rather well too.\ But the ride quality is slightly on the stiffer side and the cabin isn\’t that well insulated to noise from the outside.
What about the goodies?TIAGO\: Dual airbags are an option on nearly all variants, but they are standard on this XZA variant. It may not get a touchscreen but gets an\ infotainment system with a small digital display and the ConnectNext suite. Not as intuitive as the Santro, but it does get a brilliant sound system with\ four speakers and four tweeters. It misses out on a rear AC vent, but gets a rear wiper and is mostly on par with the Santro when it comes to other\ features.SANTRO\: Heads up, you cannot get a Santro AMT with dual airbags; a driver\’s airbag will have to suffice. That said, the Santro is rather well-equipped\ in terms of creature comforts. The touchscreen gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You get bits such as rear AC vents, electrically adjustable ORVMs\ and steering-mounted controls. The AMT variant isn\’t as well equipped as the top-spec manual and misses parking camera, dual airbags and speed-sensing locks.
Which one should I buy?TIAGO\: The Tiago can\’t really outdo the Santro in the city, but it certainly does on the highway. It feels more planted and composed, is more powerful\ and should cover distances faster while fatiguing you less. Sure, the Tiago doesn\’t ride on the Santro\’s brand name but it is supremely capable and is\ available at only a slight premium over the Hyundai. If you\’ve got driving which involves city as well as highway runs, the Tiago is probably a better bet.SANTRO\: It depends on the sort of usage you have really.\ If you\’re going to be primarily riving around in the city, on crowded, jam-packed streets, the Santro makes quite a bit\ of sense. It is easier to manoeuvre, has all the goodies to keep you occupied when you\’re stuck in traffic and even\ feels more comfortable at low to medium speeds. It\’s not\ that the Santro cannot handle the open road, it\’s just that the Tiago is better at it.
Price\:TATA TIAGO \– 6.79 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)HYUNDAI SANTRO \– 6.45 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)Rating\:TATA TIAGO \– 7/10HYUNDAI SANTRO \– 7/10
Specs\:TATA TIAGOEngine\: Petrol, naturally-aspirated, 3-cyl, 1199cc, 83bhp, 114Nm, FWD, 5-speed AMTHeight 1535mmLength 3746mm\ Wheelbase - 2400mmWidth\: 1647mmBoot space\: 242 litresFuel tank capacity\: 35 litresHYUNDAI SANTROEngine\: Petrol, naturally-aspirated, 4-cyl, 1086cc, 68bhp, 99Nm, FWD, 5-speed AMTWidth\: 1645mmLength 3610mm Wheelbase - 2400mmHeight 1560mmBoot space\: 235 litresFuel tank capacity\: 35 litresVERDICT\: The Santro is definitely a better urban runabout and has more features as well. However, if you get on the\ highway more often, the Tiago feels more surefooted.