Saturday, April 6, 2002
G O O D  M O T O R I N G

Zipping in with extra power and drive
H. Kishie Singh

The engine capacity of the new Santro is 1086cc
The engine capacity of the new Santro is 1086cc

THERE is yet another new car in the market. Hyundai has introduced a newer version of the ever popular Santro called the Zip Plus. There are improvements which you will not see, but you shall certainly feel them. They are under the bonnet, which every Santro owner knows gets opened every 10,000 km. That is the drain period for the engine oil.

The body shell remains exactly the same. Clear lenses for the front and rear lights are a distinguishing feature. The clear lenses provide for better illumination and thus better visibility. The badging on the fenders reads 1.1L. This denotes the newer E.epsilon 1.1L DLI engine with 12 valves and single overhead cam. The Zip Drive badge on the rear gate has been changed to read Zip Plus. These are the only visible changes on the outside.

With the extra power and the car body remaining the same, the power to weight ratio has changed to 8 to 1. This weighs favourably for the carís overall performance, fuel consumption and drivability.

Inside, the upholstery comes in fabric, the instrument cluster is new and adding to creature comforts is a remote-opening lever for the tail-gate.

The engine capacity of the old Santro was 999 cc (1 litre). The new engine is 1086 cc (1.1 litre). The bore and stroke has been increased from 66mm x 73mm to 67mm x 77mm. In terms of power, the b.h.p. goes up from 55 to 63. The top end r.p.m. stays the same at 5,500 r.p.m.


This extra power will also give better acceleration and top speed. Not that top speed is of any great importance. The third gear in the Santro pulls from 20 km.p.h to 80 km.p.h effortlessly. This is ideal for city as well as hill driving. For lazy people who donít like to change gears, this car would seem like the one that has automatic gears. Also when lazy people donít change gears and the engine r.p.m. drops too low, the engine has a tendency to "knock". The engine is talking to you! It is saying, "help, shift to a lower gear! Give me revs!" The engineers at Hyundai have eliminated this by installing a "no-knock" sensor which prevents knocking. The number of sensors in the car have been increased to nine.

The Santro Zip Plus comes with ventilated disc brakes in front. This means they have vents along the circumference of the disc. This helps to dissipate the tremendous heat generated while braking. The ventilated disc also prolongs the life of the disc pads. This is a vast improvement over the solid disc brakes which have been the norm so far.

Just when we thought that disc brakes were the ultimate in braking system, engineers improved upon them. The only constant is change!

To cope with better acceleration and top speed, the brake-assist booster size has been increased from 7" to 8". Simply put, it means that for the same effort, you will have more braking effectiveness.

The engine has distributorless electronic ignition. It has 2 coils, which ensure that the duration of the primary current in the coil is twice as compared to that in one coil. This gives precise and exact ignition. The end result of which is that it improves fuel consumption, gives better acceleration and pick-up. The chances of misfiring are extremely remote even if the engine gets wet. Also, with lesser mechanical parts, there is less wear and tear. This means longer service periods and lower repair bills.

The Santro is the only car in this segment which comes with a dead pedal. That is a fourth pedal on the floorboards to the left of the clutch pedal to rest the left foot. It helps improve the driving position of the driver, and reduces fatigue. However, in my opinion the pedal is a little too wide, it impedes the left foot movement for pressing the clutch.

Like the dead pedal, the driving position, though comfortable, takes some getting use to. This is the tail-boy concept: entry and exit are easy.

The tyre size remains the same and with a ground clearance of 172 mm, it is ideally suited to go through pot holes and can even go over speed-breakers with ease.

The alternator ratings have been increased from 60A to 70A.

An ideal family car, an ideal city car. Though not meant for the highway, the Santro is good for long hauls as well.

The built in crumple zones, the protection beams to absorb impacts from all sides allows the Santro to boast of advanced safety engineering and makes it one of the safest cars on the Indian roads.

Happy motoring!