Home / Home / Hyundai Santro AMT v Maruti Suzuki WagonR AGS – Tall Order


The tall-boy rivalry gets re-ignited with the new-generation Maruti Suzuki WagonR taking on its nemesis of sorts, the Hyundai Santro, both of which are now armed with auto boxes. Which one comes out on top?

Hyundai Santro v Maruti Wagon R

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Getting more out of less is a tall order indeed. Yet that doesn’t stop many manufacturers from trying their hand in an attempt to carve out a larger piece of the pie. Only recently we had pitted the Hyundai Santro “SmartAuto” AMT against the credible Tata Tiago AMT, which, with a few loose ends tied up, could result in it truly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Until then, there’s a new challenger aiming to be crowned the new king of the hill.

The new WagonR is larger and better equipped and, importantly, built on the new “Heartect” platform that is lighter and makes it more agile, while also promising to be safer. The slew of laws supposed to be in force have brought about updates to several manufacturer portfolios with regard to standard ABS and a driver airbag. Curiously, some cars are still being sold with optional passenger airbags. That’s not the situation here, however, as we have, as always, the highest variants of the cars available. That means standard ABS and dual front airbags. That’s about it, really. Unlike Europe, we’re still far away from autonomous braking, traction control, and six airbags being important. Considering our inconsiderate road-users and generally extremely poor road manners, it actually makes sense for us to lead the way. Curiously, people still value cost-effectiveness and superstition over actual safety features, but I digress. The said poor traffic conditions have made it ideal for the adoption of automatic cars and every major manufacturer has found it worth their while to introduce some form of two-pedal cars, calling them a variety of names in the process. The two we have here are the Santro SmartAuto, the hero of our last shootout, and the new WagonR AGS, in its top-spec ZXi trim level.

Style is entirely subjective and differs from person to person. I, personally, prefer a proper boxy shape to display its functional edge, and while the the WagonR looks a lot like the Honda NBOX that I adore, it does try to mix in some newer design elements. The swept-up work on the C-pillar area, with black thrown in for good measure, is a detail I’ve seen on everything from the first BMW i3 to the present Swift. The Volvo-esque tail-lamps are similar to those on the Ertiga, which, in turn, seems to blatantly lift them off the Volvo V90; not a bad idea, to be honest. Besides, they aren’t the only manufacturers to lift design elements off the Swedes… The WagonR has a boxy stance, yes, but it has minimal overhangs for easy manoeuvrability and the 14-inch wheels have 165/70 tubeless tyres, more than enough for its scope of operation.

The Hyundai Santro’s very European face is joined by a curious side profile and simplistic rear. Function, then, was top priority it seems. And it is, because the windows are large and there is plenty of light in the cabin. The proportions are enough to make it a good all-round city car for four, even five, while being capable on highways too. The headlamps, tail-lamps, and the like are reminiscent of those on the old i10. In terms of size, the Santro is positioned below the versatile and more expensive Grand i10, making it a new entry-model with the now defunct Eon. For its compact proportions, it also gets 14-inch wheels with 165/70 tubeless rubber.

So far as styling is concerned, I’ll leave it to you, the readers, to decide which looks better.

Hyundai Santro v Maruti Wagon R

More on page 2 >


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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