When Hyundai debuted in India back in 1998, they did so with the Santro hatchback. The Indian automotive market was still in its infancy in those years and it was Maruti Suzuki who dominated the passenger car segment. However, the Hyundai Santro emerged as a new icon in the Indian car scene, more so because of its association with Mr. Shahrukh Khan. In 2003, five years after the first-gen Santro was introduced in India, Hyundai brought in the first major update for the hatchback in the form of the Santro Xing.
The Santro Xing came with various updates inside and out. The exterior styling was completely revised and the interior was comprehensively updated with new design and features. Here we have an example of a Hyundai Santro Xing from 2005 that has been beautifully restored to its original glory. This 16-year old Santro Xing was kept in pretty good condition by its owner but due to its age, it had picked up rust, dents, and scratches all over. This video above takes you through the complete restoration process of the hatchback.
First, the car was stripped down to its bare metal. All body panels of this Santro have been completely redone, right from denting, sanding and painting afresh. The video details the painstaking process of de-rusting the entire car, sanding the body panels thoroughly to achieve smooth surfacing and then painting the car afresh in its original shade. The interior has also been completely restored with new upholstery and furbishing. There was, however, no mechanical change that was made to the hatchback.
After the restoration process, this Hyundai Santro Xing looks as new as it might have looked the first day it rolled out of the showroom in 2005. As explained in the video, a lot of people may think there's not much financial value in restoring a car that is already 10-15 years old. However, given the fact that a complete restoration job such as this will cost you about INR 2-3 lakh, it is often more economical than buying a brand new car. However, that's a trade off you will have to decide for yourself if you want a brand new vehicle or a fully restored old vehicle.
The Hyundai Santro made a comeback in India in 2018 as a new-gen model after being discontinued in 2015. While the new-gen Santro hasn't been quite as popular in the Indian market as the 'OG' Santro, it is still one of the most competent entry-level hatchbacks you can buy. It is available with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 69 PS and 99Nm of torque. It can be had with a 5-speed MT or a 5-speed AMT gearbox. Prices for the Santro currently range between INR 4.67 - 6.35 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).