Hyundai Santro’s Gone, But A Micro-SUV (Tata Punch Rival) Is Coming

hyundai ax micro suv-1-2

Hyundai Santro’s exit from the Indian market has left a void in the entry-level segment, but the manufacturer will soon introduce a new subcompact SUV here

South Korean car giant Hyundai recently discontinued the Santro hatchback in India. Due to rising automobile prices, entry-level cars have become surprisingly expensive, turning away many potential buyers. This is one of the biggest reasons for the relatively low sales volumes of Hyundai Santro in India, leading to its demise.

It should be noted that small car (hatchback and sedan) sales, in general, have seen a noticeable decline in recent years. On the other hand, utility vehicles (including SUVs and MPVs) have been steadily gaining popularity. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Hyundai is planning to add a new SUV to its lineup in the entry-level segment.

This upcoming entry-level Hyundai SUV – codenamed Ai3 – won’t exactly be a replacement for Santro. Instead, it will serve as an alternative to Grand i10 Nios, with pricing similar to the hatchback. Details about this forthcoming crossover have been kept under wraps at the moment, but there are plenty of speculations floating around the interweb.

Hyundai Casper suv

As per speculations, Hyundai mini-SUV will likely get the same powertrain options as the Nios, including a 1.2-litre NA petrol unit, a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit, and a 1.2-litre bi-fuel (petrol & CNG) unit. It is worth noting that Hyundai has discontinued its small capacity 1.2L diesel engine in India.

Hyundai will introduce an electric version of this entry-level SUV as well later. As for design, we expect this new model to take inspiration from its elder siblings – Venue and Creta. There will be a lot of features and equipment on offer here, like a large touchscreen infotainment system, electric sunroof, climate control, etc.


The upcoming Hyundai crossover is slated to arrive in the Indian market in 2023. It will be positioned below the Venue SUV in Hyundai India’s lineup, as a direct rival to Tata Punch (which is also expected to get an EV version soon). Also, Kia will utilise the same platform for its own entry-level crossover, which will launch in ICE and EV avatars as well.

Images are for representation only