For those who’ve followed my experience with the Hyundai Creta over the past nine months would know, I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time with the vehicle. For me, the advantages of the Creta were the usability of the car due to its high ground clearance, the wonderful interiors, which were not only spacious but got extra marks for the fantastic seats that were tremendously comfortable. Also helping matters was the sound quality of the stock entertainment system which was simply the best compared to its segment and helped me pass time many an hour when stuck in traffic.
The other appeal of the Creta lay in its refined drivetrain, with the 1.6-litre diesel engine not only being powerful, but incredibly smooth and delivered punch throughout its rev range. Combined this with a sorted ride-and-handing setup, which did lean more towards the comfort side of things – meant that long journeys were a pleasure, not just for the driver but for the passengers too. The combination of the seats and suspension here meant that one could cover hundreds of kilometres in a day without feeling much fatigue. And, of course, the excellent climate control meant that the cabin temperature was well regulated even on the hottest of days, making life easier.
However, there were a few areas which could use improvement in the Creta, one would be the entertainment system that was prone to crashing every now and then, but it wouldn’t reoccur often enough for me to take it to a service centre to get it looked at, and two the responsive of the touch screen could be better, like it is in the new Elantra.
But, as I did my last long distance trip in the Creta a few weeks ago, cruising at a decent clip in total comfort, it occurred to me, that this was one of the few cars currently available in our market with such a wide breadth of capabilities. The testament of this are the sales figures and popularity of the Creta, which show no signs of abatement. And I think it would be right to say that this would be my first long-term car that I’m truly going to miss sorely.
However, once back from the journey, I’ve started using the Creta again, and there are times when I struggle to write anything dismissive about the car, and that’s a reflection of how comfortable and stress-free the car has been to use for both everyday commutes and even long journeys. Hopefully, with more use this month, and even a couple of long-distance trips planned out with the Creta, I’ll have much more to say in my next report!
However, coming to more microscopic factors, such as my commute, for instance; having the Creta as my daily driver has been a blessing in the monsoons. With Delhi’s roads getting flooded and waterlogged at the sheer sight of a grey cloud, the big wheels and high ground clearance make clearing the mini-swimming pools thus created a breeze. But, the A-pillar on the Creta – rather the girth of it – tends to be a constant source of bother, and it’s easy for a two-wheeler or even a car to be hidden from your view around corners.
But, the real cause of annoyance in the monsoons is none of these factors, rather it’s the morons who chose to turn on the hazard lights of their cars at the very sight of rain, and continue to drive around with the blinkers working. Now only if I could do something about them dimwits.
Normally, the solution to get the system working again is a simple reboot, but this time, it involved locking the car and leaving it standing for a while, before the system started functioning normally again. So, there might be a service station visit coming up this weekend, where I think the technicians would probably perform a software update. Only issue is, the error happens once in a blue moon, and that means replicating the problem for the engineers is a tall task!
However, other than that, the Creta has been running pretty well, and this month too did a long road trip. And once again, it delivered fantastic comfort to the passengers and kept them well insulated from the summer heat. So, I have to say, overall, living with the Creta has still been a rather satisfying experience.
However, this summer has been exceptionally kind to us in India – sarcasm alert – and even though it’s only mid-May we’re beginning to experience temperatures ranging between 42-47oC, and this is where the Creta has impressed me the most in the time that I’ve spent in it. Despite the odds being against the car – black leather seats, large glasshouse and a largish cabin – the air-conditioning system of the car has been performing in an absolutely stellar fashion.
Within a couple of minutes of driving, the cabin cools down to an absolutely chilling affair, making journeys – even short ones – extremely comfortable. In fact, even in 45oC temperature, I regularly keep the climate control tuned to 23oC , as anything lower than that makes the cabin way too cold!
So, after many summers spent in the comfort a car being more akin to the insides of an oven, I think I finally have a car that is going to make the summer days much more bearable while out on the road. My only hope is, with me pouring these words of pride on to the car, I just hope that Murphy’s Law doesn’t strike in the peak of summer, because that, would be absolute torture!
The Creta, of course, behaved very well, and I must say I quite enjoy the long-geared feel of the car in its higher gears. In fact, I tended to leave the car running in 6th gear for extended periods of time. The 1.6-litre diesel unit on our car is also quite impressive, and easily the most refined and punchy engine in its segment. It delivers power in a very linear fashion and there’s very little turbo lag at all. The long gears also help with fuel efficiency on the highways, as witnessed on this journey. On a single tank, the Creta covered well over 800 kilometres – which is quite a feat, and it means that this car is a great machine for long distance travel.
The seats too are quite comfortable and feel like quality items, but I would prefer a tad more lumbar support. More impressive is the practicality of the car, as the large boot and adequate interior space makes travelling with five passengers a breeze. Overall, I think the Creta has left me even more impressed with its abilities and the comfort it offers. It doesn’t really pretend to be an off-roader, but the main task its designed for – comfortable on-road travel – is something the car does very well.
Now, if only I can find some time to send it to the workshop to get that cracked windscreen replaced, I would have nothing to complain about at all. On second thought, perhaps I should just leave it as is – so I have something to complain about!
However, the month of March began with a slightly sad note for the Creta. On a regular trip towards Greater Noida, a truck ahead of me threw up a small stone at very high velocity straight onto the Creta’s windscreen. As a result, our Creta now has a stone chip in the windshield – which has quickly grown into a foot-long crack. As driving around with a windscreen crack that big is no fun at all, I think the Creta might be going in for some quick repairs in the coming few weeks – as long as I match the trip to the workshop with my travel schedule.
Other than the small mishap with the windshield, life has been going well with the car – which, with its excellent interiors, imposing looks, and comfortable ride, just reaffirms its popularity in the market. Inside, it feels like a quality item. And, despite my personal impression being that the Creta is a tad overpriced, looking at the competition and then sitting inside the Creta gives me an idea of why customers in our market are so fond of it. Some aspects of the interior that I personally am quite fond of are the all-black interiors, which are a breeze to keep clean – unlike the beige interiors of my Getz CRDi – and the audio quality of the standard music system is quite impressive too. The large touchscreen in the centre of the console is also quite responsive. The only trouble is – despite its recessed positioning – it’s hard to read in direct sunlight.
Next month, I’m hoping to take the Creta for a long road trip – and hopefully that’ll give me more opportunities to test the abilities of the car further. Nevertheless, given its combination of good quality, refined dynamics and a feeling of luxury, the Creta is proving to be an excellent choice as a daily driver.
A detailed look at the Creta shows the reasons for its success, the interiors are spacious and feel quite premium, in fact the weekend after the Auto Expo, I had some friends visiting and five of us fitted in the car without any issues. The boot is also quite spacious, and this reflects on the practicality of the Creta as an everyday vehicle. More importantly, despite being a monocoque, the styling of the car is butch enough to make it stand out amongst its competition. The fact that interior quality and equipment levels on the Creta trumps its rivals pretty much explains its success.
The car we have is the top-spec SX version fitted with the 1.6-litre diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. But despite being the top-end model, it lacks some equipment compared to the i20 – such as the automatic headlights and electronically dimming rear-view mirror – which is a bit of a disappointment, especially when you consider what the Creta costs. To that extent, I have to say it does feel a bit over priced.
However, this is mostly forgotten when you drive the car around, the diesel engine is pretty responsive and revs quickly, and gives the Creta sprightly performance. Contributing to the driving appeal is the well-tuned suspension and rock solid stability, which makes cruising long distances an easy task. This is precisely the reason why, despite having the car for only two weeks, I’ve already managed to drive it for almost 1,500kms! One could say that things are looking promising for this long-term car of ours.