Long Term Report: November 2016
As is always the case with our long-term test cars, there are three kinds of time periods that we spend with them. The first is when they’ve freshly arrived, where there is our excitement on spending extended periods of time in a new product, then follows the getting used to phase where we get used to the qualities of the vehicle – or at times, quirks – and then there’s the final and the most dreaded phase, when the manufacturer calls and quietly asks for their vehicle to be returned.
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.
Long Term Report: September 2016
As some of you might have noticed going through our GLA Adventure article earlier in the issue, I spent almost three weeks driving across South-East Asia to bring the two cars finally back to India. While this was a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime kind of a journey which I deeply enjoyed, what this also meant is that for most of last month, the Hyundai Creta has been parked at my house seeing little to no use. Not a bad thing for the car I think, it has been used extensively since we inducted it into our fleet – and the odometer readings reflect that – but it was unusual to see the car parked for so long.
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!
Long Term Report: August 2016
Having weathered through a scorching summer, it’s been a nice change to experience what the Met department refers to as a ‘normal’ monsoon. Now, while the predictions of the department might not mean much to city folk like me, but the farming community relies on it greatly, and given the size of our agriculture sector, the national economy too banks on it for a good financial year. And, so looking at the pouring rain outside the office window – as I type this, sitting late on a quiet evening, with people stuck in long traffic jams on a day of heavy downpours – I can’t help but think that if the monsoon persists, it’ll be a good year for the agricultural sector after a couple of disappointing years, and as always, a trickle-down effect will be increased sales of automobiles. See, there’s always a silver lining in every cloud!
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.
Long Term Report: July 2016
Our time with the Creta till now has been fantastic and trouble-free, but after spending months waiting for Murphy’s Law to kick in, it seems that the universe has finally delivered. From the beginning, the touchscreen A/V system of the Creta has been a bit temperamental, and would, every once-in-a-while, throw a tantrum mostly related to Bluetooth pairing of my cell phone. But, these niggles went a bit further a couple of days ago when the touchscreen simply stopped responding and stopped working – much like what happens when a computer hangs.
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.
Long Term Report: June 2016
Up here in the North, we probably feel it a bit more than other regions of the country, having the privilege (or should I call it curse?) of having four distinct season to a year. But the one season I don’t mind at all is the summer.
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!
Long Term Report: May 2016
In last month’s report on the Creta’s performance as my long-termer, I’d indicated that there might be a long highway trip that could be coming up – and that it would give me a good opportunity to test the car’s abilities over long distances. As luck would have it, the trip came through. A close friend’s marriage was coming up, and this was the perfect time to take the Creta out onto the highway. Thankfully, due to the holiday season around Holi, and some strategic planning as to when to leave for my destination, I encountered little or no traffic.
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!
Long Term Report: April 2016
After a tough couple of weeks of driving, which the Creta faced during the Auto Expo last month, things have been far more relaxed – both for the car and for me – this month. With the madness over, some semblance of order has returned to our lives. And, for the want of a better description, I’ve returned to a schedule of frequent travel. But, for the most part, it’s been regular work hours and getting home on time – much to my family’s surprise.
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.
Long Term Report: March 2016
Having driven the Baleno for a few days this month, just before the madness that is the Auto Expo started, my new long-termer, the Hyundai Creta finally made an appearance. I don’t need to elaborate on the success of the Creta in India, and it’s a long-termer that I had been waiting for quite eagerly. Hyundai, as a manufacturer has figured out the exact formula for creating successful products for the Indian market, and their sales success over the past few years shows that they have their products and target audience well sorted.
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.