This month, the Hyundai Creta was mostly used within the city. And when it's doing rounds of the busy roads of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, that alone gives you a fair idea of the amount of traffic the SUV has faced this time. A lot!
Every morning I looked forward to sit behind the wheel of the Creta more than any other car. And there are many reasons why I never hesitated, the first one being good driving comfort. Since my commute to work involves a lot of traffic during peak hours, a comfortable driving position was very important to me. I could sit nice and low and also be able to set the seat to a higher position to see the bonnet (important while parking). Also, the silent engine and good cabin insulation made for a quiet drive. The broken patches and big bumps on the Mankhurd road were no bother thanks to the 190mm ground clearance and pleasant ride. However, I still feel that a little more feedback from the brakes would have gone a long way in boosting confidence while braking.
Another reason I get much driving pleasure from the Creta is because of its automatic gearbox. The fact that my left leg feels at ease due to the absence of the clutch is very reassuring. And then this six-speed torque-converter transmission mated to the 1.6-litre petrol mill does its job very well. It has been tuned to deliver good fuel efficiency and the early gear shifts clearly point this out. Apart from these gentle throttle inputs, the gearbox is sensitive and shifts to a lower gear with a harder tap on the accelerator pedal. The vehicle does take a while to catch up speed and cannot be called a brisk mover due to lack of mid-range. At times, I had to use the manual mode to make quick sprints. Nevertheless, this doesn't become a point of complaint as it still provides a relaxing drive within the city. The petrol SUV also delivers a fuel economy of 9.85kmpl, which is impressive considering the drive time and bumper-to-bumper traffic jams it has negotiated.
The 7-inch touch screen AVN system is one of my favourite pieces of equipment in this car with its Bluetooth feature being used the most. My phone was always connected and with music being buffered continuously through the internet I never had to use the USB mode. I still used the FM radio at times as it plays channels without a fuss. It is easy to tune and select different radio stations which can be stored with upto 10 presets. Sadly, if Google Maps had not introduced the live feature on our phones, the Creta's sat-nav system wouldn't have been my second choice. It is powered by Map My India and is a smart system to provide driving directions. It magnifies every turn or main junction on half of the screen making it an innovative and useful feature.
Adding to the delight is the keyless entry function. I never had to take out the small key fob from my pocket as the car unlocked and locked itself with the press of a button on the door handle. And once inside, the automatic cooling kept the cabin cool even in the soaring temperatures in Mumbai. This is the SX trim and unlike the SX (O), there is no speed-sensing door lock. Thankfully there is a still a manual button. But, since it's not illuminated it did become a task to find it in the dark, while the mall security waited for me to unlock the boot for checking. However, I didn't require their help in guiding me to park as the reversing camera with guidelines does a superb job in helping one park in the most cramped spaces.
In the coming month the Creta will be put through its paces to see how it fares on the highway. Our next report will focus on how useful it can be for those inter-city trips.
Pictures by Kapil Angane