With over 27,000km on the odo, our long-term Hyundai Creta goes back to its makers.
It’s been about five years since I last drove a Creta, what with my life at Autocar being happily centred around two wheels. That changed when I got to spend a couple of weeks with the new Creta for a long vacation home, and man has it taken the game forward. The first ten minutes was just spent in the office car parking lot figuring out all the gizmos.
KEEP ON ROLLING: The Creta’s diesel engine can be delightfully frugal even at speed.
Of course, you’ve already heard all about this car’s many wonderful features, but as fancy as the Creta may have gotten, it’s still very much an identifiable Creta driving experience. Hyundai has consistently made some of the most refined diesel engines and this one is no different. The refinement isn’t in just how smooth it sounds and feels, but also in the smooth way that the torque is delivered, which just adds to a gentle, calming driving experience.
Calm and gentle are what the Creta excels at and it breathes down a smooth road in a likeable manner. The ride comfort is mostly good, but its suspension still can’t eat through big potholes as effortlessly as a Renault Duster or Nissan Kicks.
Our usually skittish cat enjoyed the drive.
Age and exposure to fast motorcycles have convinced me that driving the average car in an aggressive manner is absolutely pointless. The Creta is well suited to my style of covering ground in a quick, but drama-free manner. Cabin noise is well controlled and all four passengers (including our usually nervous and easily stressed cat) found the 500km, eight-hour-long drive home pleasantly comfortable.
Some of the Creta’s features like the wireless phone charger and the crisp Bose audio system really were a treat, but others were occasionally an annoyance. My elbow kept hitting the air purifier’s touch screen controls on the back of the central arm rest, which can be overcome by locking the controls. But the purifier insists on coming on every time the car is started and you have to go into the menu on the infotainment display to turn it off.
STUCK IN THE PAST: Only driver window switch gets illumination, auto up/down.
Hyundai has gone through the effort of throwing in advanced features like an electronic handbrake, but after a few weeks, I really missed the simple convenience of one-touch up/down power window controls – something that remains reserved only for the driver. Reach adjustment for the steering wheel was another miss, but the electronically controlled driver seat still helped me find a nice driving position so I won’t grumble much there. There’s also no shaking the feeling of the low-rent dashboard plastics that appear to be another compromise made for all the marvellous features.
After 27,300km, mostly at the typically overzealous hands of automobile journalists, the Creta seems to have fared quite well. There were no obvious creaks and rattles and the only sign of wear was a broken left side tether for the parcel tray. The tyre pressure warning system on our car had also stopped working at some point before I got it, and as Sergius mentioned in our first report, the driver’s side electric seat adjust button was missing. It’s also worth repeating what Sergius said about the fuel efficiency – this diesel engine can be really efficient, which has become an extraordinary pleasure in these times.
CLEAN AIR ACT: Air purifier is a nice feature, but the controls are tedious.
Perhaps the best way to sum up how the Creta has grown on us in its time here is to talk about the looks. I remember getting a glimpse of it through the raging throng of journalists at the Auto Expo 2020 reveal and thinking, ‘Good god, what have they done.’ But you know what, that mindset has changed – the new Hyundai design language is quirky, unique and instantly identifiable. Is it classically good looking, or a design that will age gracefully? Perhaps not, but I don’t mind admitting that as with the funky new i20, I’ve grown to quite like it.
Ultimately, the new Creta may pack far more toys and gadgets, but it still represents the same position in the market I recall from five years ago. It’s a comfortable, well-equipped and desirable car that’s just the right size for a small family living in the big city. And that’s precisely why you see so many on the road.