Long-term update (1): Hyundai Creta 1,6 CRDi Executive AT
What better way to test the competency of a light crossover than task it with the ferrying of a small family (and the obligatory week’s worth of luggage) on a short getaway to the Breede River Valley? That’s exactly what we did and the Creta handled the trip admirably. With a bulky, Isofix-equipped child seat occupying plenty of space in the rear quarters, the luggage compartment was forced to house all of the holiday’s trappings, from bags of books and myriad unwieldy toys to suitcases crammed full of things we’d likely never need. To our surprise, we managed to squeeze in the whole lot without resorting to tossing aside the parcel shelf.
Despite being weighed down by the aforementioned gubbins, the Creta proved an accomplished open-road cruiser (and even acquitted itself well on gravel), with its 1,6-litre turbodiesel engine providing sufficient punch for swift overtaking manoeuvres. The lack of cruise control, however, may irk drivers who prefer to give their right foot a rest.
Relaxed driving allowed the Creta to take restrained sips of diesel from its 55 litre tank, returning 6,56 L/100 km on the trip. However, the excursion did expose an issue with the transmission.
With our accommodation nestled at the top of a valley, coming and going meant negotiating a series of steep hills on private roads with rock-bottom speed limits. And, frustratingly, the six-speed torque-converter proved reluctant to shift down midway up the more extreme inclines, stubbornly clinging to a higher gear and causing the oil-burner to choke itself near motionless. Not ideal, but at least easily remedied by shifting the gearlever over to manual mode.
After 6 months
Mileage now: 6 910 km
Fuel consumption: 6,81 L/100 km
We like: surprising amount of packing space
We don’t like: sometimes-flum-moxed gearbox
Long-term test (Introduction): Hyundai Creta 1,6 CRDi Executive AT
It’s taken quite some time, hasn’t it? But Hyundai Automotive SA has finally thrown its hat into the local light crossover ring, unleashing the Creta into what has become an intensely competitive segment and plugging what was a glaring gap in its otherwise comprehensive line-up.
And, fresh from a scoop test in our March 2017 issue, the Indian-built newcomer has slotted into our long-term fleet alongside a handful of other capable crossovers in a bid to elbow its way towards the summit of this vibrant sector.
While the Creta is most certainly fresh to us here in South Africa, this small crossover – which is also badged the ix25 in some countries and runs a platform shared with the outgoing i30 – has been around in various developing markets since as early as 2014.
For now, the local range is rather truncated, comprising three derivatives, two of which are powered by petrol.
But the range-topping example I’ll be running for a year is a particularly interesting proposition, since its combination of a turbodiesel mill with an automatic torque-converter transmission is a decidedly unusual one in our market.
Despite its relative rarity, it’s a marriage that makes complete sense thanks to its potential to deliver easy-going, economical travel … and it lends my clutch-depressing left leg a welcome break.
While I’m particularly keen to learn just how much stress the self-shifting six-speed gearbox can suck from my traffic-plagued commute (and, perhaps even more importantly, just how frugal it can be in the process), it’s on the weekends – with family in tow – that the Creta will really have to put its best foot forward.
And, on initial impressions at least, it appears to be up to the task. Passenger space is generous for a contender in the sub-compact segment, which should make fitting and removing my daughter’s bulky Group 1 rear-facing child seat and base to the Isofix anchors in the rear a relative cinch. Whether the luggage compartment (which handily hides a full-size spare wheel) will be capable of accepting a weekend’s worth of toddler related trappings remains to be seen.
While the flagship Creta is rather well specified as standard and its cabin seemingly well put together, I’ve already recognized a handful of ergonomic irritants (something I’ll delve into in the coming months), chief among them the fact that the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach.
The question is, will the significance of this and other minor flaws fade with time and familiarity; or will I still be bemoaning the foibles at the end of the test?
After 1 month
Mileage now: 201 km
Fuel consumption: 6,59 L/100 km
We like: diesel/auto combination
We don’t like: lack of reach adjustment on steering