I have been looking for a new car for some time since selling my beloved VW Vento. Was looking for a new car, but the pandemic has brought financial worries that made things difficult given what I wanted, hence decided to go for a used car. I had a small checklist of must haves, have nots and optionals; Must have
: Auto gearbox, high ground clearance, decent boot, budget 10L ( can stretch to 15 if absolutely necessary) Must not
: Diesel engine( after having driven a diesel, that too a cheating VW for many years made me a bit guilty and I decided to not have diesel car, plus issues expected with BS4 diesels with BS6 fuel, etc), Expensive to maintain, Big in size. Optional
I had made a thread earlier about my driving requirements but that got merged with another thread so will just repeat in brief. Main driving is in city with fair bit of traffic and narrow lanes. 3-4 times a month venture out in the sticks for my hobbies. Not necessarily off road but places with very bad roads and mild off road. Few times a year long trips on highways, generally Pune-Goa.
Within my budget, the options were very limited and I was going to have to compromise somewhere. In my previous thread, the advice was that I should get a used AWD Duster. Whilst that was a great car, I couldn’t find a well maintained one and it was just too drab on the inside overall anyways. Plus the AWD was manual and diesel. Ecosport was too small in terms of space and the 1.5 petrol auto was a bit wheezy. That left 2 to try. The Compass and the Creta.
The Compass: Found a well maintained petrol auto Jeep Compass in bright red which was priced around 16L. Had done 25k and seemed fine. I test drove it and was disappointed to say the least. The Petrol auto isn't the best combo in the Compass and it just didn’t feel right. The gear changes were jerky and the gear lever required some force to pull it out of P which was a big warning sign.Overall did not feel that the Compass deserved the price premium over the Creta. Decided to give it a miss.
Creta: Having been left with only 1 choice, it was easier to find the right Creta. Found a mid 2017 SX + model with single owner and 25k on the odo. Fully serviced and with no problems. The seller was willing to throw in 2 years extended warranty as well. Test drove it in the city and instantly loved the overall feel. All seemed in order and the seller was a trusted person, hence went ahead and bought it at an acceptable price well within my budget.
The old Creta has been reviewed quite comprehensively and there are numerous posts about it so won’t go in the details. I will mention what I liked and didn’t in the various modes I drove it in.
City: Loved it for the city. Moving from a manual diesel vento with the heavy clutch to an petrol auto was beautiful and justified the car for me in just this one bit. The Creta feels larger than it is(Compass conversely feels smaller) which isn't the best in the city but it is surprisingly nimble with a good turning radius so can manage most small lanes and turns without any issues. The gearbox is very smooth and perfectly tuned for the city. No jerky low gears like in DCTs. The suspension is also much better than the vento in the city and I absolutely do not miss the VW thud over the speed bumps.
Highway: With the lockdown didn’t get much of a trial on the highway. Though did a few 10k runs to-fro work. Feels fine and like I had expected. A bit woolly like a SUV especially round faster bends(I used to be untouchable in my Vento in Lonavala ghat between Mumbai-Pune, don’t think I’m getting anywhere close to that feeling in this, which will be sorely missed). Miss the VWs solid highway manners. Less said about the brakes the better and it has been discussed hundreds of times. Will definitely need to do something there. The gearbox is also happier being used progressively and doesn’t like sudden pushing down of the accelerator pedal and struggles to find the right gear but nothing off putting. It is more of a cruiser than a driving machine.
Off the beaten track: With the lockdown easing a bit, managed to find some time and drove it out of the city to one of my favourite places. I was hoping to give it a bit of a test and boy did it get one. The road was completely dug up in places, very bad in others and non-existent in others. Didn’t take it off road as there was no need to. There were some big slushy mud patches to cross in between as well and some enormous craters.
The bad roads, no roads, loose gravelly roads.
Whilst I am under no illusion that the Creta is hopelessly out of place off road, it managed what I threw at it without batting an eyelid. It was far worse that the above photos. Didn't take photos of the bad bits as I was busy driving out of them. I’m used to passing through such stuff with my Vento (read that as superior driving ability), but there were places the other day when I would have thought twice but pushed on with the Creta. And it did not bottom out even once(I hope the guy who bought my Vento doesn’t look at the under body). The good thing about the gearbox is that in manual mode it holds on the gear really well without changing up and that helps with the crawl through slushy stuff. The suspension managed the broken roads well too. I might need better tyres though. It was ok through the steep ghat sections without being great but didn’t struggle. The upside of getting through all this muck is that it gives great photo opportunities at the end of these.
What I like:
-Great in the city.
-Can manage mild off roading and bad roads
-Comfortable and spacious with good boot space
-HU update brought much needed Android auto
-Like the alloys and tyre size.
What I don’t:
-Brakes are bordering on unsafe and I haven’t felt completely confident on highways yet.
-Hate the omissions(autodimming IRVM, autofolding ORVM, No auto lock, Less info and options on MID, no reach adjustment of steering wheel, fewer airbags). Have never understood Hyundai’s reluctance to give auto in the top spec version.
-The HU screen whilst being responsive is utterly hopeless in sunlight with complete glare.
- Parcel shelf rattles over speed bumps and bad roads.
-The weird pointed angle on the front side windows is very off putting for me. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like it. Most are nice and curved to an extent or aren’t this obtuse, that Ive never really even noticed this in cars.
-Not the biggest fan of the front end. The 2018 facelift looks better in my opinion but compared to the current version, mine is like Miss Universe.
Upgrades planned: to be spread out over months as per financial situation
1) HU update: Done
2) Brakes: Need some suggetions here. The Brembo upgrade isn’t as great as per some, but ok as per others. Any further options?
3) Auto dimming IRVM
4) Auto folding ORVM
5) Tyres: Still mulling over Bridestone vs Yokohoma (215/60/17)
6) Sensairy TPMS
7) HU and speaker upgrade if possible
Any other worthwhile upgrades that anyone knows? Please feel free to suggest. I don’t care about cosmetic upgrades so don’t bother with those.