Hyundai Creta tests the limits

HARARE - Hyundai Creta, the top-selling SUV from the South Korean carmaker, is making waves in Zimbabwe with its versatility and top-notch design.

I had an opportunity to drive the vehicle yesterday and although it may have a small footprint, it is packed with big features.

That’s the beauty of Creta. Driving around Harare’s bumpy and dusty streets, the car handles the city with nimbleness and agility to make parking in tight spots an absolute breeze.

Hyundai has understood our need for cars that ride well and has set up the Creta’s suspension to suit Zimbabwean needs. Bumps are soaked up well, and the struts make no noise as they go about their business.

The downside of all other nice-riding Hyundais is the way they handle speed, or corners, or both together. But not in this case. It’s a good handler, this one. It doesn’t tremble with fear at the sight of curves. It sticks to its line well, and doesn’t induce fear like the Elantra do. The steering, though not as talkative, is good enough to get the job done.

Hyundai Dealer, Automated Distributor Incorporated fleet sales executive Bradley Joseph said since its launch late last year, the Creta — in three varieties 1,6 GL 6MT and 1,6 GL Auto and 1,6 GLS Auto — has become more popular with corporates and fleet owners resulting in improved sales.

“Hyundai’s aim is to be the most favoured brand and its products bring customer satisfaction,” he said. 

And you will find very few compromises in the spacious and surprisingly well-appointed cabin.

Inside, things are far more premium than they are inside its rivals such as Ford Eco sport. Quality materials have been used, and the beige-and-black dashboard looks neat. It’s got the right toys — sat-nav, Bluetooth, steering controls, a touch screen infotainment system, rear AC vents, reverse camera and all that. It’s got more gizmos than any of its competitors.

The Creta is big on space as well. The front seats are large and comfortable, and six-footers won’t complain if you ask them to take the rear seat.

The boot — 402 litres — is large enough to carry a weekend’s worth of stuff, especially when coming from the farm or the rural areas.

Although Hyundai spoils you rotten when it comes to engine options, for the Zimbabwean market there’s a 1,6 litre petrol engine which out 123PS of power along with 151Nm of peak torque which are not outrageous numbers but given the fact it weighs well over 1 200kg, its power to weight ratio of around 98PS per tonne is good enough to catapult this compact SUV at any point of time.

I have to say, and this is coming from some with an affinity for Hyundai cars, the steering on this is by far the best that I have come across.

Usually criticised for offering a very light steering, this one is well-weighted and is quite nimble to handle, even in chaotic Harare roads.

Body roll is bare minimum as it takes on corners with confidence but there is a certain degree of muttering that one can sense, as it’s not really happy diving in and out of corners. Ride on the whole is similar to its other variants making use of a similar suspension setup. It takes on undulated roads with much ease, while the suspension is a bit on the stiffer side, you do get to feel some jerks but on the whole it makes your drive quite planted.

To sum it all up, the Hyundai Crater is a well-dressed SUV, gets a potent motor under the hood, the auto-box is quite refined, interiors are well laid out and the list of features are quite lucrative. If all of that doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what else will — especially with a price tag ranging from $27 900 to $33 200 inclusive of duty and value added tax.

To add icing on the cake, the vehicle comes with a five-year or 100 000 kilometre warrant, proving the manufactures confidence in the product.

*Till next week, drive safely!!! For feedback, get in touch with me on +263 772 214 432 or kachemberej@dailynews.co.zw

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