The Creta we have here is 138bhp/242Nm 1.4-litre Kappa Turbo GDi petrol which sends power to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters. Straight off, the yacht-inspired gear-stick took to my palm like a glove, and combined with the ergonomically-placed release button, makes for some intuitive shifting.
Mind you, this petrol is a refined one, and combined with favourable insulation job, makes for a NVH-free cabin. Moreover, it's a relaxed motor which has a linear power delivery from the word go. It serves you a persistent surge of power from 1500rpm to the 6000rpm redline. Which not only makes for swift dashes in the city, but also effortless mile munching. In fact, this DCT gearbox shifts in a smooth and unobtrusive manner.
And, unlike recent cars I’ve driven, the drive-modes here are quite fulfilling. The interesting bit is the precise manner in which the system senses your throttle input. In Comfort and Eco mode, with a light foot, the gearbox upshifts at around 2000rpm. If it senses more throttle, it will upshift later as you steady the accelerator pedal. Of course, it goes without saying that the engine responses in ‘Eco’ is sedate and more relaxed than ‘Comfort’.
Furthermore, in kick-down situations, if the throttle increase is minor, Eco and Comfort modes first try to deal with it by using the same gear. But for major increments, the DCT resorts to downshifting. What’s remarkable is that, given the situation where the throttle is pinned, in either Eco or Comfort modes, the system drops multiple gears to serve you more power, and even holds the gear when necessary.
So, what’s Sport mode for, then? Well, call it the ‘steroids’ mode if you may, as responses improve drastically, but aren’t jerky so to say. The ‘box holds a lower gear to keep the revs on boil, and more often than not, this is the only time you can constantly hear the engine. Equally important, those who prefer to manually shift can experience all modes via the lever or the paddle shifters.
Now, the new Creta’s ride quality at slow speeds, although absorbent, has a firm edge to it. So, while the smaller irregularities are treaded over without any movement, the harsh bumps can be felt within the cabin; including an occasional thud over the severe ones. As the Creta picks up pace though, bump absorption improves tremendously, thereby offering a pliant ride. However at higher speeds, low-frequency bounces can be felt over harsher irregularities.
Nonetheless, what elevates the comfort-quotient is the scant suspension noise, or for that matter, minimal external noises. As for the steering, it is light, accurate and the feedback is progressive. However, it feels vague around the centre, and with three turns from lock-to-lock, isn’t exactly quick either. This essentially means there’s more arm-work involved while manoeuvring through tight city lanes or constricted parking spots.
That aside, despite there being some roll around twisty roads, it is masked favourably by the ideal chassis balance to offer good confidence. Also, the traction control modes; ‘Snow’, ‘Sand’ and ‘Mud’ claim to offer varied responses for better traction on these terrains, but we will reserve our judgement for the road-test review. As for the brakes, we’d have loved more initial bite, but nevertheless, they bring this SUV to an assuring stop, with some nose dive under spirited braking.