As much we love our job of testing and shooting new automobiles almost every day, we dread the months of April and May. It just gets worse every year. Shooting in the summers of Mumbai isn't pleasurable by any measure at any given time of the day, and sadly our long-term Elantra agrees. While returning from one of the shoots on a hot afternoon, the A/C compressor in our long-term Elantra diesel automatic surrendered to the heat and refused to wake up. Unfortunately for me, this happened on the Mumbai-Pune expressway and the nearest Hyundai service centre was at least 90km away. Since there was no other option but to endure the heat, I decided to take the old highway back into Mumbai - not because it would have been any cooler, but because it would be the most nostalgic way to suffer in this scenario.
It took me back to my childhood days when I used to take a road trip to Mumbai with my father in a Fiat 1100. Driving on those narrow roads, making your way through rickety trucks, faint music playing on the radio, and the wind swirling and swishing through the open windows and trying to cool the cabin that was otherwise fuming with the warmth radiated by the old carbureted engine. It wasn't pleasant, but it had its own charm. The little trip with the handicapped Elantra felt similar - minus the worry of broken fan belts or fountaining radiators, of course. This makes you realise how the creature comforts have evolved and how dependent we are on them.
At the surface of it, the blokes at the Hyundai service centre weren't sure of what was wrong with the Elantra's air-conditioning system. That meant the car had to undergo deeper diagnostics. Furthermore, spare parts for the new Elantra aren't available as easily yet, so our car was staring at quite a long garage time. A few days later, the servicemen confirmed that the problem lies in some child-parts inside the compressor and the car would be ready the moment the spares arrive.
After the Grand i10 and Creta, this is the third Hyundai car in the OD garage to suffer from a dysfunctional air conditioning
As we still wait on that to happen, the Elantra is being sorely missed. I seem to have a knack of choosing long-term testers that end up becoming office favourites - the City, the Punto, the Lodgy and now the Elantra. Okay, maybe not the Punto, but the Elantra has certainly won a lot of affection at the OD garage, thanks to its space, the luxurious ride and the likable powertrain. My colleagues are always waiting for a chance to borrow the car when I'm out travelling. The Tucson that recently joined our garage has similar traits too, but the unpredictable brakes on that crossover still makes us like the Elantra more. Hopefully, the car should be back in time for me to enjoy its ventilated seats before the summer season makes way for the rains. But once that happens, I'll fill you in on what exactly went wrong and what was the cost to fix the problem.
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