Hyundai have been on a bit of a roll lately with the success of cars like the Grand i10, the i20 (Elite and Active) and the Xcent. All products have been competitively priced and are high on comfort, features and refinement and this meant that anticipation levels for the new Creta were reasonably high. Not since the Tucson has Hyundai delved into the compact-SUV segment in India, and with strong contenders existing in the segment, it was imperative that they bring their A game.
What is it all about?
The Hyundai Creta is a part of the increasingly popular mini-SUV segment. Not to be mistaken for crossover-hatches which are marginally more adaptable and rugged versions of pre-existing hatchbacks, the compact-SUV possesses the space, styling and allure of SUVs, unaccompanied by the colossal footprint and parking woes they usually bring along. Going by these parameters, the Creta seems to have brought the right goods to the table. It’s got an edgy, angular exterior complete with rugged skid plates – indicative of a healthy disregard for subtlety and city limits. The whole design is in-line with Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic’ style with a trademark hexagonal grille that makes the front imposing and sophisticated. If the images of Hyundai’s Santa Cruz pickup concept are anything to go by, it’s clear that the carmaker is heading towards some truly exciting design work.
What is it packing?
It’s a Hyundai, so an array of features are par for the course. The top-end variant packs a neat 7” matte touch screen unit, complete with SatNav, Climate Control, keyless entry and a rear A/C vent, reversing camera etc. What’s most remarkable about the interiors is the incredible sense of space the car offers. The cabin is a well-insulated and comforting space to be inwith levels of leg and headroom that are unmatched in the segment. Hyundai has also paid particular attention to driver safety, equipping the car with six airbags, ESP and ABS. However, only the last two come as standard. The base variants although devoid of airbags, still benefit from the car’s HIVE body structure which is supposed to lend greater structural integrity to the shell. The top end variant also packs a Vehicle Stability Management system which attempts to bring the car back in line when faced with sudden loss of traction.
What is it like to drive?
You can choose from three engine options – a 1.6 litre petrol, a 1.6 litre diesel along with a cheaper 1.4 litre diesel option. The 1.6 diesel, the only engine I could test out, is quite rewarding. It’s relatively quiet, high on torque and reasonably linear in its power delivery with decent levels of torque (26.5 kgm) sprinkled across the rev range. Bottom end grunt is rather good, although the turbocharger kicks in after the 1800 rpm mark. The 1.6 litre diesel is also available with a 6-speed automatic which, although expensive, is quite smooth in its transitions. Transmission lag is reduced to a minimum with smooth, well-spaced shifts. However, the auto box is available in the variant which sits right below the top end, so if it’s the fully loaded car you want, you’ll get one with a six-speed manual. The manual’s slick, meaty throws make for a very engaging drive, with a light clutch that doesn’t exhaust you in a gridlock.
The steering on the other hand continues to be extremely light, offering very little feedback at lower speeds. The suspension is soft – affirming that the Creta is much more comfortable on the road, even though its size and its high ground clearance suggest otherwise.
Should you buy one?
The Creta isn’t an inexpensive proposition. The base models range between Rs 8.6 lakh to Rs 9.47 and you do miss out on some of the car’s more appealing features. The fully loaded versions however, do have a lot going for them, and do offer a very wholesome and refined package. All the trademark Hyundai traits are there in the Creta, and at this point that can only be a good thing.