Hyundai Creta Review & First Drive

Tony-allen

Hyundai Creta Overview

Hyundai held back for a while before venturing into the compact SUV segment and for all the reasons, it has been worth the wait. The growing fondness for compact-sized SUVs in India is clearly evident with the launch of new SUVs every now and then. Hyundai’s Creta, which has started afresh in India, encloses a number of features that put it on par with the rivals. Exteriors are built carefully, striking a perfect balance between the chic quotient and muscularity. Evaluating in terms of outer semblance, Hyundai Creta is a winner hands down in its segment, making the likes of Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport look smaller in comparison.

Interiors too have been worked upon meticulously; it is nothing like a feature-clad cabin that looks cluttered and leaves the driver confused while on the go. The Korean car maker makes sure to equip some of the best features in the segment; especially the high-end variant is well tucked. Engine choices include one petrol and two diesel power trains borrowed from its smaller sibling Verna. Hyundai Creta transmission options comprise of one manual and one automatic gearbox, with the automatic tranny available only on one trim level – the Hyundai Creta SX+. The price of Hyundai Creta in India has been positioned competitively.

Hyundai Creta Exteriors

From nose to tail the Hyundai Creta has been designed keenly. There’s not a single angle from where it looks disproportionate or bland. The designers have done a fabulous work with the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, which makes it look like Santa Fe’s younger brother. The lean and aggressive front styling consists of a shiny and wide three-slat grille with the Hyundai badge sitting proudly in the middle. The sleek projector headlights with LED DRLs are the party piece of the front styling. The muscular bumper integrates the faux silver skid plate and vertically stacked foglamps. Just notice how the bonnet runs straight and suddenly cuts flat from the grille, this makes it look like a true blue SUV.

There is nothing bulbous on the side profile of the Creta, which makes it carry the butch SUV stance from this angle as well. The squarish roofline, sharp and rising crease lines, roof rails, high ground clearance and pronounced wheel arches with black cladding are undoubtedly the ingredients of a full-flavoured SUV. The 5-spoke diamond-cut alloys further add a pinch of premium appearance to the Creta. The sharp shoulder line goes up to the tail lights that carry the crease to the tailgate in a wave pattern making a smart number plate housing, nice touch. With a silver skid plate and dual tone bumper, the Creta looks complete from the rear.

Hyundai Creta Interiors

Interiors have always been a really strong point for Hyundai. The interiors of the Creta is dominant by black. There is beige on the dash that runs from one door pad to another and onto the doors. The fit and finish are top notch, something that is typical of modern Hyundai’s.At the centre of the dash is a 7” touch screen In-Car entertainment system with navigation. The lower variant is offered sans the navigation system, but you get 1GB of onboard storage for your media. You can use Bluetooth, USB or Aux as inputs for the media. It is a snappy unit and easy to navigate around its features.At the top is a small digital clock integrated into the dash. On either side of the touchscreen are vertical air-con vents. These vents are surrounded by chrome inserts.At the bottom are the controls for the climate control system. A nice touch is the mood bar that moves from blue to red depending on the temperature that you have set. The air conditioning unit is powerful and is aided by the presence of the vents at the rear.

Ahead of the gear lever is a nice large storage area lined with an anti-slip material coupled with slots for the power socket, AUX & USB. The AUX and USB slots get no cover but have a blue illumination to aid with finding the slot.The steering wheel is a leatherette-wrapped unit with useful thumb contours. The steering wheel tilt (rake) can be adjusted but misses out on reach adjustment. This is a let-down as this feature is available on the i20 but Hyundai has missed out on inculcating it here. However, the wheel is neutrally placed and most people can find a comfortable position. The buttons on the steering wheel are a combination of buttons and switches. The left ones control the infotainment system whereas the controls on the right control the instrument console.

The instrument cluster is clean with two identically sized dials for the tachometer (Rev-Counter) and speedometer. Digital temperature and fuel gauges are inculcated into the same dials. At the center is the MID (Multi Information Display). This shows two trip computers which also show distance travelled, average speed and trip time in respect to that trip. The computer misses out to show fuel economy or distance to empty, which we feel is a must have for a car of its segment.The other readouts are traction control & stability control status, key not in vehicle warning, gear shift indicator, outside temperature and the parking sensor display. The stalks on either side of the steering are dependable units in terms of quality. The left houses control for the front & rear wipers. The right stalk controls the turn indicators and controls for the headlamps & fog lamps.

On the dash, on the driver’s left is the start stop button and on the right are control switches for traction control, instrument cluster illumination and headlamps levelling to set the throw of the headlamps. The key less system is a really smart unit which not only detects the presence of the key in the vicinity but also detects if it is inside or outside the cabin. You can access the car by a request sensor on the driver’s side door. Just click the black button and it detects if the key is around to unlock the car. There is no need to pull the key out of your pocket. Once you are in, just hit the clutch with the start-stop button to bring the car to life.The wing mirrors are electrically controlled and foldable from the console on the door. The power window controls are on the door armrest along with the central locking control. The door houses the front speaker and has ample storage space with provision to store a 1L bottles.The glove-box is neither illuminated nor cooled. It is made of hard plastic and does not have a lining either.Moving to the top, the sun visors again are a let down in terms of quality for the price tag the Creta commands. Passenger side visor gets a vanity mirror without illumination and the driver side visor gets a simple strap for a ticket holder. The cabin lights at the front are two individual units separated by the switch and Bluetooth mic. The sunglass holder in integrated into the same unit.

The seats are covered in black fake leather with white stitching which have a rich feeling to them. The lower variants get a fabric treatment to the seats. The seats are comfortable and the driver seat can be adjusted for height. Finding a driving position is easy and headroom is ample. However, we found the shoulder room to be on the lower side.Moving to the rear, the seats continue to get the same treatment as the front. There is ample leg room and the seating position is relaxed. This may translate to strain on your lower back during the longer drives but is not much of an issue.There is a centre armrest with cup holders.

Even though the floor hump is really small, we found that the rear seats are more suitable for 2 adults as opposed to 3.You get two large adjustable headrests, rear air-con vents and a charging point.However, because of the design of the car, you get small rear windows which makes visibility for the rear passengers difficult. This also contributes to a claustrophobic feeling at the back. When you go all the way back, the boot stands at 400 litres. This is smaller than the dusters 475 litres. While this is ample space for the weekend trips, more space can be made by dropping the rear seats which fall down flat. Well, almost flat. We feel the fit and finish along with the quality of interior are exactly where they need to be with a car in this segment, but we expect more from Hyundai and there are many features that have been missed out that are already available on lower variants. As a Hyundai, the Creta fails to justify its higher price tag. For more information on Hyundai Creta visit Inlnk

Hyundai Creta Performance

The Hyundai Creta has three engines on offer. The petrol Creta gets a 1.6-litre, four cylinder motor that offers 122PS of peak power and 154Nm of peak torque mated to a six speed manual gearbox. That said, the more popular choice for India will obviously be the diesel motors, a 1.4-litre and a 1.6-litre, both of which are mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 1.4-litre turbo diesel makes 90PS of peak power and 224Nm of peak torque while the more desirable and more powerful 1.6-litre turbo diesel makes 126Ps of peak power and 265Nm of peak torque. The 1.6 is also available with an automatic gearbox and in our opinion, it is this variant which will really see a surprising number of takers, especially in leading metros like Delhi and Mumbai.

Having driven the 1.6-litre diesel, we can merrily report that it is without a doubt one of the most refined engines in this segment. Not only is the overall noise and vibrations much lesser than what we expected, the engine also feels smooth and linear on full throttle acceleration. Yes, there is a hint of turbo lag at lower RPM but it quickly disappears once you pass the 1500-1700rpm mark. We also particularly like the gearshifts on this 1.6-litre model. The 6-speed box feels easy to use and light enough to shift with just one finger making the Creta an easy car to drive. The lightness continues with the clutch too which does provide good bite but still isn’t cumbersome to use at all.

Hyundai Creta Driving

Ride quality on Hyundai cars is good and the Creta being an SUV needs to be even better and it is. The vehicle does a fine job of tackling bad roads and doesn’t transfer much to the inside, even on broken roads. We took the car over some really massive craters and with the speed set to low, it did an excellent job. Increase the speed and the Creta does make the sharp bumps felt to occupants but overall the ride quality is very good. Even the stability at speed is supreme and the Creta does feel glued to the road, in spite of the height and ground clearance. There is no AWD on offer yet and thus this Hyundai is best confined to the urban jungle.

One can’t defy physics so there is some bit of roll around corners but the big surprise is the improved steering. Hyundai has been working on improving the dynamics of its cars and the Creta is by far the best yet. The steering doesn’t feel vague in the centre and does weigh up decently well at speed although it’s not quick or sharp and feedback levels are still not great. It certainly isn’t close to the segment benchmark but gone are the days when you lacked confidence driving a Hyundai. The Bridgestone tyres offer good grip and braking performance is excellent too, the car stopping with no drama even under hard braking.

Hyundai Creta Safety

Stopping power is provided by disc brakes fitted in the front axle. An anti-lock-braking system is also inset, ensuring that the vehicle does not roll or skid. The vital safety features that Creta offers comprise an immobilizer, dual airbags, impact-sensing auto door unlock, electronic stability control with hill assist control, rear parking camera with guidelines and sensors, and rear parking sensors.

Hyundai Creta Final Thought

Buyers looking for a compact or mid-size SUV will be pleased to know that the Creta is well built, comfortable inside and very well-equipped. It feels reasonably composed and easy to drive and what helps further is that the 1.6-litre diesel engine is one of the best around. So, as an overall package, the Creta works really well, with good powertrain options, smart interiors, generous space and of course loads of equipment. The fact that Hyundai will offer an automatic diesel from the off will only add to its overall appeal.

The Hyundai Creta has been launched at a starting price of Rs 8.59 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base petrol manual, but the top-spec diesel versions – manual and automatic – cost Rs 13.6 lakh and Rs 13.57 lakh respectively, making them a bit on the pricey side. The thing is, though, Hyundai has done really well to, on the surface at least, make this feel like a properly premium car, which should be (and has been, going by its great initial response) enough to draw in a lot of customers.

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