With 15,000 confirmed orders on the launch day, Hyundai Creta has had the strongest of the starts in the company’s nearly two-decade-old history in India. And the fact that, such a response was received by a car which has a price range of INR 8.59 – 13.60 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi), tells two important things: 1. A good chunk of Indian customers are no longer bound by a strict budget and 2. Hyundai has systematically amassed enough brand equity over these years to pull off such a big ticket launch.
We came back with positive first impressions after having a short stint in a Creta prototype within Hyundai India’s Chennai plant a month ago. Now, we have had a proper interaction with the compact crossover to see if it has got what it takes to push the benchmark to a new level in a rapidly growing segment.
Based on Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, a more refined version of a theme which stuck a chord with the Indian audience, Creta is arguably the best looking car in its territory. It has an optimum blend of car-like athleticism and an SUV-like road presence – a crossover in the true sense of the word.
The front fascia is composed of prominent angular elements such as a hexagonal chrome slated grille, peeled back elements and vertically oriented foglight enclosures. Combine them with a multi-layered black bumper and a silver scuff plate, you get a crossover which makes a strong visual impact on the beholder.
The profile is characterized by a subtly tapering roofline, trapezoidal greenhouse with blacked out A- and B-pillars, and a thick C-pillar. Quintessential crossover elements like pronounced wheel arches, large alloy wheels (17-inchers in case of fully loaded SX(O) variant), roof rails and an unmissable waist line are all there.
On a quick initial glance, the rear fascia feels like a grown up Elite i20 with its horizontal wraparound combination lamps and a compact windshield. An accentuated crease line just above the low-set license plate enclosure masks the bulk while a black bumper with pseudo air intakes and silver scuff plat round off the design.
To sum it up, Creta gets a big tick mark in the styling department. We particularly like the fact that Hyundai’s designers have kept the usage of chrome within acceptable limits.
Creta’s dual-tone dashboard has a modern appeal and a neat layout. Protruding centre console, a 4-spoke silver-accented multifunction steering wheel (leather wrapped in case of SX (O) variant) and a simple instrument console (MID doesn’t have avg fuel economy) are the highlights.
Materials used are good and the build quality is excellent. The blue backlights for climate control system and USB/Aux-in ports further enhance the feel good factor. However, the gear shift lever in lower variants feel out of place in an otherwise well executed cabin.
Front seats are very comfortable with adequate side bolstering, lumbar and thigh supports. Height adjustable driver seat combined with adjustable steering wheel (reach and rake) offers sound ergonomics.
The rear bench is a wee bit too upright than our liking but the overall comfort level is impressive. There is no shortage for leg, knee and head rooms. However, rear AC vent, centre tunnel and armrest together limit the comfort level of the middle passenger.
Though we drove the car in a cold weather, we think the climate control system is suitably equipped to tackle Indian summers. There are enough number of storage compartments, cubby holes and cup holders throughout the cabin.
To sum it up, Hyundai Creta has the best-in-class interior in terms of design, quality and practicality.
Equipment level is Creta’s trump card. The fully loaded SX (O) variant offers 6-speed airbags, ABS with EBD (standard across the range), ESC, VSM, projector headlamps, daytime LED running lights, 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, chrome door handles, touchscreen infotainment system with video steaming capability, navigation system, automatic climate control, reverse parking camera with sensor, smart key with start/stop button and power folding mirrors. However, distance-to-empty and average fuel economy calculator are missing in the multi-info display.
Even the lower variants are very well equipped. The audio quality in the touchscreen AVN is good and it comes with a built-in 1GB hard drive. 1.6L diesel automatic variant (SX) also gets hill hold control.
Engines and gearboxes
Hyundai Creta is available in four powertrain combos – 1.6L diesel 6MT, 1.6L diesel 6AT, 1.6L petrol 6MT and 1.4L diesel 6MT. We sampled the 1.6L diesel motor in both manual and auto versions and the petrol variant. All the variants are front-wheel driven.
1.6-litre VTVT petrol
The four-cylinder normally aspirated petrol motor produces 123 PS and 151 Nm of torque when mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Both intake and exhaust valves benefit from variable timing.
The motor settles into a super refined idle with zero vibration filtering into the cabin. Even under hard acceleration and high speed cruising, the refinement levels are impressive throughout the rev range.
The motor has a weak bottom-end torque which makes you will have to work the gearbox more often than you would like, especially in mountainous roads. There is a linear power delivery post 2,000 rpm which wades off post 5,500 rpm (redline is at 6,500 rpm). Things do get exciting between 3,000 to 5,000 rpm. The petrol Creta can happily cruise at decent triple digit speeds without sweating much.
Overall gearshift quality is good but a quick downshift from 5th-4th needs to be done consciously.
1.6-litre CRDI diesel with 6-speed MT
The range-topping four-cylinder oil burner pumps out an impressive 128 PS and 260 Nm of torque. Mated to a 6-speed MT, the motor performs admirably well.
To boot with, the NVH levels are super impressive. Unlike most diesel cars, the engine is inaudible while idling and cruising. Noise level under hard acceleration is well within acceptable limits but the typical diesel clatter is apparent when the motor is subjected to load.
Once you work through the turbo lag which is very noticeable almost till 2,000 rpm, the crossover shoots forward with a grin inducing grunt. The surge is strongest post 3,000 rpm and the motor’s eagerness to rev starts diminishing from 4,000 rpm onwards.
Creta 1.6L diesel gets past 100 kph mark before you know and is capable of doing 180 kph. The 6-speed manual gearbox which has three overdrives (4th, 5th and 6th) makes mile munching all the more effortless.
1.6-litre CRDI diesel with 6-speed AT
The 6-speed automatic transmission does an impressive job of masking the turbo lag and hence makes its easier to drive in urban conditions. While its not as smooth a a dual-clutch unit, the shift jerks are well damped.
The gearbox doesn’t allow you to downshift while the engine is running beyond 3,000 rpm even in manual mode for obvious reasons. Speaking about downshifting, there is a noticeable hesitation which needs getting used to. Nonetheless, this powertrain combo is very appealing for customers of self driving variety.
Ride, handling and braking
Hyundai is intensely working on strengthening the dynamics of its global product lineup and the positive effect can be observed on Creta which will eventually be sold in over 100 international markets.
The compact SUV has a plaint ride quality which is a result of a well sorted damping. Given that the engines are capable of high speeds, it’s gratifying to know that there are no unwanted vertical movements within the cabin.
Creta’s composure around corners too is just as accomplished as its ride quality. Notwithstanding a mild body roll, Hyundai’s latest is sure footed and predictable, even when you push hard. Steering system too is remarkably improved compared to other Hyundais on sale in India. Though it lacks definitive feel, it’s is responsive and weighs up consistently.
Braking is taken care of by front ventilated discs and rear drums. Aided by ABS and EBD, Creta can come to a quick halt without a fuss even under wet conditions.
With attractive styling, top-notch build quality, comprehensive safety equipment, good cabin space and a strong diesel engine, Hyundai Creta has covered all the bases and set a new segment benchmark in the process.
The so called premium pricing is very well justified by safety and quality, so it’s really hard to find fault with the overall package. We think Creta is the best product Hyundai India has dished out yet and it looks set to remain as the compact crossover to beat for a long time.
- Features list
- Certain features like multiple airbags, Hill hold and leather steering are available only in 1.6L diesel variant
- Nothing else actually
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