Hyundai Creta First Drive Review
India's fixation with sports utility vehicles is evident sighting their generous numbers plying on the street. There are a select few who buy it with a justified purpose while the rest just want to carve their own ‘BIG’ space; to be classified as the ones who have arrived in life.
Traditional SUV options weren’t many and Indian consumers are never content with less, so enter the Compact SUV class; gives a feel of a real SUV without making one spend as much. This type caught the attention of all with Renault, Ford and Nissan taking a quick plunge.
Hyundai too sees a great potential in this segment and believes that it will grow by 41% in 2014-15. To slot an impressive product and take advantage of the rising wave, Hyundai launched the Creta at a price of Rs 8.59 lakhs. The excitement for it was such that the car maker already had 10000 confirmed bookings prior to its launch. What makes it so special? Our first drive report is here.
Seeking inspiration from the flagship offering, Santa Fe, the Hyundai Creta looks fresh and unique. It doesn’t have bulging muscles or pseudo cladding instead has a much matured approach with a modern meeting urban design theme. Since it is based on the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, also responsible for the gorgeous styling of the Elite i20, the Creta’s exterior design scores the most and is also one of the strongest decision making factors.
What are the unique bits in the design? Giving it a uniform brand identity is the new radiator grille sporting solid triple chrome slats, exactly like that on the Santa Fe. One good thing is that they have gone easy with chrome making sure it looks premium and at the same time fulfils the popular want of Indian consumers. Then come the wraparound headlamps with projectors lights, LED position strips and cornering lamps, all of which are a first in the segment. Ditching the conventional shape and position, it gets vertically slotted fog lamps. There is a strong profile which runs across the width of the front bumper with silver finished skid plates underneath.
To make it less resistant against air flow and increase fuel efficiency, the front pillars have an optimized design with the right slant angle. Both the front set of pillars get a blackened piano finish to make the side look elegant and also impose a longer glasshouse area. Giving it a sporty character are roof rails, chrome tipped door handles and diamond cut alloys, all seen as standard on the top end SX(O) variant.The plastic cladding on the lower half of its length give it the quintessential SUV look with an added ruggedness.
We liked the progressive shoulder line climbing from the front wheel arch and ending at a higher position meeting the rear tail lights. Subtly flared wheel arches are a nice touch. All SX trims get electrically adjustable and foldable ORVMs without an auto folding option, this was surprising. Also, most variants make use of 205/65 R16 tyres with clean silver alloys except the top trim which gets more appealing 215 / 60 R17 tyres with diamond cut alloys. This mix and match of various options on these five variants will work with customers who are choosy about features.
It gets a neat and tidy arrangement at the rear with a large bulging tail gate and split combination tail lamps. The stronger waist line does make it look large in profile with a greater focus on higher luggage storage. There isn’t much except for a highly visible Hyundai logo, right at the centre. Cladding theme continues uniformly on the rear bumper with similar styled skid plates as seen on front. The only bit which could have been better is the positioning of the registration plate sitting at an intermittent position lower from the tail lights and higher from the bumper.
It seems Hyundai has appointed a gentleman disguised as a commoner listening to everyone’s popular wish of features to have in a car as the Creta too, like other Hyundais, comes with a long list which includes many of first in the segment.
There is a lot on offer but that doesn’t make it a clustered messy place to be in, making the cabin feel more comfortable than its rivals. It indeed does remind you of the arrangement in the Elite i20 and that is to Creta’s advantage as it is one the most appreciated cabins. The one that we had during our first drive was the SX+ variant, lower than the top trim SX(O). While it is all about leathers and ebony coloured trims in the SX(O), lower variants have to make do with fabric two-tone seats, they aren’t as appealing but your senses won’t mind.
And that is because the seats are well comforted at the right areas. The headrest, lumbar support and the bottom cushioning is impressive, needs a bit more under thigh support but is manageable. The reach and positioning of buttons and knobs for front occupants is simply practical. Even though the dashboard has a wide winged design, it doesn’t make your knees sweat. There is plenty of room in the front with a dead pedal for the necessary relief on highways. The driver seat also gets height adjustment.
Coming to the rear zone, it gets separate AC vents which are a must for the ones seated behind especially under challenging weather conditions. The incline angle is decent and similar to the front seats, just has tad less of under thigh support. While the seats are comforting enough for long journeys, there is a slight problem and that is cause of the way it looks. From outside, the climbing shoulder line sure does look good but the same makes the rear window more compact with a taller glass line, thus making it feel cramped.
One more surprising bit is the absence of leather wrapping on the steering wheel; a given inside such a premium offering. Nonetheless, it offers sufficient levels of grip along with controls to operate the touchscreen navigation system sitting at the central of the dashboard. Only the base variant gets a 2DIN Audio unit with multiple connectivity options, rest six variants feature a touchscreen system with navigation as standard only on S+, SX+ and SX(O) variants. Also, Hyundai’s much claimed 1GB on-board memory for storing music and files is only seen on two variants – S and SX. The instrumental cluster layout is clean and lucid, shows essential info like trip and odo readings. Surprisingly, it does not feature mileage and distance to empty range.
There are smartly placed cup holders on the central console and the door pockets too have sufficient provision for storage of litre class containers in the front and 500ml on the rear. Under the front armrest, there is a sizeable utility recess. Rear occupants get a foldable armrest with twin cup holders. It gets a super generous luggage area which can be further expanded by folding the rear seats.
After having curated the exteriors and interiors, it was time for us to take a drive and experience the much hyped different power train options. To begin with, it doesn’t look as rugged and raw as the Renault Duster meaning you can’t throw this one just anywhere instead should to be taken only on the rightly paved. They still haven’t gone all-wheel on this...yet. Does that make it a less of an ‘SUV’?
Not really because as Hyundai likes to put it, the Creta will see more of urban well polished roads than rocks and stones thus making it an urban soft-roader which can take on hard surfaces occasionally. Our drives started from Pune city giving us enough time and exposure to the city’s amazing traffic and also an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with Creta’s in-city mannerism. To tackle it all, the diesel automatic was our weapon of choice.
And it will be everyone’s since none of the other manufacturers offer one, sounds very apt to deal with bumper to bumper traffic where otherwise your right foot starts singing sore notes. Get the motor warmed up by a small push and you notice the 1.6L motor isn’t too noisy. It revs to a smooth note with impressive refinement. The 1582cc CRDi VGT motor makes 128PS and of power and 260Nm of torque. Yes, that is an impressive amount. To make sure all the necessary power and torque come into play at the right time, it gets an optional 6 speed automatic transmission along with a manual box as standard.
As multiple motorists kept intruding our path, we were forced to drive on the lower revs evaluating its performance under such stop go conditions. The bigger displacement motor doesn’t act like a cat on toes instead is more of a lazy being trying to get his act right. No matter how much you try to push it, your enthusiasm will meet a cold response as the sluggish nature of the motor takes over completely till you cross the lower range and enter mid range where those large numbers of torque come into play.
Once done solving the city puzzle, we entered Mumbai Pune expressway; it being made of concrete doesn’t feature in my ideal list of roads to drive on. Moving away from my list of dislikes, it appeared that we had finally found Creta’s comfort zone. Get the motor, or rather push it, to mid range and you would notice all your concerns getting washed away with a way too confident and sorted response.
The conventional torque converter automatic unit is tuned for balanced highway cruising rather than a playful shift mode coz it will spend more time on highways than anywhere else. The box gets a manual mode when you need that extra power during overtaking or sudden manoeuvres. The shifts aren’t exactly precise and crisp. We preferred keeping it in the auto mode which too acted a bit confused if driven hard. Nonetheless, the lack of pizazz will go unnoticed by the usual owners who aren’t too keen to drive it with a spirited foot.
Still if it is made to travel at higher speeds, there is a constant need of steering input as the ride gets jittery. At higher speeds, the ride quality is decent except while entering corners at high speeds wherein the confidence level drops. However, the way Hyundai has put everything together in this compact SUV is really impressive as there is no redundant noise seeping inside the cabin even as the wheels battle undulations and rough surfaces. The NVH levels are segment rivalling; perhaps competition can learn a thing or two. The suspension setup is also inclined towards offering a softer ride and is optimized according to Indian conditions with the right damper settings.
The other engine options include a 1.6L Dual VTVT petrol and a 1.4L CRDI diesel. We did manage to get a short drive in the 1.6 petrol variant but not to the extent of getting a proper feel of the motor. It did leave a positive feel with its free revving nature. We will feature it in our reviews soon. Overall, in terms of performance, the Creta car has it all to be a regular everyday ride.
|Power in PS/RPM||128 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||260 / 1900 - 2750|
|Gears||6 - AT|
|Wheel base mm||2590|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||NA|
|Ground clearance mm||NA|
|Fuel tank capacity L||55|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 65 R16|
|Features - Hyundai Creta||Base||SX||SX(O)|
|Electronic Stability Control (ESC)||No||No||Yes|
|Vehicle Stability Management control (VSM)||No||No||Yes|
|Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)||No||No||Yes|
|Electric Tailgate Release||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear AC Vent||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Alternator Management System||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Remote Fuel Lid OpeningNo Cable Type||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2 Din Audio with AUX+USB+iPOD+MP3||Yes||No||No|
|Touch Screen Audio with AUX+USB+iPOD+MP3||No||Yes||No|
|Touch Screen Audio Video Navigation System||No||No||Yes|
|1GB Internal Memory||No||Yes||No|
|MT Shift Indicator||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front Map Lamp||No||Yes||Yes|
|Fully Automatic Air Conditioner||No||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||SX+||RxZ 110||Titanium 1.5 TDCi|
|Power in PS/RPM||128 / 4000||108 @ 3900||89 @ 3750|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||260 / 1900 - 2750||248 @ 2250||204 @ 2000|
|Gears||6 - AT||6 - MT||5 - MT|
|Wheel base mm||2590||2673||2520|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1329||1296||1289|
|Ground clearance mm||NA||205||200|
|Fuel tank capacity L||55||50||52|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 65 R16||215 / 65 R16||205 / 60 R16|
Post its launch; there were some wise brains that deemed the Hyundai Creta as an expensive buy but then perhaps they forgot to run a check of items this compact yet not tiny SUV offers. It gets 6 airbags – dual front, side and curtain, ABS, EBD, ESP, VSM – Vehicle Stability management, Hill Assist Control, rear park assist with camera and projector headlights with cornering lamps.
The urban design and feature loaded interiors will strike an impressive chord with its target audience. Also, boosting that feel is the great line up of engine options and smartly Hyundai has chosen one petrol and two diesel motors as the latter is a popular choice among the SUV class. To top it up, it gets an automatic diesel which as the company say was devised especially for the Indian market.
Compared to its most relevant rival, Renault Duster, the Creta is priced at a higher point but as an overall package it makes a great sense for someone seeking a premium compact SUV with a strong built quality, well equipped cabin and an impressive performance.