When Hyundai got the first-gen Creta rolling on Indian streets, it didn’t take long for it to be widely accepted and go on to redefine the segment, which was just about packing up a gallop back then. Fast forward to the present day, and a few options like the Jeep Compass, Kia’s Seltos, the MG Hector, and Tata’s Harrier have cropped up in the segment. Nevertheless, the new Hyundai Creta which was introduced in mid-2020 retains its stronghold. It’s got the obvious updated exterior design, loads of additional equipment, and a slew of engine/transmission options to choose from. For this review though, we’ve driven the 1.4-litre Turbo GDi petrol motor that uses a DCT gearbox. Here’s our experience.
When viewed head on, the new Creta certainly looks distinctive due to the slender DRLs that’s smartly wrapped around its headlight cluster, and the huge grille with tons of silver highlights. However, in profile, larger wheels would have looked better in filling up those bulging wheel arches.
In fact, these bulges, when mated to the sloping roofline with the spoiler, along with the highlighted C-pillar and the short rear windscreen, make the design a little too dense for me. The same goes for the rear too, as the boot lid, with its numerous sheet metal creases and taillamp arrangements, looks severely overdone.
What enhances the comfort quotient in the new Creta is a swell driving position with comfy seats and decent visibility. The only downside being the tiny rear windscreen which requires one to rely on the rear-view camera more than you normally would. Nonetheless, this cabin feels premium mainly due to well-appointed interiors with ambient lighting, fresh design lines, and a wide seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Long journeys are bound to be comfortable thanks to the firm cushioning on the leatherette upholstered seats. My favourite has to be the front cooled seats which are extremely accommodating even for tall occupants. Sadly, tall people at the rear could find themselves brushing their heads on the sloping roofline.
Also, thigh support as well as the seating, for three adults on the bench, should have been comfier. But if one can get past these, the two-angle adjustable backrest along with the generous legroom makes it reasonably comfy. Then there’s the 60:40 functionality that liberates even more boot space, just in case. Else, three medium-sized suitcases and some soft bags should do the trick.
Features-wise, the instrument cluster with its colourful and attractive graphics instantly pleases with the flat-bottomed steering wheel. Then, there’s the zippy touchscreen infotainment system’s panel (with superior resolution and vibrant colours) that simply sounds amazing. Also on offer are paddle shifters with a sports pedal, and all-black interiors with orange trim splashed on the seat piping, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and air-con vents. Safety features include vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, six airbags, rear parking sensors with camera, hill assist control, and rear disc brakes.
Powering the Creta in this review is the 138bhp/242Nm 1.4-litre Turbo GDi petrol. It powers the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters and a yacht-style lever; snazzy to say the least! First and foremost, I’m compelled to say that the refinement of this motor along with the great insulation makes this cabin a silent one indeed.
Besides that, getting off the mark exposes this motor’s sublime and linear power delivery. There’s a determined surge of power from 1,500rpm onwards that lasts all the way to the 6,000rpm redline. As expected, this DCT gearbox shifts in a flush and unobtrusive manner. All-in-all, these characteristics not only make it a smooth runabout for the city, but also an effortless mile muncher when it’s time to stretch its legs out on the highway.
Additionally, Creta’s drive modes- Eco, Comfort, and S are surprisingly fulfilling since the system smartly and precisely senses the throttle input. With a light foot in Eco or Comfort mode, the gearbox upshifts at around 2,000rpm, but if there’s increased throttle input, the gears will upshift later or when the accelerator pedal input is steady. As one would expect, S-mode improves the powertrain response dramatically, but far from a jerky one. Lastly, those who’d prefer to shift gears manually can experience all modes through the gear-stick or the paddle shifters.
When it comes to the Creta’s ride quality, since it is slightly firm at slow speeds, the harsh irregularities filter into the cabin along with an occasional thud over the larger bumps. However, as speeds increase, the shock absorption improves significantly which makes for a rather pliant ride. On a positive note, the favourable chassis balance gives one enough confidence around bends, despite there being some evident roll.
The steering, on the other hand, although light and fairly accurate, does feel vague around the dead centre. And, with three turns from lock-to-lock, it means there’s more arm-twisting to drive into tight spots. As regards the braking, we’d have appreciated more initial bite, but the discs on all corners allow this SUV to come to a truly assuring stop.
The Hyundai Creta Turbo petrol DCT’s price tag of Rs 19.55 to 20.77 lakh (OTR Mumbai) is quite similar to its rivals such as the Kia Seltos, MG Hector, and the Mahindra XUV500, barring, of course, the costly Jeep Compass. If you can get past the fact that the new Hyundai Creta isn’t exactly dynamically engaging to drive, and that the rear seat dynamics isn’t suited for tall occupants, then you will unequivocally like what I have to say next. Which is, this Hyundai delivers immense refinement, a decent dose of performance and driveability, along with a fairly spacious and feature-laden cabin. There’s also Hyundai’s wide service network to take into account. No wonder the Creta is so popular!
Pictures by Kapil Angane