In the era of small SUVs for the Indian market, there are two phases. Pre-Creta and post-Creta. Before the Creta, the compact SUV and sub-four-metre segment had a few minor players with the two most significant names being the Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster. Now, nearly six years later, there are eight sub-four-metre SUVs and by the end of the year, eight SUVs in the same segment as the Creta. A part of this is down to the global demand for SUVs but also due to the way the Creta raised the bar when it was launched.
How has one car changed the game so much? Well, we spent some time with the second generation Creta to understand it as a product and what makes it tick and here is what we found.
How practical is it?
This second-generation Creta has grown in dimensions as compared to the previous generation model and this has benefitted the car in terms of interior space. The length and wheelbase have grown by 30mm which may not seem like a lot on paper but once you get inside, the extra room is noticeably visible.
In terms of storage space, you get 1.0-litre bottle holders in both the door pockets as well as one in the centre console which also has a rectangular-shaped slot that looks suited for a juice box or your cell phone. The armrest has a storage space while you also get a cooled glove box in this top-spec SX(O) variant that we are reviewing which is a boon in a country like ours where having something cool to drink on a hot day can come as a blessing.
The additional space can be felt the most at the rear where even for someone of my size there’s more than enough knee room and this with the driver’s seat adjusted to my preferred position.
You can do two at the back in great comfort or three abreast but a little squeezed up with the middle passenger having to deal with the central air vents as well as storage space-cum-USB charging point.
The boot at 433-litres is segment standard and can be expanded via a 60:40 split-folding function. As is evidenced by this picture, it is good for one massive suitcase and a duffel bag or a bunch of smaller bags (duffel included) that would be having you playing a bit of luggage Tetris to fit everything. The boot also gets a parcel shelf which is massive and positioned at a height that doesn’t block your visibility when you need to look behind.
What’s on the feature list?
Hyundai’s perfect poker hand is, of course, its feature list and this has always been their USP when it comes to their cars and this top-of-the-line SX (O) that we are driving is loaded to the gills. At this price point, there’s the usual list of niceties like climate control with rear AC vents, all power windows, power ORVMs, auto-dimming IRVM, cruise control, touchscreen infotainment system with a 10-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Then there are the extra bits that set this car apart which includes the likes of ambient lighting, eight-way power driver’s seat, tyre pressure monitoring system, air purifier, wireless charger, Hyundai BlueLink tech, panoramic sunroof, Bose sound system with eight speakers and even an app that lets you control some functions via your smart watch.
One of the features we particularly enjoyed was the integrated voices command recognition. As a part of the Blue Link technology, there are over 50 present commands that perform various functions which in the case our photograph is the operation of the sunroof. This is very useful on the go as you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel or if you are being chauffeured, then you can use the cabin without disturbing the chauffeur.
What’s the Fuel Efficiency like?
This Hyundai Creta that we drove uses a 1.5-litre diesel producing 113bhp/250Nm with a six-speed manual sending power to the front wheels. This same engine can also be had with a six-speed automatic. In real-world conditions (MT) we got 12.6kmpl in the city and 18.9kmpl on the highway.
Apart from the diesel, this Creta can also be had with a 1.5-litre petrol producing 112bhp/144Nm mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed CVT. The sporty option is, of course, a 1.4-litre GDi petrol that produces 138bhp/242Nm and can only be had with a seven-speed DCT.
How does it perform on the daily commute?
The advantage with a car the size of the Creta is that it’s big enough for you to have a presence in traffic but not so big that it becomes an issue for you to commute on our roads making it simple enough for you to judge gaps when you need to wind your way around slow-moving traffic.
There’s more than sufficient torque from the 1.5-litre diesel engine with the torque kicking in post the2000rpm mark and give you a nice linear surge for quick overtakes or when you need to get up to speed. The strength of this engine lies in a very strong mid-range which is a boon in traffic as you don’t need to keep rowing through the gears to stay in the thick of the action. The steering is light and easy to use but is devoid of feel at the dead ahead position. What’s more, it requires three-turns to go from lock-to-lock which despite its light nature feels like a task if you need to make a U-turn in a tight space or parallel park on a busy road.
The low-speed ride is on the firm side thanks in part to the 215/60 tyres and R17 wheels which are specific to the SX and SX (O) variants. But this is not bone-jarring or passenger displacing and most of whatever is there on the road is absorbed and dampened quite well. Finally, in city conditions, insulation is pretty good in the Creta with most of the outside world being filtered out and in fact, it’s only because this is a diesel that you hear some of the clatters in the cabin.
How is it for the weekend?
This aspect must be looked at with two parameters in mind- cabin experience and driving quality.
As we said in the practicality section, the Creta has grown over its predecessor and consequently has got a larger cabin making it a good space for four to travel in great comfort and for five to be comfortable but with the added benefit of getting to know each other. It’s loaded to the gills with features, practical spaces the likes of which even includes a two-step recline function for the second row (SX and SX (O) only). There’s no sense of claustrophobia as the interiors are beige and with a large glass area and panoramic sunroof you are never going to be short on light coming into the cabin.
A slightly weak link in what is otherwise a good deal is the boot, as we said before, at 433-litres it is segment standard but due to the high floor there’s not much it can carry and this becomes a challenge if you want to recline the rear seats with a full boot.
Out on the highway, the Creta’s driving manners make it an able cruiser to cover the distances. The six-speed manual lets you sit at three-digit speeds comfortably all day without losing a step and will even give you numbers like an 820km DTE (diesel) making one tank last far longer than you would expect. This also makes it an economical car to run if covering long distances is a regular thing on your agenda.
The high-speed ride is quite good with good dampening even on the lumpy concrete roads that are fast becoming commonplace across the country. The Creta for what it handles decently if you factor in the response from the light steering, its size, a high centre of gravity and a driving style where you plan your moves well in advance especially in the twisties.
There’s a lot to be impressed with the Creta when you look at what it has to offer be it in terms of features, engine options or even colours. It’s not the most dynamic car to drive but what it lacks in dynamism, it makes up in other departments. If we had to nitpick, we would say that since Hyundai has managed to sell so many Cretas, if you bought one, yours would be one of the many in a sea of vehicles.
The Hyundai Creta range comprises of 17 variants across three engines, four gearbox options and 10 colour schemes of which two are dual-tone packages. At the time of writing this story, the range is priced from Rs 11.23 lakh to Rs 20.75 lakh (on-road Delhi). It competes against the likes of the Nissan Kicks, Renault Duster, Kia Seltos, Maruti Suzuki S-Cross as well as cars like the Mahindra XUV500, MG Hector and Tata Harrier.
Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi