Report: Joshua David Luther; Photography: Mohd. Nasir
The world of automobiles is
evolving, competition is intense and as avid petrol heads we are always excited
by new entrants in the market. Usually it is the established players who always
keep the crown and glory for themselves but just once in a while there is a new
contender who will come and upset the balance. The Hyundai Creta makes its
entry into one of the latest and most competitive segments of the Indian
automobile market – the Compact SUV segment. We took the Creta for a test
review from Pune to Lonavla by the end of which we were sure this new contender
would upset the balance.
Like the way all
dictatorships and monarchies must one day end, there is no sovereign ruler in
the world of automobiles. To date the segment has been ruled by the establishing
Renault Duster and the second contender Ford’s Ecosport but their reign had to
be short-lived. The reason for this is simple - the Creta is Hyundai’s answer
to a call for justice. While many of us have been cribbing for a lack of
features or value for money in many of the compact SUVs offered today, Hyundai
has been patiently watching and waiting. When they finally stepped up to
answer, all heads turned and the silence was impeccable. The Hyundai Creta is
an answer to the injustice being done on fronts like price, features, build
quality, performance, cost of ownership and the list is endless.
1582cc CRDi VGT
126.3bhp @ 4,000rpm
215/ 60 R17 Tubeless
Front: Mc Pherson Strut with Coil Spring
Rear: Coupled Torsion Beam Axle (CTBA) with Coil Spring
The Creta follows Hyundai’s
2.0 Fluidic design philosophy and looks like a full bred SUV. While many
comparisons have been made to the likes of the Santa Fe and the Evoque, I feel
this SUV has an aura of its own. You have a very aggressive looking facade
which features angular headlamps with LED positioning lamps and cornering
lamps. You also get a three slat chrome grill among other generously garnished
chrome accents. The hood of the Creta looks as if it has been chiselled off the
Chest of Hercules and has a very muscular feel to it. The Vertical fog lamps are a unique offering
in this segment and add to the premium feel of this SUV. The Creta also
features silver painted skid plates in the front and rear. The side profile of
the Creta gives it an urban SUV look with a rising belt line from front to rear
and a roofline with the right slope. The black cladding on the lower edges of
the Creta run seamlessly from front to back and the rear features a broad
chrome strip on the boot lid. The wrap around tail lamps looks smart and
compliments the design language of this compact SUV. The exterior of the Creta
has many chrome trims and the ORVMs also feature LED turn indicators.
When we look at the
competitors, the Creta has already cornered them on fronts they don’t score so
well on. The real test begins when we analyse build quality, engine
performance, drive and handling. At the heart of the Creta is a 1.6L CRDi VGT
diesel mill which produces 126.3bhp@4000rpm and 260Nm of torque from 1900 to
2750rpm. The Creta is also available with a 1.4L CRDi diesel mill and a 1.6L
Dual VTVT petrol motor. The 1.6L diesel which we drove is mated to a 6-Speed
manual transmission and is also available with a 6-Speed auto box as well. The
1.6L diesel is one of the most powerful engines in the segment. The flow of
power is smooth thanks to the improved VGT and the turbo kicks in anywhere
north of 1800rpm. While driving on highways the Creta has long legs and really
loves to stretch. You can overdrive in the 4th, 5th and 6th
gears which provide the option of a higher gear ratio than a direct drive and
engine speeds are reduced at higher speeds to improve fuel efficiency and
enable further acceleration. For city driving you will have to work the gears a
bit more if you fall below the 1800rpm mark. In terms of fuel efficiency the
Creta’s 1.6L diesel mill returns 19.67km to the litre which may not be the best
in segment but is certainly not bad.
Hyundai has also ensured the
Creta maintains low NVH (Noise, Vibrations, Harshness) levels. Most of the
noise and vibrations which filter in from the engine bay have been subdued and
the ride is quite silent and peaceful. The Creta has a sturdy build and is not
rattled easily even while driving off road. We took the Creta to almost 140kmph
on an open stretch and to be honest I was surprised. While most of Hyundai’s
offerings with the same 1.6L diesel start floating this vehicle was planted to
the road. Even when cornering at high speeds the Creta was stable thanks to the
ABS with EBD, VSM (Vehicle Stability Management) and ESC (Electronic Stability
Control). The Creta also has a Hill Start Assist control which applies brakes
when you begin to accelerate on an incline to prevent rolling back. The
steering is a bit on the heavier side but weighs up well as you gain speed and
is quite precise to driver inputs. The Creta sits on 215/ 60 R17 tubeless tyres which provide ample
of grip on tarmac and give the SUV a decent stance. In terms of ride comfort
bumps and potholes are almost non-existent thanks to an efficient combination
of a McPherson Strut with Coil Spring (Front) and a Coupled Torsion Beam Axle
with Coil Spring (Rear) Suspension which also facilitate a highly controlled
drive. The front disc and rear drum brake combination are progressive but do
not leave a hint of doubt.
After driving the Creta for over 140kms I was
sure that this was a force to reckon with. It was definitely one of the better
looking offerings in the segment, it has the most powerful engine as well and
the list of features will surely keep you content. It all boils down to the
price then. Yes it is a tad bit expensive but not at all out of place or
undeserved. The Creta is available in showrooms across Delhi for an ex-showroom
starting price of Rs. 8,59,558 which goes all the way up to Rs. 13,60,156
(ex-showroom Delhi) for the SX(O) variant which we reviewed. So if you have
that kind of cash lying around and are looking to buy an urban compact SUV look
no further because this is the best option available to date. Like they say, So far Soo Good!
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