Hyundai Creta Compact SUV in CarToq’s First Drive

The Hyundai Creta will be launched on the 21st of July. I’m just back after a short spin in the top-end diesel and diesel automatic variants of this hot, new compact SUV, at Hyundai’s Sriperumbudur test track. Here’s what you need to know.

What drives the Creta?

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The Creta is the first compact sports utility vehicle that Hyundai has launched in India, and the SUV arrives in a segment whose other players are the likes of the Ford Ecosport and the Renault Duster. The Creta measures over 4 meters in length. So, no excise duty considerations come in between the engines that Hyundai has chosen for this offering.

You get the 1.4 liter (89 Bhp-220 Nm) and 1.6 liter (126 Bhp-260 Nm) CRDI turbo diesel engines, and the 1.6 liter VTVT (121 Bhp-158 Nm) petrol motor. All these engines are already seen on Hyundai offerings sold here, namely the i20 Elite and the Verna, and power and torque figures remain unchanged too. In terms of transmissions, 6 speed manual gearboxes are standard, while the 1.6 diesel gets a 6 speed automatic.

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The Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy, also known as the Storm Edge design in case of Hyundai SUVs, makes it to the Creta. What you get is looks that make the Creta seem like a baby Santa Fe. Now, the Santa Fe is a gorgeous design, which means that the Creta is also a very good looking SUV. The vehicle’s sharp looks in itself are likely to bring plenty of walk-ins to Hyundai showrooms.

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In terms of seating capacity, the Creta can accommodate 5 adults in a 2+3 layout. The vehicle’s monocoque body allows for refined and sorted dynamics on the road. Hyundai has packed the monocoque structure of this SUV with ultra high tensile steel, making for what the company called a ‘HIVE’ structure. Ring shaped frames dominate the frame of the SUV, making for a stronger, safer body.

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Hyundai prides itself on refinement that its vehicles offer. The Creta is no different in this regard. The high tensile monocoque body, thicker dashboard, anti vibration pads and a central floor tunnel that’s more rigid are a few features that work under the skin of the SUV to deliver a quieter, more refined cabin. Hyundai says that the vehicle has been extensively tested to perform in trying Indian conditions.

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Base, S, SX and SX(O) are the four variants that the Creta will be offered with. In terms of features, Hyundai has really packed the Creta. The features on this SUV include 17 inch alloy wheels, a 6 speed automatic gearbox on the 1.6 diesel, a full complement of 6 airbags, a reverse parking camera, ABS+EBD, static cornering lamps, projector headlamps, daytime running LEDs, a push button start, keyless entry, a touchscreen infotainment interface with 1 Gb built in storage, traction control, hill hold assist, automatic climate control, electric wing mirrors, rear AC blower, leather clad interiors, and provision for child seats.

While prices are yet to be revealed, our bet is that the Creta’s prices would start from about the 8 lakh rupees mark, going all the way up to 12 lakh rupees. Essentially, the Creta will sit in between the Verna and the Elantra in terms of pricing. This SUV will be launched in India on the 21st of July 2015. Over to the drive now. 

So, how does the Hyundai Creta Drive?

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The short first drive happened on the South Korean automaker’s Irangattukottai test track, that is a part of the factory. I drove the 1.6 liter diesel engined manual and automatic variants of the compact SUV. The engine is a familiar unit, and is the same one that’s found on the Verna and the Elantra. With plenty of torque right off idle and well controlled turbo lag, the Hyundai Creta felt very peppy from word go.

The 6 speed manual transmission is a slick unit and the gear ratios are well spaced to make for swift progress. If you’re looking at outright pep, the Creta in diesel guise is likely to run rings around both the Ford Ecosport and the Renault Duster 110 PS Diesels. Initial impressions suggest that the Hyundai SUV that is likely to beat the Duster in both acceleration and top speeds.

Around the corners though, there’s plenty of body roll on the Creta, but it’s a Hyundai we’re talking about here. So, that was expected. What came as a welcome surprise though was the progressive electric power steering, which weighed up quite well at speeds while being very light at parking speeds. The steering offers much better feedback than other Hyundai cars sold here, and that’s one more brownie in the Creta’s favour. Braking is effective, with a progressive pedal feel, although we’ll need a longer drive to figure out the nuances.

Coming to the diesel automatic, the Creta gets the 6 speed torque converter unit found on the Elantra. This is a very smooth shifting unit that shifts at 4,200 rpm when given the stick. While being a generation ahead of the 4 speed torque converter automatic of the Verna, the 6 speed slush box on the Creta is still not as fast shifting as say a DSG. After a certain point, the Creta’s engine made more noise than any significant progress, and this is plainly due to the automatic gearbox sticking in a single gear for too long. So, the automatic variant is for those who want to drive gently and those who like convenience rather than outright pep. If you want pep, tick the manual gearbox option.

A quick word on the interiors of the Creta

We weren’t allowed to photograph the SUV, which explains why this drive hasn’t been documented with imagery. The interiors of the Creta reeks of quality, and is easily the segment best in terms of how the features look, and feel to the touch. The top-end variants get leather clad interiors, with contrast leather stitching on the doors, and that’s a very premium touch.

The seats are well bolstered and the automatic climate control did an appreciable job on a sunny Chennai afternoon. The SUV’s cabin is ergonomic with controls falling into hand easily. In terms of interior space, the front seats were comfortable places to be in. The rear is good for two adults while three is a squeeze. The rising windowline and the black interiors scheme makes thing a little claustrophobic for back seaters if three adults are squeezed into the rear.

Comparing the Creta’s interior volume to that of the Ecosport and the Duster, the Hyundai SUV leads the field when it comes to the rear seat legroom, but doesn’t feel as spacious as the Duster in terms of width. Overall, most buyers would be satisfied with the space on offer. On that note, the interior of the Creta is yet another winning effort from Hyundai.