What is it?
Think the Hyundai Creta with the 1.6-litre diesel engine is on the pricier side? Well, then this version could be of interest to you. It’s the Creta with the smaller, less powerful 1.4-litre diesel engine from the i20 hatchback. It may be down on power and down on features to its more powerful sibling, but it is cheaper to buy and that is its calling card. Question is, does the Creta 1.4 come across as a compromise or does it manage to deliver all that we like about Hyundai’s popular SUV in a less
The 1.4-diesel version is available in the lower three of the six trim levels the Creta is available in, which means it runs on smaller 16-inch tyres, does not feature projector headlamps and the body does with less chrome detailing too. The Creta is a smart looking SUV, no doubt, but in 1.4 form, it does look like a lesser version, so to speak.
The feeling is less so on the inside, largely thanks to the good standard of fit and finish in the dual tone cabin. Base-spec Creta’s as the one pictured here do with just the very basics though, impressively – dual airbags, ABS, power windows and rear air-con vents are standard across the range. There’s no automatic climate control on any 1.4 trim level, but the mid-level S version does get electrically adjustable outside rearview mirrors, a touchscreen infotainment system, steering-mounted audio controls and a height adjustable driver’s seat. Top S+ models additionally feature alloy wheels, navigation and a reverse camera.
The Creta’s car-like cabin is roomy and the spacious seats can accommodate five adults in comfort. It’s practical too and gets loads of cup and bottleholders and storage spaces for your phone and other knick-knacks. Even though the 402-litre boot is not the biggest in class, it’s well-shaped, and hence easy to use.
What’s it like to drive?
As mentioned, the 1.4-litre engine is the same unit that powers the smaller Hyundai i20. Its 90hp output may seem insufficient for a big vehicle like the Creta, however, it produces sufficient torque and performance is actually not bad. It is expectantly slower to 100kph from a standstill taking 13 seconds (2.4 seconds more than the Creta 1.6) but performance is acceptable.
Power delivery here, though, isn’t as linear as on the 1.6 engine. The engine feels a touch sluggish at low revs and only comes into its element at about 1,900rpm or so. What’s nice however, is that the strong mid-range allows you to move forward quite smartly. And it is this strong kick of torque that makes it very useable on an everyday basis. What does make a big difference is that Hyundai has smartly opted to use a six-speed gearbox, and this goes some way in utilising the limited power better.
Typical to diesel cars from Hyundai, refinement levels are good and the cabin kept well-insulated from the engine’s clatter and it isn't too noisy even when you spin the engine all the way to the redline. The smaller, lighter engine relieves the front end of some weight and correspondingly there’s a reasonable amount of steering feel on offer here. The ride is similar to the 1.6-litre engined car and it tackles bumps and broken roads quite nicely. Yes, sharper bumps do filter through and you hear the occasional thud, but overall, the Creta 1.4 rides quite well.
In fact, the pleasant ride, light clutch, smooth-shifting gearbox and well-weighted steering along with the high seating position make the Creta 1.4 quite an easy car to drive in the city.
Should I buy one?
The Creta 1.4 may not excel when you talk pure performance numbers and it might feel out of its comfort zone on the highway too, but as a city car, it works fine. Like the other Cretas, the 1.4 diesel scores well on ease of use and at the price point it's offered at comes across as a practical option for urban SUV buyers on a tight budget. The Base spec car (Rs 9.99 lakh – ex-showroom, Delhi) is too basic but the mid-spec S version at Rs 11.12 lakh is reasonable value. However, bring the S+ version (Rs 12.11 lakh) into the picture and prices suddenly venture into Creta 1.6 territory. In fact, the Creta 1.6 SX that costs Rs 12.37 lakh is not only more powerful than the 1.4 but also comes with more features like projector headlamps, LED position lights and automatic climate control. Was it our money, we’d spend the additional Rs 26,000 and go for the superior Creta 1.6.