• slider image
  • slider image
  • Petrol motor smooth and refined but lacks diesel’s punchy...
    Petrol motor smooth and refined but lacks diesel’s punchy power delivery.
  • Cabin simple but very well detailed; quality is impressiv...
    Cabin simple but very well detailed; quality is impressive. Leather upholstery only on the top SX(O) trim.
1 / 0

Hyundai Creta review, road test

18th Sep 2015 2:16 pm

Read the Hyundai Creta review, road test from Autocar India; We put one of the year's most anticipated SUVs through the grind.

AD

  • Make : Hyundai
  • Model : Creta

Hyundai calls its all-new Creta ‘the perfect SUV’, which is a bold claim, especially since it competes in an extremely competitive swathe of the SUV market. It’s got all the right ingredients for sure: three engine options, manual and auto transmissions, a spacious, well-built cabin packed with equipment and, above all, proper SUV proportions – so essential in this segment. So, has Hyundai walked the talk? Any MasterChef contestant will tell you that it’s not just the best ingredients, but the right mix that serves up a winning recipe. Hence, the proof of this pudding is in the driving, which in this case is the full Autocar road test treatment.

The Creta’s urban-biased focus is evident in the way the suspension has been set up, which is on the softer side. The suspension works silently even on heavily rutted sections of road, and bump absorption too is right up there with some of the best riding cars in its class. It may not ride as flat as the Renault Duster, and on uneven surfaces, there’s a fair amount of vertical movement but it rarely becomes uncomfortable. Yes, sharp bumps filter through, and you hear the odd clunk from the suspension. It does feel a bit fragile but for the most part, especially at lower speeds, ride quality is excellent and Indian car buyers will like that.

The big surprise was the Creta’s steering, especially on the diesel variant. To begin with, it is light and easy to twirl, and what makes it better is the fact that it feels reasonably direct, with not as great a sense of vagueness around the straight-ahead position as you find in most Hyundai cars. Straight-line stability is good, and the steering weighs up nicely as you speed up too, but that weight does feel a bit artificial.

Unfortunately, the petrol Creta, with its lighter front, doesn’t inspire the same confidence as its diesel sibling. The steering, which seems to have been calibrated for the diesel, lacks weight and feels vague in comparison. As a result, you have to constantly make corrections even in a straight line at high speeds and the petrol doesn’t feel tied down to the road and further drives home the point that the Creta petrol is best used in urban confines.

Hyundai Creta
Hyundai Creta

Rs 11.21 lakh * on road price (New Delhi)

FIND OUT MORE

If there is one thing that Hyundai has got spot on, it’s the styling. The Creta’s design finely balances tough SUV cues with sleek lines to appeal to the modern SUV buyer and in this segment, where looks seriously matter, that’s more than half the battle won. The Creta’s stance, which is neither too high nor too low (ground clearance is 190mm), is again perfectly judged to attract both SUV and sedan buyers. And the top-spec diesel versions’ 17-inch alloys look fantastic.

Underpinning the Creta is an all-new platform (that uses modified bits from the Elantra) and a high-tensile steel body structure that is far more rigid than previous Hyundais, which bodes well for the overall dynamics and crash worthiness. The suspension is pretty standard with MacPherson struts in the front and a torsion beam at the rear, while wheel travel isn’t particularly generous by SUV standards.

Off-road enthusiasts will be disappointed that the Creta doesn’t have a 4x4 option, but the extra weight, complexity and cost of providing additional drive to the rear wheels is something Hyundai felt was a waste, especially since the Creta is aimed at a more car-oriented audience.

And unlike the distinct SUV exterior, car-oriented is what the Creta is like from behind the wheel. The jacked-up seating position is a bit negated by the high window line, especially at the rear where you get a distinct sunken-in feeling that is more sedan than SUV. Some amount of ‘theatre-style’ or raised seating at the rear would have been welcome, but the additional headroom needed would have fouled with the swooping roofline at the rear.

The seats themselves are more than generous. There’s no shortage of under-thigh support all round and the width of the squabs is great too. Driving the Creta for several hours, we did come away with the feeling that the cushioning is well-judged on the leather trim cars, but a bit too soft on versions with fabric seats. Also, the contoured rear seats have a pronounced bulge in the centre backrest which can make it uncomfortable for the middle passenger.

The Creta gets full marks for packaging. There’s hardly any wastage of space in the cabin and few SUVs in this class can accommodate five passengers and luggage as efficiently, with space left over for an assortment of storage bins. Only the automatic Creta’s rear seat splits 60:40, but you can still fold the other version’s seat in one piece to give a flat bed.

Cabin quality, as expected, is very good but it’s not perceptibly better than lesser Hyundais, which are superbly finished to begin with. The dashboard has some hard plastics and shiny bits, but the overall impression is that it’s well put together.

Equipment levels are a bit of a mixed bag with the top-end SX(O) trim only available on the 1.6-litre diesel manual. The 1.6 petrol and the 1.6 diesel auto get the one lower SX+ variant and that means no leather seats, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control or 17-inch wheels.

The top-end SX(O) variant also misses out on certain kit, which we’ve come to expect as standard in the fully loaded variant. Features like adjustable lumbar support, a more comprehensive trip computer (features like distance-to-empty and real time fuel consumption are missing) and rain-sensing wipers could have been thrown in.

The 1.6 diesel impresses immediately with its refinement and low noise levels; there’s just a muted clatter at idle and a dull drone when you rev the engine hard, which is barely disturbing.

Even more impressive is the performance of this 126bhp engine which, mated to a six-speed manual transmission, propels the Creta from rest to 100kph in a segment-best 10.8 seconds. The engine has a nice, broad torque spread that equates to effortless driving in any situation. The Creta is seriously quick on the highway, with an ability to overtake fast sedans whilst in the city, it’s responsive enough to keep ahead of the traffic with minimal gearshifts. There is a distinct bit of turbo lag below 1,700rpm but it’s not that the Creta feels dead or sluggish below this point but picks up speed in a more gradual way.

The Creta’s gearing is on the tall side but the ratios are well spaced out, so with each upshift, the revs fall to the meat of the powerband. In fact, you begin to like using the gearbox which feels more smooth than precise to extract the most out of the engine. But it’s not an engine that likes to be revved too hard and although it spins to 5100 rpm, it’s best not to push it beyond 4,000rpm.

In-gear performance is a touch blunted by the tall gearing but the 20-80kph slog in third gear is still despatched in a brisk 11.52 seconds.

However, it’s the automatic version of the 1.6 diesel Creta which is Hyundai’s ace. Firstly, it comes at a time when the only other choice is the rudimentary Scorpio AT but more importantly, the six-speed torque converter works surprisingly well.

The Creta’s auto ’box may feel a bit old-school at first with leisurely gearshifts but it’s very smooth and masks the engine’s turbo lag really well. It’s best to drive the Creta auto with a relaxed right foot to which the gearbox responds predictably and upshifts early to get you in the highest gear possible.
Use a heavy foot and there’s a bit of delay before the gearbox responds but keep the throttle pedal pinned down and the Creta seamlessly surges forward and before you know it, you are doing some serious speeds. In fact, the Creta auto’s 0-100kph time of 11.53seconds is impressive in its own right and makes it a good highway car as well.

The automatic is really good about town, especially in bumper to bumper or stop and go traffic where the torque converter and tall gearing allow the Creta to creep smartly before picking up speed. In fact, it’s the smoothness of the transmission at low speeds which makes the Creta auto a brilliant city car. Unlike a twin-clutch gearbox which feels a bit clunky at low speed, the Creta’s conventional slush ’box nicely slurs from one ratio to another.

The 1.6 petrol is a capable city car as well. The 121bhp 1591cc engine is smooth and unfussed and responds well to part-throttle inputs. There’s no hesitation at low speeds and the petrol Creta is quite quick off the mark, which makes it feel at home on a busy road.

However, ask more from the petrol motor and the first thing that gets exposed is its rather weak mid-range. You have to rev hard to get it to perform and when you’re in a hurry, you’ll be visiting the 6600rpm rev limiter more often than you would like. The engine’s lack of torque in comparison to the diesel is immediately obvious and you don’t need to study the in-gear times to know that (manual diesel Creta is 2.5 seconds faster in the 20-80kph third gear run).

The Creta petrol trails behind the diesel by nearly two seconds in the 0-100kph dash which further drives home the point that the Creta petrol is not particularly sporty or scintillating to drive. It’s not a great highway muncher and feels most at ease around town. In fact, given the fuel efficiency of the Creta petrol, it makes sense to use it for short runs. It’s fairly thirsty, sipping a litre for every 9.5km covered in the city which gets stretched to 14.5 on the highway.

The diesel Creta is naturally far more frugal and returned 12.5 and 17.5kpl for the city and highway cycles, respectively. The Creta diesel auto was not as frugal but its efficiency of 11.5 and 16.5kpl for the same city and highway cycles doesn’t diminish its practicality.

Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


Tell us what you think.