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Move over Duster, Hyundai Creta will soon scorch Indian roads

July 02, 2015 11:49 IST

The Hyundai Creta is practical, spacious, comfortable and feature loaded, making it an ideal package that most buyers look out for in the SUV segment, finds out Indian motoring website MotorBeam.

Creta, Hyundai India's maiden offering in the affordable SUV space is being watched keenly. Having built a strong brand name for itself with back-to-back successful products, the initial buzz is positive for the compact SUV that might help get the numbers. However, does it move as good as it sounds? MotorBeam was invited to Hyundai's Chennai facility to take the Creta around its test track and here are our first impressions of the automaker's newest offering.

Already on sale in China as the ix25, Hyundai Creta isn't radically different. The front fascia sports a three-slat hexagonal grille done up in chrome and is flanked by swept back headlights with projector headlamps, LED DRLs and static bending lights. The side profile looks sharp with the edgy and receding window line, while the rear gets wraparound tail lights.

There is a chrome bar added on the tailgate that helps break the plain appearance of the rear. Unlike Duster, Creta isn't muscular in proportions but gets a more urban and classy look. At 4,270 mm in length, the compact SUV is large and has road presence, which translates into better cabin space.

The Hyundai Creta gets a dual tone dashboard finished in beige and black that looks a bit ‘plasticky’. Nonetheless, the cabin feels well put together and offers generous space with sufficient cushioning at the front and rear seats along with good back and thigh support. Even a 6-footer will be accommodated with ease.

For the top-end SX(O) variant, the Creta gets a 7-inch touchscreen AVN unit with 6 speakers, 1 GB internal memory storage, traction control and leather seats, which are missed out on other versions. You also get a smart key, push button start, electrically folding ORVMs, rear AC vents, reverse camera among others. The distance to empty feature is still given a miss on the new Hyundai.

The Hyundai Creta is being offered with 3 engine options, shared with the Verna. Petrol power comes from a 1.6-litre VTVT unit that produces 123 PS, paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox and will power the base variants. The diesel models though will be the volume pullers and include the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre CRDi engines. The 1.4 produces 90 PS and 220 Nm of torque, while the 1.6 mill with VGT belts out 128 PS and 260 Nm of torque. Both motors come paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox while the latter also gets a segment first 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Having driven the 1.6 diesel in manual and automatic guise, the motor emerges as smooth with a strong mid-range. The automatic feels quite capable for city use but comes with a bit of lag, especially during up-shifts. The manual though is a lot more driver-friendly and lets you make the most out of the engine's ‘torque nature’. The Creta gets an extremely light clutch with shorter travel making it effortless to drive. In terms of dynamics, the compact SUV handles quite well for its size and the steering feels better than Elite i20's, light at low speeds and weighs up decently at triple digit speeds. It still isn't feedback-rich though.

Body roll is well contained on the Hyundai Creta but the suspension is on the softer side. The ride quality felt good at the front and rear, but considering we drove on smooth tarmac, it is hard to judge as of now. In terms of braking performance, the Creta comes with front disc and rear drum brakes that do their job well and the SUV does the 100-0 km/hr halt sans any drama. This is also ensured courtesy of a host of electronic aids including ABS, ESC, VSM and HAC. In terms of safety, the top trim gets six airbags (dual front airbags on other trims) and there are restraint points for a child seat.

Our first impressions of the Hyundai Creta are quite positive. The compact SUV looks promising with the premium looking aesthetics while the first in segment diesel automatic will surely attract a lot of buyers. Compared to the i20 Active, the Creta feels a lot more like an SUV and fills the slot well in Hyundai's lineup. At an estimated Rs. 16 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) for the range-topping trim, the Hyundai Creta is all set to hit the market aggressively and will surely give the Renault Duster some sleepless nights.

Photographs: MotorBeam