2020 Hyundai Creta: First Drive Review
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There are huge expectations from the brand-new Hyundai Creta. Does it live up to the hype?
The Creta is the most important car to Hyundai. It has been a runaway success and for a car that costs well in excess of Rs 10 lakh, to sell almost 10,000 units every month over the last six years is just incredible. With ever growing competition, Hyundai has finally come out with a brand new Creta that promises to be more premium and a new class benchmark. Prices have gone up too but so has the feature list. So is the new Hyundai Creta once again the car to beat in its segment?
In terms of size, the new Creta is longer and wider than the old SUV but it is 30mm shorter than before. Like the recently launched Hyundai Aura, the new Creta’s design will receive mixed reactions from the crowd. In pursuit of trying to make the Creta as attractive as possible, Hyundai’s designers have gone a bit overboard, especially with the nose and tail. Up front, you get a massive hexagonal grille that is outlined by a chrome strip that looks a tad too shiny. Then you have the ice cube three element LED headlamps that look stylish with the LED DRLs sitting on top of them. The turn indicators are placed lower down in the fog lamp casing. But unlike its Kia cousin and biggest rival, the Kia Seltos, which gets LED fog lamps, the Creta makes do with halogen bulbs.
Compared to the front, the rear design is even more dramatic. There is excess of everything - creases, bulges and even the tail lamps are unique. The bulging boot section makes the rear look muscular and the black strip that connects the tail lamps help the Creta look unique. In profile, however, there is some relief, as the new Creta’s silhouette looks clean. The flared wheel arches add some muscle and the sloping roofline makes it look stylish. The alloy wheel design on the diesel car is the usual Hyundai affair - sharply cut and sporty.
But surprisingly the sportier turbo petrol version gets simpler looking grey alloys. This variant also gets a ‘Turbo’ badge at the rear and the option of a black roof with this red exterior colour car. Overall, the Creta’s design does grow on you, but compared to the classy Seltos, it does look a bit gimmicky.
Compared to the exterior, the new Creta’s cabin looks a lot more sober and mature. The dash design is conventional and easy on the eye. You get a well-defined V-shaped centre console with the high-res 10.25-inch display taking centre stage. The instrumentation looks futuristic thanks to the large TFT screen that shows you loads of information including speed, trip and tyre pressures. This display is flanked by analogue dials for the tachometer and the fuel gauge, but they are extremely small and hard to read. When it comes to quality, the new Creta is a step up compared to the old car but you do find some cheap bits. For example, the speaker grille on top of the dash could have been better finished and even the plastics around the climate control and gear selector look a bit too plain. Then there is the fake stitching on the dashboard which you dont expect on a car at this price, but thankfully you won’t find it anywhere else in the cabin.
In terms of interior colour options, you get an all-black cabin if you choose the 1.4-litre turbo petrol variants, while on the diesel, you get a two-tone beige-and-black theme. The front seats on the Creta are large and accommodating and even the cushioning is spot-on. You get an 8-way powered driver seat which makes finding an ideal driving position easy. But a glaring omission is the fact that the steering adjusts only for height and not reach (no telescopic adjust) which is something that you expect on a car that costs almost Rs 20 lakh.
The rear seats too are comfortable with a good amount of shoulder room and knee room. Hyundai has also scooped out the back portion of the seat base which not only generates more headroom but also gives more underthigh support. What makes the rear seat experience even better is the massive panoramic sunroof which makes for an extremely airy cabin. You also get rear window sunblinds and an adjustable two-step backrest at the rear. The wide bench is good enough for three people too. Surprisingly, Hyundai hasn't given an adjustable headrest for the centre passenger which the Seltos offers.
There are loads of storage spaces in the Creta’s cabin and they are thoughtfully designed too. The cupholders behind the gear lever are of two different sizes, which makes it great to hold either a big water bottle or a coffee cup snugly. Even the door pockets are big and the glovebox too is deep. The boot size is big enough but isnt class leading. You get 433 litres of space and the luggage bay is well shaped. You also get a 60:40 split folding rear seat for added convenience.
Technology and Features
In the top variants we have on test, the Creta comes loaded with features. You get LED headlamps, LED DRLs, and LED tail lamps. Even the lower variants of the Creta are offered with bi-functional halogen projector headlamps. For convenience, you get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, electronic parking brake, cooled front seats, paddle shifters for the automatic variants, and an air purifier. You also get automatic headlamps but surprisingly auto wipers have been given a miss.
The 2020 Creta gets connected car tech. The Blue Link system allows owners to track their car, set up geo-fencing, and even remotely operate the engine. This feature is present even on the manual variant, albeit in the top-spec SX(O). The electronic parking brake, a feature present in the Creta, is required for remote engine start in the manual variant.
Like the Seltos, the new Hyundai Creta has two petrol and one diesel engine option. On this test, we have the diesel manual and the turbo-petrol automatic. Displacing 1353cc, the turbocharged petrol motor is the same that you get on the Kia Seltos, producing an identical 140PS and 242Nm of torque. The high tech motor is coupled to an equally modern 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Unlike the Seltos, the Creta’s turbo-petrol variant isn’t offered with a manual gearbox option.
If you want to buy a fast Creta, then you will really like this turbo-petrol version. As soon as you step on the accelerator pedal, the motor is quick to respond and it feels peppy from the word go. Peak torque comes in at a low 1500rpm and past that, the mid-range is pretty strong and the engine will pull happily to its 6000rpm redline as well. The new Creta gets three driving modes: ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Eco’. In ‘Normal’ or ‘Eco’, the gearbox is programmed to upshift at the earliest, maximising fuel efficiency, whereas in ‘Sport’, it will stay in the lowest gear possible. In ‘Eco’ or ‘Normal’ mode, the Creta has more than enough power and the engine also feels the smoothest in these modes. In ‘Sport’ mode, the gearbox becomes enthusiastic and holds onto higher gears, but it also makes the throttle response a lot more jerky. This makes driving smoothly at low speeds almost impossible. In our performance tests, the Creta surprisingly posted its fastest runs in ‘Normal’ mode. This is mainly because in this mode, the gearbox short shifts and stays in the meat of the power band. On our timing gear, the Creta registered a 0-100kmph time of 9.4 seconds. Thanks to the quick gearbox, even the in-gear times were brisk. While the engine is very quiet and smooth at low speeds or when you’re cruising, it does get a bit thrummy after 4000rpm and it isn’t as smooth as say a four-pot TSI motor in VW and Skoda cars.
The diesel engine on the other hand is the same as the old car, albeit it is slightly downsized and is now BS6 compliant. This 1.5 litre motor makes 115PS of power, which is 13PS down on the old engine, but while driving you hardly notice this fact. From the get-go, this engine impresses in terms of refinement and smoothness. There is very little turbo lag, which means gear shifts are kept to a minimum. This makes the Creta diesel-manual a stress-free car to drive in the city. Even out on the highway, the punchy nature of this engine makes overtaking easy and thanks to the tall gearring, it cruises in a relaxed manner too. The light clutch and slick gearbox makes your life even easier. In our performance tests, the Creta diesel registered decent times. In the 0-100kmph run, it took 12.24 seconds, which is a bit longer than the old car. But thanks to the good drivability, in-gear times were actually much better, with 30-80kmph in third taking 6.85s seconds.
Ride and Handling
The real sense of plushness in the new Creta comes from its suspension setup. At town speeds the Creta simply excels thanks to its absorbent low speed ride, delivered despite the large 17-inch wheels. Well-judged spring rates help this compact SUV feel supple yet well controlled. Even over rutted surfaces, the suspension has surprisingly good level of crash-free bump absorption as you don’t feel most imperfections. Yes, there is some firmness at low speeds but it never gets to the point of feeling uncomfortable. Even at higher speeds, the Creta shows good composure and this makes it a soothing highway companion. The car also does an excellent job of cutting out road noise and combined with the silent suspension, the Creta feels plush and comfortable most of the time.
Where the old car used to feel sloppy and a bit nervous at high speeds, the new Creta feels rock solid and straight-line stability is really good. Even when you show it a set of corners, the Creta changes direction quite eagerly, but it isn’t particularly engaging to drive. The steering is smooth and accurate but is merely a tool for pointing the front wheels and there is a fair bit of body roll too.
The new Creta is offered in five variants with automatic options being reserved for the higher-spec SX and SX(O) variants only. For those on a budget, the base-spec EX variant offers good value, especially since it gets a decent amount of features as standard. For a detailed explanation of the variants, check out our variants explained article. Hyundai is offering a comprehensive 3-year/unlimited kilometers warranty that can be extended upto five years.
Hyundai has given the new 2020 Creta a good bouquet of safety features. The top-spec variant gets six airbags, although all other variants make do with just two. Then you have the usual ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors, which are standard on all variants. Other active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management control (VSM) and Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) come only in the SX and the top-of-the-line SX(O) variants. Anchor points for child seats and disc brakes for the rear wheels are also present in these two variants only, while rear parking camera comes only on the S, SX, and SX(O) variants.
The Hyundai Creta is clearly an impressive compact SUV. It is spacious, comfortable, loaded with features, easy to drive and offered with powerful petrol and diesel engine options. Compared to the old car, it is a huge upgrade, both in terms of drive and feel. It does have some shortcomings like the polarising design or the lack of features like front parking sensors and telescopic adjust for the steering. But other than that, it is hard to fault the Hyundai Creta and it comes across as a well rounded product. So will the Creta once again become a segment leader? To know the answer, stay tuned to CarDekho as the Creta vs Seltos comparison will go live soon!