The adage that variety is the spice of life continues to ring true in the automotive world, particularly in the crossover and SUV markets, which continue to grow as more people choose these over conventional hatches and sedans.
A recent entrant to the B-segment crossover market is the Hyundai Creta, the Korean company’s answer to the likes of the Ford Ecosport, Honda HR-V, Kia Soul, Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Opel Mokka X and the recently launched Toyota C-HR. The segment is arguably oversubscribed, but the bonus for buyers is that they are spoilt for choice.
Also, with so many rivals, manufacturers have to continuously find a trump card to stand out. Having reviewed the segment offerings, I feel the Creta — like a little brother of the Tuscon, in that it shares design elements and finishes — may have just that card.
Styling, in my view, is more i20 wearing platform shoes, with the Creta having a 190mm ground clearance. The cabin is well laid out with good fit and finish and a comprehensive list of standard equipment.
The new eight-inch touchscreen interface does much to elevate the cabin ambience and the system itself is a cinch to operate.
However, I did find the radio station menu still obstructs the navigation menu, which made destination inputs rather tedious. Nonetheless, the navigation’s voice guidance itself was clear and concise.
Space is good, particularly in the rear where head and leg room are generous. Boot space measures a credible 400-litre, which is 113-litre down on the larger Tucson. The leather seats are fairly comfortable and have good scope for adjustment, particularly in relation to the steering wheel, which has good reach adjustment. As a result finding a comfortable seating position was a doddle.
The engine offers good performance and fuel consumption (we averaged 7.1l/100km), but it was not as refined as the Tuscon’s 1.7-litre turbodiesel. That said, the Creta’s engine still pulls with gusto and the VGT (variable geometry turbo), which varies boost depending on throttle input, ensures there is minimal turbo lag.
Power is rated at 94kW and 260Nm, the latter available from a slightly high 2 750rpm.
Shifting through a six-speed automatic gearbox, the first three gears are for quick acceleration while the latter are mainly for maintaining low engine revs once on the move. The automatic gearbox is, in fact, the trump card as it is the only diesel automatic in its class.
On the road the car was comfortable and easy to manoeuvre around town and in tight shopping-mall spaces. The rear park assist, with a camera that projects the image onto the infotainment system, made parking a pleasure.
While the ride quality was good on flat roads, it did become choppy when negotiating urban speed bumps due to the slightly short wheelbase of 2 590mm.
Safety ranks highly on the model’s specification sheet, with the regular ABS and EBD complemented by no less than six airbags in our model on test.
But I was rather disappointed with the fact that the rear middle seat only comes with a lap belt, which is an oversight on Hyundai’s part.
At R369 900 for the flagship model on test, it might seem overpriced. However, when you look at the size of the vehicle and the standard specifications on offer — not to mention the punchy turbodiesel engine — the Creta is a solid buy compared to the entry-level Tucson.
The larger vehicle starts at R379 900 and has a slightly lower specification sheet, a less powerful yet thirstier engine and it doesn’t have the handy automatic transmission.
Of course, you could opt for a cheaper variant in the Creta line-up with a starting price of R319,900, but if you are looking for above-average specification and performance, the turbodiesel variant is highly recommended. It proved to be a great package. – Lerato Matebese
Fast Facts: Hyundai Creta 1.6 Executive Diesel
Engine: 1582cc four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power: 94kW at 400orpm
Torque: 260Nm at 2750rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual
0-100km/h: 11.9-seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 179km/h (claimed)
Fuel: 7.4l/100km (claimed combined)
Price: From R369 900