Hyundai was an early bloomer within the SUV segment with the original Tucson, its ix35 successor and the current Tucson selling in large numbers. Now though, the brand has introduced a light crossover in the form of the Creta. I embarked on a road trip in the 1.6 CRDi automatic and discovered that it might just be the Hyundai SUV to have.
The looks of a vehicle seem to be an inherently subjective thing, so from my perspective at least, the Creta looks good. The familiar hexagonal grille and Hyundai corporate front-end, along with a sweeping side profile and raised rear-end, make for an attractive SUV.
Its dimensions make it compact enough to ensure that it’s not cumbersome to manoeuvre but also large enough to pull off a fairly imposing SUV pose, complete with the obligatory roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside the Creta is a fairly standard Hyundai affair with respectable levels of fit-and-finish, as well as a good deal of standard equipment.
Our test unit features the brand’s eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system which includes Bluetooth, iPod, Android Mirror-link and satellite navigation as some of its key features. I have to say that the system, although visually appealing, can be difficult to use and slow at times.
The rest of the interior proved to be a great feature-laden space in which to spend long hours on the road with a multi-function steering wheel to control vehicle functions and media, as well as enough room to seat four occupants of varying size comfortably.
The light grey/black two-tone leather seats might not be to all tastes though, while features such as cruise control and rather surprisingly, traction and stability control are not found within the Creta range.
Powering the model I received was a 1.6-litre CRDI turbodiesel motor with 94kW/260Nm on tap, mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. This makes for a fantastic combination with the gearbox getting through the first three cogs in quick succession, while offering longer ratios in the remaining trio.
This makes the diesel Creta quite an efficient companion, with my test unit returning a remarkable 6.4-litres/100km throughout its 1 200km stay. That’s considerably better than the 7.4-litres/100km claimed by Hyundai.
Other than efficiency, the Creta features an old-school diesel clatter and a relatively slow 0-100km/h time of 11.9 seconds despite showing respectable in-gear acceleration and enough torque for well-planned overtaking.
The powertrain, combined with a decent amount of cabin insulation and extensive work by Hyundai on the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels that enter the cockpit, makes the Creta an exceptionally easy and pleasant car to drive in most situations.
The suspension is an amalgamation of McPherson struts with a stabiliser bar and coil springs up front, along with a coupled torsion beam axle at the rear. This combined with the 190mm of ground clearance should make the Creta a fairly solid gravel road warrior. But, as previously noted, the lack of electronic aids might dissuade some from taking it through slippery conditions.
Personally, I didn’t even notice the lack of electronic aids, even on dirt roads, but as I’m sure many will argue, one only realises that these systems are needed when it’s already too late. If you’re concerned about safety, you’ll at least find some solace in the fact that the Creta comes with six airbags and ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) as standard.
For the reasonable sticker price of R369 900, you can have the top-of-the-range Creta. To put this into perspective, that is R10 000 less than its slightly larger Tucson 2.0 Premium sibling. You also get a five-year/150 000km warranty along with an additional two-year/50 000km drivetrain warranty, and a five-year/90 000km service plan as standard.