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Hyundai Creta SX(O)MT Diesel

Hyundai Creta SX(O)MT Diesel

Four decades and just four generations old, the Range Rover is a kind of Duesenberg of its time, only more influential. Not only did it give rise to a whole new class of car in the SUV, it also remains, on balance, at the head of the pack it spawned.

In the 4.4 SDV8 oiler we have the middle variant amid three engine options, bookended by the base TDV6 diesel and JLR’s 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8. There are four trim levels: HSE (V6 diesel only), Vogue (V6 or V8 diesel), Vogue SE (V8 diesel or supercharged V8 petrol) and Autobiography (ditto).

So the Vogue SE we have here sits upper-middle in the range. The ask is big at $217,100 (plus on-road costs), but relative to its market, so is the offering.

The cockpit is a subtle update, retaining the virtual gauges of the thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument panel, the mega-multifunction steering wheel with its layered switchgear, the Terrain Response dial on the console and the signature gearshift knob that rises from its recess in the console at a press of the start button.

Still there, too, is the familiar dual-view centre screen, allowing the passenger to watch TV or a DVD while the driver stays with navigation and touchscreen controls. In support is an excellent 825-watt Meridian audio package.

Neat luxe touches abound — the logo-typed puddle lighting, for example and the wireless headphones all round. Our test vehicle’s optional console fridge proved big enough for several decent sized flasks.

The console switch that drops the suspension to assist with entry and exit is more gimmick than real help — it’s a long way up and down regardless. Indoors it’s light, spacious and airy — you’d be hard pressed to find better than the tri-zone climate control.

Everything, but everything, is electric; down to the rear seat recline/fold mechanisms, the soft-closing doors, both halves of the two-piece tailgate and the 18-way adjustment for the heated and cooled front seats.

Few city limos come this well equipped.

Not surprisingly, then, it’s also complex. It can get a bit fiddly learning the wheel and touchscreen controls, but all up it’s an excellent HMI considering what’s asked of it.

A little extra wheelbase shows up in a small improvement in rear legroom. That said, I had a couple of adult passengers who noted that this isn’t a high point for a vehicle of its size. Elsewhere, space and storage are abundant, with nice big pockets (open and lidded) in the doors, and 909 litres of cargo space astern (with a full sized alloy beneath) before you fold the rear seats forward.

The real changes, though, are underneath and out of sight, and they give this generation of Rangie a very different feel to its predecessor.

On the road, a 420kg weight reduction pays off not just in reduced thirst (down about 8 per cent) and emissions (down more than 10 per cent) but in handling. Helped by a ground-up redesign of the air suspension, it feels altogether better planted, less top-heavy. While its air suspension ensures it’ll never bother Lotus, it corners with huge confidence and grip and admirably little body roll for a 2.3-tonne wardrobe.

Land Rover has tweaked the 4.4-litre V8 diesel for a 20kW power boost to 250kW; peak torque remains at 700Nm but cuts in a little higher. No matter — it carves a full second off its predecessor’s 0-100km/h time, down to 6.9 seconds. There are cheaper Germans and Jeeps that’ll beat that, but they won’t touch its mix of sheer interior luxury and offroad prowess.

With help from the jumping castle down below, the seamless ZF eight-speed transmission and loads of insulation, the interior sequesters you from the elements like a bunker, save for a little wind noise at speed around the A-pillars and wing mirrors.

Complaints? No $200K car should want for cruise control braking. In fact no such vehicle should want for full adaptive cruise, at a time when Volkswagen bundles it for $1300 in a $25K Golf. Yet here it’s a $3240 option…

Speaking about rough, the suspension redesign pays off in extra ground clearance (an extra 17mm takes it up to a maximum 303mm) and benchmark vertical wheel travel (260mm front and 310mm rear). Putting those to the test on a couple of trails, we lost our nerve well before our car did.

The Terrain Response system lets you dial up a suspension preset for most conditions — mud, sand, snow, rocks etc. — or you can set it to auto and forget it. Not having the bravura one needs to take $200K’s worth of rolling state room into terrain this car is known to lick, we stuck with the auto setting and decided to take Land Rover’s word on the extra 200mm of wading depth, now up to 900mm. And on the claims of 3500kg braked towing weight.

After driving the two back to back, I’d pick the SDV8 quick smart over the snappier but costlier and thirstier supercharged petrol V8. The Rangie is so well insulated from its own power it’s hard to tell the difference, even acoustically.

This is a car that lives in its own win-win ecosystem. Few owners will ever push the undercarriage to its limits offroad, but it’s an elegant performer on tar and those who don’t venture off it can as easily rationalise the spend on what they get inside.

Quite simply, a doozy.

Body SUV
Kilometers Done 45000
Fuel type Diesel
Year 2015
Transmission Manual
Drive FWD
Exterior Color Pearl White
Interior Color Beige
14.2
city mpg
21.4
hwy mpg
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Hyundai Creta SX(O)MT Diesel

As mentioned in our earlier review, the Creta looks the part of what insiders like to call a ‘mini Santa Fe’, with its Fluidic Design neatly integrating with a Storm Edge-inspired front fascia.

The front, side and rear-quarter angles are clearly the defining aspects of the Creta, while the full-rear view appears a bit bland, the chrome registration plate enclosure (an India-specific change over the ix25) not helping that much either.

In the look and feel aspect, Hyundai have done a great job in executing the cabin of the Creta. The dual-tone dashboard is yet another India-specific change commissioned by HMIL, though we feel an all-black dashboard could have been offered as an option as well.

The dashboard of the Creta is neatly laid out with clear-to-read instruments and well-appointed plastics. As we highlighted in our preview, the Creta offers a feel-good experience right from the time you open the vault-like doors, and feel the leather-padded door armrests, the contrast stitching that accompanies it, the general quality of materials used and so forth: Basically, Hyundai have paid good attention to detail, what is otherwise ignored in this segment.

The SX (O) gets perforated leather seats, while other variants get fabric upholstery. The compact SUV scores rather well on seat comfort, with both the front and rear offering adequate support for your back and thighs.

What also becomes evident is that at no time do you find yourself complaining about the space on offer. Put a six-footer up front, and a similarly-sized adult will have no problems seated behind them; the rear legroom is the first place to look at if you wish to compare the Creta to the sub-4 meter EcoSport.

Coming to the boot, the Creta offers luggage carrying capacity of 402 liters with all seats in place. The Creta AT is the only variant to get a 60:40 split-folding rear seat, as other models get a single-piece rear seatback.

Still, sitting inside the Creta, you do feel like you’re in a car which costs Rs 13 lakhs, no doubt about that. That being said, a few features could have been included to make the package more complete. Features we thought were missing include cruise control, rake adjustment for the steering wheel, a fore-and-aft adjustable front center armrest, automatic day/night rear view mirror (considering even the i20 comes with this), split-folding rear seats on the MT variants, and lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat.

The Creta comes with three engine options of which we sampled two – the 1.6-liter diesel and petrol variants.

The 1.6L Creta diesel packs 128 PS and 265 Nm of torque, identical to the Verna with which it shares engines. However, engineers have calibrated this motor to match a sportier driving nature, which clearly showed within the first four gearshifts of our drive.

Outright performance feels marginally better than the Verna diesel, in that the Creta is more free-revving, and mid-range punch is more pronounced than the sedan. Post 2,000 rpm is where this engine really comes alive, with a steady wave of torque briskly helping you pile on the speed.

Even off-boost, the Creta feels marginally quicker than a Verna, and is very comfortable doing 20 km/h in third gear, or 40 km/h in fourth.

Where this engine really shines though is on the highway, where it has no problems holding on to speeds north of 100 km/h, with the engine noise barely making its way into the cabin. Did we forget to mention that the NVH aspect, like other Hyundai products, is best by a country mile? For reference, the Creta ticks about 2,000 rpm while cruising at 100 km/h in 6th gear.

It is with this aspect – that the Creta feels extremely comfortable on the highways – that we feel Hyundai should have included cruise control, at least on this engine variant.

The 6-speed box feels slick to use, and the clutch is much lighter than what you get on a Renault Duster. However, we felt the clutch travel to be a shade on the longer side, which is more of something to get used to than something of a complaint.

For those looking out to give the clutch pedal a miss, the 1.6-litre diesel variant of the Creta also gets a 6-speed automatic transmission. Simply put, this gearbox likes to be driven in an unhurried way, and seems to have been tuned for cruising and urban driving conditions specifically. Yes, it does feel a bit slow for the enthusiast, but for the sort of buyer it is aimed at (one who is looking at ease of use), the 6-speed auto does a fine job.

While it does come with a manual tip-tronic mode, we found it best to leave it in full auto mode, where upshifts usually occur at the 2,000 rpm mark.

Coming to the petrol engine, which is expected to account for a minor percentage of sales. Again, the engine is shared with the Verna, and is the 1.6-liter Dual VTVT motor with 123 PS and 151 Nm of torque, but on the Creta it gets a 6-speed manual transmission.

The positive attributes of this engine are its NVH characteristics – it’s extremely smooth, the noise is well controlled and vibrations are non-existent. Sadly, things go downhill from here as this engine struggles to pull the Creta with any excitement.

With three people on board and the boot filled to 80 percent capacity, we found ourselves working extra hard on the gearshifts to get a move-on. The torque band of this engine is narrow – between 2,500-4,500 rpm is where this engine works best. In-gear acceleration even at speeds from 80 km/h in 5th gear feels very slow, and an overtaking maneuver almost always requires shifting down one or two gears.

The only takeaway is that the gearshifts feel very smooth as does the clutch. If you’re confident that you’ll be driving in an unhurried manner, and your monthly mileage makes no sense for a diesel vehicle, the Creta petrol is worth a look. Else, we wouldn’t really recommend it.

Hyundai have actually achieved a well chosen balance between ride and handling, wherein the former is obviously given greater importance, but like other Hyundai products, the latter doesn’t take a back seat.

The McPherson strut at the front gets a Hydro Rebound Stopper for reduced rebound shocks, while the coupled torsion beam axle at the rear was re-engineered for Indian road conditions for better ride quality.

Ride quality on the Creta is comfortable to say the least in city driving conditions, and we found the SX (O) with the 17-inch alloys to be a bit more comfortable over bad roads. As speeds increase, the suspension shows its stiffer side, which brings us to the handling of the Creta, what we think is the best handling Hyundai in the country.

Body roll is evident, but well controlled for a compact SUV, and we’re happy to report that there are no nasty surprises in store. The ‘HIVE’ body structure, what is basically composed of high-strength materials for increased stiffness of the body shell, came to light on the twisty road sections of Aamby Valley:

The compact SUV feels stiffer and more confident in taking a corner than any other Hyundai product we have sampled. However, the Renault Duster is still the benchmark in the ride and handling department, the Creta hasn’t stolen that crown just as yet.

The steering on the Creta feels a bit artificial, but again, is a marked improvement over other Hyundais. For the sort of family buyer it is aimed at, this balance between ride and handling should do just fine.

All variants of the Creta get ABS with EBD as standard. On the SX (O), the Creta offers side and curtain airbags, VSM, ESC and Hill Assist Control in addition. Also, the HIVE body shell which features 5 roof cross memebers, a dual underbody load path and a ring structure design is claimed to offer improved cabin protection.

Braking is one of the strong points of the Creta, which does without rear discs but stays sure-footed nonetheless under hard braking. Taking into consideration that our drive took place under heavy rains, with slippery roads being dime-a-dozen, the Creta certainly never made us lose confidence.

HMIL claims that the Creta will achieve 15.29 km/l (petrol), 19.67 km/l (1.6L diesel MT) and 17.01 km/l (AT) according to ARAI-tested figures.

For the number aficionados, here are the dimensions of the Creta: It measures 4,270 mm in length, 1,780 mm in width, 1,630 mm in height, 2,590 mm in wheelbase and 190 mm in ground clearance. The SX (O) variant, exclusive to the 1.6-liter diesel MT variant, gets 17-inch alloy wheels, whereas other models make do with 16-inch ones.

Body SUV
Kilometers Done 45000
Fuel type Diesel
Year 2015
Transmission Manual
Drive FWD
Exterior Color Pearl White
Interior Color Beige
14.2
city mpg
21.4
hwy mpg
Financing calculator
Vehicle price (₹ )
Interest rate (%)
Period (month)
Down Payment (₹ )
Calculate
Monthly Payment
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