CRETA ROLLS IN: Hyundai's new Creta could become the next crossover of choice in SA. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
Kleinmond - Hyundai South Africa is confident that its new Creta crossover will be a hit amongst South Africa's best-sellers.
It's not that the Creta is a more affordable - and slightly smaller - than its popular Tucson sibling, but because of the perceivable value for money the new crossover offers.
The Creta has already launched in other parts of the world during 2016 and proved to be a success. In India, for example, Hyundai sells 10 000 Creta units per month, while Hyundai SA aims to sell around 400 per month.
Game on, as the automaker expands its local line-up.
Design and spec
The Creta will not win any prizes for 2017’s prettiest or sexiest vehicle, but it does exude a sense of maturity, despite being the smallest SUV in the Hyundai range. At the front it has a very upright stance to give it somewhat of a presence on the road.
Compared to the Tucson, the Creta's ground clearance is also slightly higher (190mm vs. 172mm), which makes it more at home on gravel.
READ: Here's how much the new 2017 Hyundai Creta will cost in SA
Three derivatives are available, though all available in the same Executive specification. Hyundai has equipped its Creta with cornering headlights, 16” alloy wheels, air vents for rear passengers, rear parking sensors and a reverse camera, and a 20cm infotainment screen with navigation; to mention but a few. Interestingly, the vehicle is not equipped with cruise control, nor does it have traction- nor stability control.
The interior is predictably laid out and it is not difficult navigating through dials and controls. Leather seats are standard across the range, as are power windows. Only the driver’s window has single-touch operation.
Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
Engine, gearbox, performance
Two engine choices options are available - a 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel.
The petrol unit is mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. With 90kW/150Nm available from the naturally aspirated (n/a) engine, performance is adequate rather than brisk or lively. It accelerates with the calmness that is associated with n/a engines of this size and gradually builds up speed to 120km/h. At the launch we sampled the manual petrol-powered version. Uphill driving requires a lower gear or two to propel it upwards, but on flat surfaces it trots along at a very leisurely pace.
The diesel engine churns out a punchy 94kW/260Nm and is coupled to a six-speed auto ‘box. But despite boasting a healthy torque figure, the full 260Nm is only available at a high 2750rpm. This means that this engine, too, needs to be worked a bit to perform, but it's much smoother and more drivable than its petrol counterpart. The automatic gearbox isn’t the fastest nor the quickest-shifting unit on the market, but it matches the calm demeanour of the diesel-powered Creta.
The suspension is one of the Creta’s strongest assets. Over the various surfaces - tar, gravel, back roads - the Creta managed to stand its ground. Hyundai spent quite some time on fine-tuning the suspension. At the front the MacPherson struts adopt an I-shaped front sub-frame, while at the back the shocks are positioned in a more vertical position. This all adds up to bumps being absorbed in exemplary fashion for a vehicle in this segment. Steering is light at lower speeds, but firms up as the vehicle’s speed increase.
Driving on the launch route’s gravel sections proved to be little hassle for the Creta (knowing the route did of course help). The crossover went about its business, casually gobbling kilometre after kilometre of dirt road.
The Creta will compete against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX and Nissan Qashqai, and offers an overall package that can compete with whatever the competition throws at it. The Creta is also one of a few crossovers in SA to offer a diesel variant for under R400 000.
On paper it would seem that Hyundai’s latest offering could perhaps be the steal in its segment, which should see Hyundai SA’s bigwigs smiling all the way.