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Creta vs Duster: Big battle of the compact SUVs

2017-12-07 05:36

Cape Town – During the course of 2017 both Hyundai and Renault launched their respective contenders in the compact medium SUV segment.

Hyundai joined the battle with its new 1.6-litre diesel Creta, while Renault updated its Duster range and added an automatic gearbox to its 1.5-litre diesel.

How does the diesel-powered Duster compare to the Creta?

The automakers took a different approach to their respective SUVs locally. To a certain extent, they are essentially competing for the same buyer, the execution, performance and craftsmanship of these vehicles could not be any more different.

The Creta feels a lot more premium than its French rival though the Duster is more rugged and robust than its Korean counterpart. There’s no ‘right or wrong’ approach though each of these vehicles have made for some very interesting local competition.

Diesel power

The Creta, with its larger engine, delivers 94kW/260Nm compared to the Duster’s 80kW/250Nm. On paper it the Creta has more power but the true test is on the open road. The Creta does have more punch and thrust, but the Duster seems to offer the more effortless (read: comfortable) drive. In terms of transmission, the Renault’s six-speed auto performs much better than the Hyundai’s six-speed gearbox.The Creta’s auto’ box has a more free-revving nature, whereas the Duster’s unit seems a lot more certain when selecting cogs.

At start-up, idle and low speeds the Duster’s engine is noisier and the engine’s frog-in-the-throat clatter filters through the cabin. That’s not to say that the Creta’s engine is guilt-free but it’s not as loud as the Duster.

Having taken both vehicles on long road trips along the West Coast and to Port Elizabeth respectively, one does get a sense of satisfaction knowing that these vehicles are driven to their strengths. Hyundai claims that its Creta can achieve 7.4 litres/100km, which should see it surpass 740km with its 55litre fuel tank. Fuel consumption however, was slightly better than the claimed figure - 6.8 litres/100km for a 800km range.

The Duster, on the other hand, has a very ambitious fuel rating of 4.8 litres/100km and should see it cover 1042km on its 50litre fuel tank. The Duster managed about 6 litres/100km - giving it a possible range of 833km.

If both vehicles had to be driven together, on the same road, for a hundred or more kilometres, the Duster could emerge as the more fuel-efficient option. Not because it has a smaller engine but because it delivers its power in a smoother manner than the Creta. It’s also fitted with cruise control, which the Creta doesn’t.

Fit and finish

The Duster may have pulled ahead of the Creta in terms of on-road performance but the Creta does have one card the Duster can’t trump - a much better interior. The materials used in the Creta feels more plush and upmarket than the Duster’s harsh plastics. Yes, the Creta does make use of plastic as well but it isn’t as prominent than the Dusters. You get the feeling that the Creta wants to punch above its weight, its cabin feels very premium for its class.

The Creta’s infotainment system is not as intuitive as the Dusters. Renault’s compact SUV is also fitted with satnav, a feature that’s not standard with the Creta.

Overall the Creta’s interior is a better place to be; it feels more solid and classier than its French rival. The use of plastics in the Duster does add to the SUV’s rugged nature but it does leave a lingering feeling that durability will be tested in the long run.

Affordability vs. premium

The Creta is the more premium offering between the two vehicles but at almost R375k it is a fair amount more expensive than the Duster (R300k). But for the price one is treated to a solidly built package that feels better put together than the French SUV’s. However, the Duster’s role in the market is to be a robust, durable, SUV. It was meant to be an affordable SUV that can withstand the demands of an adventurous lifestyle and in this role it performs brilliantly. The Duster does not have the same ambiance around it as the Creta but instead it revels in being a practical, rugged SUV. It even boasts 205mm of ground clearance - 15mm more than the Creta.

Weighing up the options and looking at what each SUV has to offer, the deciding factor between these two SUVs will come down to personal preference. It is often stressed that one must view your lifestyle and base your purchasing decisions accordingly. In the case of these two SUVs it couldn’t be more relevant. Both offer economical diesel engines with adequate performance, but their respective lifestyle approaches are worlds apart.

Read more on:    renault  |  hyundai  |  charlen raymond  |  cape town  |  review  |  creta

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