The Coronavirus is here to stay and the best we can do is to get on with our lives (albeit taking utmost care) and hope that things to go back to being the way they were. With that said, what better car review to get the ball rolling again than the 2020 Hyundai Creta? The old Creta was a lovely SUV! While the pricing could have been better but the car itself had the perfect mix of comfort, features, performance and undoubtedly proved to be a best-seller for Hyundai, with over 5 lakh units sold in five years. The company had a tough task to make a best-selling SUV even better and that too at a time when strong rivals have been popping up with unsurprising regularity. We finally get our hands on the new best-selling car in India and here's our review.
On looks, the new Creta is miles away from its predecessor, which had cracked the code for having the proportions and elements of a quintessential SUV. The front end in particular takes some time getting used to. The large, cascading grille and the split headlamp make for a very busy design. But, that does not mean it doesn't have presence! The Creta immediately stands out when you are out driving on traffic laden roads. The muscularity can be seen in the broad shoulder and the creases on the bonnet and the flared wheel arches, which are distinctly done. The top-spec model that we tested had the C-shaped tri-beam projector lamps which look futuristic but don't sit that well with the thin LED strip up top. The fog lamps and the indicators are bunched up together and gel well with the bumper and the overall front end design.
Viewed in profile, the silver accent on the roofline mars the sporty stance and makes the car looks smaller than it is. That is not standard though, don't worry. The roof-rails do bring in some of that SUV stance though. At the rear, the SUV's design is kind of weird looking. The tailgate proportion is strange and makes it appear like a hatchback from afar. The split tail lamp and the curve on the lip don't add to the looks either. But the twin-tailpipes, particular on the 1.4 T-GDI variant definitely looks cool.
Interior Design and Features
Step inside and the first thing you notice is the all-black colour scheme with splashes of red on the AC vents, steering wheel and the seats. This particular colour scheme is on offer only on the turbo petrol model. The layout of the dashboard is simple and the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment screen along with the AC controls is neatly stacked in the middle, tapering towards the end. The Creta is a connected car and gets a bunch of features in that direction along with your regular smartphone connectivity options.
For audiophiles, the 8-speaker Bose system has good sound reproduction, probably inching towards offering the best audio in the segment. Then, there's a neat cubbyhole with two USB ports and a wireless charger. The other thing that caught our eye was the premium plastics, which offer a rich feel inside the cabin. Although, to keep the feel consistent, the SUV could have had more of soft touch plastics.
The 4-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel, with paddle-shifters is a completely new feature too! Behind the wheel is a new rectangular instrument console, which is digital. It is flanked by analogue gauges for RPMs and engine temperature and fuel on either side. The colour of the instrument console changes with the drive mode selected (more on that later).
Other features include ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, window shades for the rear passengers and rear AC vents as well along with a small display to control the air purifier, which is offered only on the top-spec SX and SX (O) trims.
In terms of safety, the top-spec model of the new Creta comes with six airbags, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control and disc brakes all around. The base and mid-level trims get two airbags, ABS, rear parking sensors and disc brakes on only the front wheels as standard safety equipment.
Comfort and Space
It is apparent that Hyundai has worked a lot on the comfort of the new Creta. Built on a new platform, the Creta is now bigger in dimensions and offers more space at the rear. The headrests are comfortable too and the seats offer good support. There is enough headroom too, although the panoramic sunroof may eat into some of the space there. Up front, the ergonomics are on-point too.
At 433 litres, the bootspace is lower than on the previous model by 42 litres, but it is enough to gobble up a few days' worth of luggage. The ergonomics are on-point and the driver seat is easily adjustable too. It would have been even better if there was adjustability for reach as well. And as far as ride quality is concerned, well, the new Creta has it sorted. The suspension is plush and the rear doesn't bounce like it used to over bumps and potholes, on the older car. The new Creta feels more sure-footed through corners and doesn't squeal when pushed a little out of its comfort zone.
Engine and performance
Our test car came with a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine which feeds on petrol. The engine makes a maximum of 138 bhp coming in fully at 6,000 rpm while the peak torque output is rated at 242 Nm coming in between 1,500-3,200 rpm. This particular engine gets a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Now, with the numbers out of the way, straightaway, the first thing that you notice is the sharpness of the entire package!
The turbo petrol has a solid mid-range and once you touch top-end, the motor will not run out of steam either, but it is the bottom end which lacks that grunt, and to an extent, that can be attributed to the gearbox. Right off the mark, the gearbox feels a tad slow but once you build up speeds, you won't even feel the head-nods when the gearbox engages fourth through seventh gears! Should you want the controls to the gearbox, Hyundai has that covered with paddle-shifters, on a Creta! They work well when you are in the mood for spirited driving, otherwise the auto-box works just as well. The gearbox at speeds above 40 kmph and the engine all throughout, are quite smooth and enjoyable too.
But what really stands out is the feel and heft of the steering. The steering feels livelier and offers weight which is miles ahead of the previous model. The feedback could have been a touch better, but we are not complaining. With disc brakes all around and ABS that is tuned better, the new Creta offers more confidence when going hard on the brakes.
The 2020 Creta comes with three drive modes, which are Eco, Comfort and Sport. They work as advertised. We suggest you toggle between Eco and Comfort in the City and leave Sport for the highway, where the gearbox holds on to the gears longer and makes overtaking a breeze. Additionally, the SUV also gets traction modes which are Snow, Sand and Mud. But it doesn't have an AWD/4WD variant. While we would have loved to use those traction modes too, we shall do so in the relative safety of a 4WD/AWD vehicle with tow ropes.
The prices of the new-gen Creta start at ₹ 9.99 lakh for the base petrol variant and go up to ₹ 17.20 lakh for the top-spec turbo petrol and diesel automatic variants. In comparison, the prices of the Kia Seltos range starts at ₹ 9.89 lakh for the base HTE petrol variant and goes up to ₹ 16.39 lakh for the top-spec turbo petrol and diesel GTX+ variants.
If there's one thing that Hyundai is adept at, it is playing to its strengths of offering a car which is rich in features. The Creta is no different! With many class-leading features, it is a car that is comfortable, practical and offers a decent drive experience. Like we mentioned in the beginning of the story, it was the best-selling car, not best-selling SUV, but the best-selling car in the month of May 2020, even with COVID-19 playing havoc with the car market. The new Creta is still not an out-and-out driver's car but it has taken its game many notches higher.