Looking more interesting than its predecessor, the new Creta is also roomier. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Looking more interesting than its predecessor, the new Creta is also roomier. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

To feed a seemingly insatiable consumer appetite in the compact SUV league, Hyundai has launched its new-generation Creta in SA.

The compact SUV, which fits between the Kona and Tucson in the Korean brand’s line-up, replaces the first-generation Creta, which was launched in SA in 2017 and was one of the most popular vehicles in the compact SUV/crossover segment, selling nearly 15,000 units.

It arrives in four derivatives imported from India and has a fresh new design, better practicality and new engines.

Its most noticeable feature is the edgier new styling. The Creta adopts a dashing new design with split front and rear lights and daytime running lights that make it pop out more than its rather drab predecessor. It’s grown 20mm in length but has a 10mm lower roofline to give it a more dynamic and pressed-down look, though it retains the same class-leading 190mm ride height of its predecessor so occupants can peer over the rooftops of lesser vehicles.

The extra length and wheelbase, along with a 10mm increase in width, has increased the interior space and there’s plenty of room for four adults. The boot has also grown from 402l to 433l.

As before, the Creta is a five-seater pitched against rivals such as the Toyota C-HR, Ford Ecosport, Mazda CX-3, Renault Duster and Kia Seltos in a very competitive market segment, but Hyundai plans to grow the line-up with a seven-seat version in 2021.

Hyundai has improved the vehicle’s refinement, with increased body rigidity and additional sound deadening that has reduced the Creta’s noise, vibration and harshness.

Under the more attractive new body is a cabin that features the latest infotainment and connectivity, and improved back-seat comfort thanks to the addition of air vents in the rear.

The driving position is now more adaptable to various-sized drivers as the steering column adjusts for reach as well as height (it was previously only height-adjustable).

Colour accents and an uncluttered dashboard make for an appealing interior ambience. Picture: SUPPLIED
Colour accents and an uncluttered dashboard make for an appealing interior ambience. Picture: SUPPLIED

Another welcome new feature that was absent in the old Creta is electronic stability control, which is standard throughout the range along with safety features such as ABS brakes, tyre pressure monitors and hill assist control. The Premium-grade Creta has four airbags while the range-topping Executive has six.

Both grades come standard with automatic headlights, split rear seats, keyless entry and alloy wheels (16-inch in the Premium and 17-inch in the Executive), while the Executive also has leather seats instead of the Premium’s cloth pews.

A two-tone paint finish is available for a R5,000 price premium on the Executive models.

The previous Creta was available with the choice of a 90kW/150Nm normally aspirated 1.6l petrol engine or a 94kW/260Nm 1.6l turbo diesel, but it’s all changed under the newcomer’s bonnet.

The new line-up offers a normally aspirated 85kW/144Nm 1.5 petrol available with either a six-speed manual or IVT continuously variable auto transmission, a turbocharged 103kW/242Nm 1.4 TGDI petrol with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, or a 85kW/250Nm turbocharged 1.5 diesel with a six-speed auto.

As before, all versions are front-wheel driven and have no off- roading aspirations, but the generous ride height and high-profile tyres make for a pothole-friendly vehicle that is also capable of straying on to gravel roads.

A welcome new feature that was absent in the old Creta is electronic stability control. Picture: SUPPLIED
A welcome new feature that was absent in the old Creta is electronic stability control. Picture: SUPPLIED

The range-topping Creta 1.4 TGDI I drove at last week’s media drive delivered a satisfyingly plush ride on both dirt and rough tar, and it’s a solid-feeling vehicle with good all-round refinement. The 1.4 turbo engine is peppy, the dual-clutch transmission is a smooth-shifting treat, and the car displayed tidy cornering despite its above-average ride height.

In Executive grade, the cabin reflects some of the vehicle’s exterior flair with interior colour accents and brushed metal, and the fascia has very few buttons for an uncluttered look. The leather-covered seats and steering wheel, and nicely textured dashboard plastics, create an appealing interior ambience.

PRICING

1.5 Premium manual — R374,900

1.5 Executive IVT — R429,900

1.5 Executive IVT two-tone — R434,900

1.5 Executive diesel auto — R469,900

1.5 Executive diesel auto two-tone — R474,900

1.4 TGDI Executive dual clutch auto two-tone — R484,900

Includes a five-year/150,000km warranty, with an additional two years and 50,000km of coverage for the powertrain, and a five-year/90,000km service plan.

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