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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the new Hyundai Creta

The Hyundai Creta is a car that flies under the radar somewhat. It happens to be one of the best selling in its segment, yet it is seldomly recognised or asked about. Well certainly not in my circles. I guess it has a polarising look that appeals to some and not to others. But now there is new version on the block and it is going to appeal to even more people than it did before…not that it needed to, but here we are.

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

I think the design is leaps and bounds ahead of the outgoing model. There is just something more edgy about it. “Highlights include LED front and rear light signatures that appear nearly identical; a cool, full-width rear reflector strip; and a dual-tone paint treatment that’s standard on this flagship 1.4 TGDI and optional on two other models.” Thank you Terence from Cars Uncorked.

Hyundai Creta

Inside has also seen an update. My personal favourite being the look of the centre console. It is clean, sleek and just lovely all round. The only issue, which is what Terence discovered on our test drive last week, was that “the plastic shroud around the gear gaiter is disappointingly creaky, exacerbated by its placement in the exact spot where your left knee rests.” My knee, which is smaller than Terence’s, did not experience this same issue, but this is why it helps to have different-sized journos testing the cars.

THE SPEC

“All models feature a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto, as well as PDC supplemented with a rear-view camera. Executive trim adds artificial leather upholstery – dual-tone on the 1.5 petrol and CRDi; black accented with red trim on the TGDI – LED headlamps and wireless cellphone charging. For the first time, reach adjustment is offered on the steering column and finding a suitably comfortable driving position is a cinch. Odd, though, that only manual air-con is fitted across the range.” Again, I stole this from Terence’s review (don’t worry, I have informed him – he is not thrilled).

Hyundai Creta

One thing that both Terence and I commented on was the space the Creta offers. It is now a bit longer, wider and higher than the outgoing model, and it is felt. Especially in the rear. The boot is even larger now at 433-litres as opposed to the older version’s 402-litres. This is something that I think any family will celebrate. You can never have too much space, I say!

ENGINE-WISE

All three engines are new. A naturally aspirated 1.5-litre replaces the 1.6-litre we know from the Kia Seltos. It produces 85 kW of power and 144 Nm of torque and is mated to either a manual or auto transmission. Then for the diesel lovers, there is a 1.5-litre turbodiesel on offer with 85 kW and 250 Nm. It only comes with an auto ‘box. And rounding off the range is a 1.4-litre turbopetrol unit producing 103 kW and 242 Nm, mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

This is the engine we got to drive and as much as I want to say it is wonderful, it does feel a little bit underwhelming. My foot was planted flat most of the time, much to Terence’s dismay, and climbing inclines proved a bit harrowing. With that said, the average buyer of the Creta is going to prefer comfort and practicality over performance and the Creta is superbly comfortable. The ride is smooth and there is almost no road noise seeping in to the cabin.

On the safety front, there is a driver and passenger airbag, ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Programme and Hill-start Assist Control across the range, except for the the top of the range that adds curtain and side airbags.

THE LAST WORD

It ticks all the boxes for a small family car. It is comfortable, spacious, practical, well specced and refined. It will continue to sell well, only being out smarted maybe by the Volkswagen T-Cross and Mazda CX-3. What is exciting news, however, is that we can look forward to a seven-seater Creta coming next year.

PRICING OF THE NEW HYUNDAI CRETA

Creta 1.5 Premium MT: R374 900
Creta 1.5 Executive IVT: R429 900
Creta 1.5 Executive IVT 2 Tone: R434 900 
Creta 1.5 Diesel Executive AT: R469 900
Creta 1.5 Executive AT Diesel 2 Tone: R474 900 
Creta 1.4 TGDI Executive DCT: R484 900

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