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Hyundai Creta: A practical workhorse of a car gets a stylish makeover

The latest version of Hyundai Creta gets the zing of a 1.5-turbo petrol engine, sharper looks and premium interiors

It is clear that the Hyundai Creta is now more distinctive.
It is clear that the Hyundai Creta is now more distinctive.

The Hyundai Creta stormed the Indian market in 2015, creating a stir and accelerating the mid-size SUV segment. It wowed the market with its design, practicality and features, but faltered a bit in 2020 after a design refresh. Hyundai is always quick to adapt to customer feedback, and the more winged grille from the Tucson made the Creta a hot favourite again. Still, there is no taking anything for granted, and once again, the Creta gets a facelift and a comprehensive one at that.

Standing in the desert in the Osian region of Rajasthan, the heat rising from the ground, the black-green paint of the new Creta (priced at around 20 lakh) is chameleon like, changing tone as we change sides to shoot the car.

It is clear that the Creta is now more distinctive: The most noticeable is the front with a more angular, lined grille with rectangular blocks. The DRLs (daytime running lamps) are now slim LEDs, which, when viewed from the front, look like a pair of inverted commas connected by an LED light bar running atop the grille.

There are animated turn indicators, and the head lamps sit lower, almost where fogs could be in a double cube design. The lower jaw is also different, with a chrome surround and skid plate.

The profile remains similar, but there are striking new alloys. The rear has also changed, losing the curvy lines and becoming more horizontally styled, giving the tail section more width. The tail lamps are styled similarly to the headlamps, continuing the connected inverted comma look.

Step inside the cabin and instantly, it feels more premium. Materials used feel better, and the dual-tone cabin is smart with lots of piano black and chrome.

The let-down is the area that houses the shortcut and AC controls: The piano-black is wavy and looks low rent, standing out in contrast since the rest of the cabin looks great. The entire dashboard is different, the layout stretching horizontally with the AC vents running from the passenger side, dipping down and across the end of the driver’s side.

Taking centre stage are a pair of 10.25-inch screens tucked behind a single curved pane. One is for infotainment and the other for the digital instrument cluster that changes when you switch drive modes. The butterfly steering remains, and below the screens are a series of shortcut buttons and physical controls for the AC, which I like. Easy to access and use.

There is a wireless charging pad below, and as much as I like the feature, it is somewhat redundant since Apple Car Play and Android Auto are not wireless, so you would need the cable to connect your phone. The car is feature-packed with some cool additions, like a choice of 12 regional languages for the UI on the infotainment cluster and Hinglish commands for the voice assistant, which work brilliantly. There is a 360-degree camera with a 3D view, Jio Saavn streaming, connected car tech, ventilated seats, the impressive Bose sound system, dual-zone climate controls and a suite of ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) features. I tried the adaptive cruise control, which worked smoothly, never braking too abruptly or accelerating sharply. It’s one of the better ones I’ve used, making highway driving safer and a breeze.

Powering the refreshed Creta is the same set of engines and gearboxes as before, with one new addition: the 1.5 petrol mated to the 7-speed DCT. Of course, that was my drive of choice. Cutting through Jaipur en route to Osian, the engine breathes easily in traffic, but there are times when the gearbox fumbles, especially at low speed when you want to get away quickly. Then, it is just better to dab on the paddles for smoother shifts. Pick up the pace, and everything will settle in nicely. The turbo petrol is strong, and while it doesn’t feel punchy, it is quite quick, getting to triple digits easily. Cruising the smooth highway to Osian, the overall feeling is that this engine gearbox combo makes driving fun and effortless.

The Creta was always an easy-going car to drive and remains so. Though not sharp, the handling provides ample confidence. Out on the highway, I felt comfortable and in control always with a host of safety aids to assist me. Ride quality remains good with a slight hint of firmness, but only the very keen customer would notice. Overall, rear-seat passengers will be comfortable with enough space and an easy ride.

The Creta was always a practical, comfortable and easy-to-drive SUV. The styling tweaks have made it look sharper, the interior has a more premium feel. There are even more features than before, and it also now gets the zing of the 1.5 turbo petrol. A good thing just got better. 

Renuka Kirpalani is consulting editor, Autocar India.

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