Driven: Hyundai Creta 1.5 Executive Diesel (automatic)   

The congenial champion of the compact SUV pageant is here. Let’s talk about the new Hyundai Creta

What is it?
The Hyundai Creta was a new baby just three years ago, launched in 2017 and quickly garnering sales. In this short period, Hyundai SA sold 14,811 of the things. But this is the new car, 20mm longer and 10mm wider, a dramatically restyled compact SUV. Its a totally new vehicle, larger (and plausibly in charger), but it isn’t necessarily prettier, but we’ll get to that.

How does it look?
Well, beauty being subjective and all that – I’m not a massive fan of the new aesthetic. I can see what they were going for, adopting the styling cues from the Venue and larger SUVs at Hyundai such as the Sante Fe. But on this smaller bodystyle I can’t help but feel it didn’t quite land. It isn’t ugly, rather a bit awkward especially around the rear where commenters couldn’t decided between the Ssangyong Rexton and Pontiac Aztec as its biggest influence. The latter being the hideous mess driven by TV’s Walter White. You’ll find 16″ inch alloys on the Premium model and 17″ inch items on the Executive with the latter enjoying LED daytime running and foglamps. And finally, you can have your new Creta in one of seven colours.

What about living with it?
Clamber aboard the helm and you’ll encounter black leather,  a large touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Also present, a wireless charger and rear park assist with subsequent parking cameras. The reinforced body structure is safer than before, and you can add six airbags, Isofix, ESC and Hill start assist. It’s comfy, well appointed and capacious – they’ve even found an extra 30l of luggage space for a grand total of 431 litres. Impressive.

How does it go?
You have a choice of three motors, the naturally aspirated 1.5l MPI engine with 84kW and 143Nm, a turbocharged 1.4 with 103kW and 242Nm, or the 1.5l CRDI diesel with 84kW and 250Nm. But what’s Smartstream I hear you ask? Well, it’s the name of Hyundai’s new IVT gearbox, or ‘intelligent variable transmission’. Which is another way of saying CVT. Only smarter. It’ll monitor your driving style and make changes accordingly. Which is nice. Also nice, cruise control across the range. In addition to the IVT, there are two more kinds of automatic transmission in a conventional six-speed (in the diesel) and a seven speed DCT in the turbo petrol.

Should you buy one?
Oh, absolutely. Looks aside, the Creta is an excellent prospect – improved upon its successful predecessor in literally every way.  Our test car performed well over asphalt and gravel, with plenty of grunt and compliance. And if you can wait, next year a seven seater Creta will launch in Mzansi. The entire range can be had within a R374k-R484k price range with Hyundai’s impressive seven year/200,000km warranty and four year (60,000km) service plan. You couldn’t ask for much more than that.

Quick Stats: Hyundai Creta 1.5 Executive Diesel (automatic)    
Powertrain: 1.5l turbodiesel fwd,  84kW, 250Nm, 6-speed auto
Performance: 0-100kph in 11.7 seconds, 173kph top speed, 5.9l/100km fuel consumption

Creta 1.5 Premium (manual) R374,900
Creta 1.5 Executive IVT R429,900
Creta 1.5 Executive IVT (2-tone) R434,900
Creta 1.5 Executive Diesel (automatic) R469,900
Creta 1.5 Executive Diesel (automatic) (2-tone)  R474,900
Creta 1.4 TGDI Executive DCT (2-tone)  R484,900

Includes a 7-year / 200 000 km manufacturer’s warranty; 4-year / 60 000 km service plan; and roadside assistance for 7 years or 150 000 km.

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