2020 Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos Comparison: The better diesel manual

After the Hyundai Creta was introduced, it saw little to no competition in the Indian market and the Creta dominated the compact SUV space. Things were going all well until its sibling arrived — all-new Kia Seltos. We caught both top-of-the-range models of the diesel manual variants on offer to find out if one is better than the other, and which is the ideal for whom.

By:July 24, 2020 12:20 PM

We have all been there as teenagers. Out enjoying ourselves, doing what we love to do, going on adventures and parties with our friends. Then our parents tell us to take our younger sibling along. No matter how much you love your brother or sister, in a teenager’s mind, sometimes one can feel that taking your younger sibling along will always slow you down and can be embarrassing around your friends. When you eventually do take them along, you may find that your younger sibling out-performs you in every aspect of the game which made you popular in the first place. Although you get a sense of pride within to see your sibling perform well, you get the urge to show them who’s boss, but also sometimes show them the ropes. This evolves in to somewhat of a sibling rivalry.

A rivalry along these lines has been brewing in the Indian car industry. Back in 2014, Hyundai introduced a compact SUV called the Creta. The Hyundai Creta was carefully designed and engineered to deliver everything an Indian customer desired. A compact vehicle with a high riding stance that resembles an SUV and comes loaded with features with dependable underpinnings. While other manufacturers tried that same recipe, Indian buyers always seemed to gravitate towards the Creta for the value it offered. This made the Creta the popular kid in the streets. The Creta embraced that attention for five whole years until its parents decided that they wanted to have another child.

In August 2019, Kia Motors India was born and their first vehicle for the Indian market was the Kia Seltos. The Seltos arrived as a more modernised, attractive, better equipped with a younger appearance to spoil the Creta’s party. Once the newborn Seltos arrived, it gathered all the attention which was earlier reserved for its sibling — the Creta. So Hyundai regrouped, went to the gym, the parlour, changed its diet and was transformed itself. Seven months later, the all-new Hyundai Creta was born. Trying to up the ante and show the Seltos who is the elder sibling, the new Creta arrived with almost everything and more than the Seltos offers, wrapped in a matured body and a new line of engines.

2020 Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos Styling

At first glance, it is evident that both the siblings are a striking contrast from each other. Kia has opted for a more aggressive and youthful look with a sharp styling philosophy. On the other hand, Hyundai’s approach with the Creta is more mature but experimental. While the Seltos styling is something you can immediately decide when you like it or you don’t, the Creta’s styling is something that you don’t understand at first glance. It is a design language that could grow on you, but for some, it may not.

When it comes to the equipment offered on the exterior of the Creta and Seltos, both are pretty evenly matched. They both offer all-LED headlamps, LED Tail Lamps and their shoe sizes are identical with 17-inch alloy wheels. A couple of key differences between the two are the functional roof rails on the Seltos which are designed to carry load and is something the Creta does not offer. And for the variants on the test, the dual-tone alloy wheels on the Creta are a touch more appealing.

2020 Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos Interior

The design of the cabins for both cars are also vastly different and follow distinct philosophies. But, what they offer is fairly identical. They both offer a 7-inch digital screen for the driver instrumentation, while how they make use of the screen are different. Both are equipped with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and offer a similar user interface. The systems on both cars offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen’s position in the Seltos is mounted on top of the dash, while in the Creta it is integrated into the dash. However, both do a good job when it comes to usability and you don’t sense any compromise with either of the two layouts. As for the rest of the dash, both cars use plastics and soft-touch materials of identical grade. But the way that Kia has engineered the cabin seems superior as the leather and soft-touch panels are positioned more around the frequently touched places and the abundant use of glossy plastics gives a more premium look and feel the cabin.

Although the Seltos is available in a higher trim for the diesel model, this test, in particular, involves just the highest spec versions of the diesel manual for both cars meaning the Creta SX(O) vs the Seltos HTX+. It’s not entirely an apple to apple comparison, but they are fairly similar in the equipment list they offer. Some common features between the two models include auto climate control, wireless smartphone charging pad, reversing camera, TPMS, keyless entry, cooled seats and more. But the differences are plenty. The Creta offers a larger panoramic sunroof over the Seltos’ regular sunroof, six airbags over the two airbags in the Seltos diesel manual while features like ESP, traction control, hill hold control and an E-parking brake are not available in the HTX+ trim of the Seltos.

But the Seltos makes up for lost ground with a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel and front and rear parking sensors. But, if you shell out a little more for the automatic or the GT-Line diesel, then you also get features like a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitor, heated and cooled seats and a heads-up display all which the Creta does not offer.

Both the Creta and Seltos come with internet-connected features with BlueLink in the Creta and UVO Connect in the Seltos. Both offer nearly identical features, but the Creta being seven months newer, there are few things that the Creta can do, which the Seltos cannot.

2020 Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos Diesel Manual

When it comes to engines and transmissions, both the Creta and Seltos have the same DNA. A 1.5-litre CRDI turbo diesel engine that churns out 113hp and 250Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission does duty in both. But when you drive them back to back, you do notice some subtle differences between them. For example, the power delivery in both cars is identical from throttle inputs, but the aggressive clutch actuation in the Seltos takes time to get used to. Additionally, the Creta’s cabin insulation suggests that the motor in the Hyundai is a little more refined than that in the Kia. The feedback from the steering wheel in both cars are more or less the same but the gear shift lever offers distinct tactility with the Seltos providing a marginally more satisfying sensation with every shift.

Out on the bumpy Indian roads is where the Creta shines as the suspension set up is more relaxed, pliant and absorbent with an underlying firmness. Although the Seltos feels a tad tauter through the corners, the ride can be a little choppy over broken roads but not to the extent that it unsettles the vehicle or the occupants. When it comes to fuel economy, both cars are evenly matched as they both weight about the same and use the same engine. As a result, you can easily average about 17 kmpl give or take half a kilometre in both cars in city driving conditions and our test conditions. If you drive carefully, you can eke out a little bit more of course.

2020 Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos Diesel Manual Price

You can have a diesel manual version of the Creta starting at around Rs 9.9 lakh and up to the SX(O) top of the range one for Rs 15.8 lakh. With the Seltos, the diesel starts at a slight premium at Rs 10.3 lakh, but the top of the range diesel manual is available at Rs 15.5 lakh. The Creta does offer some additional equipment than the top-spec diesel manual variant of the Seltos, but you do have to shell out an additional Rs 30,000 more for the Creta.

You could shell out even more for both cars and opt for the automatic versions, but this is the best equipped Creta you can buy at the moment. If you chose to spend more on the Seltos, you can go home with a few extra features that level the playing field between the Creta and the Seltos even more.

2020 Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos Conclusion

Here is where it feels like to be a parent in a sibling rivalry. Having to choose between the Creta and Seltos is like picking a favourite child. You love them both, but you can’t pick a favourite. Because if you did, then the sibling rivalry intensifies. Sure both of them offer great value for money, both are identically equipped and capable. There is only a fine line that sets the Creta and Seltos apart from each other and here is the difference. The Creta is the more mature option, making it ideal for someone who isn’t always seeking attention and going about their lives. But the Seltos is more youthful, adventurous type but prefers functionality as well. So at the end of the day, it all depends on what you want out of your vehicle and what you would be happy to live with for the foreseeable future will determine which is best for you and you could be happy with either of the two. The competition between the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos is so close to calling but, certainly, the sibling rivalry will only intensify. The great thing about the rivalry is that the people who benefit from this healthy competition are the customers who get more bang for their buck every time someone elevates the benchmark. That said, a comparison demands a winner and for that sake, it’s the Hyundai Creta in the trims we tested but shuffling between the variants could turn the tables around in some cases.

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