Once upon a time, not long ago, SUVs were specialised vehicles for people who had to drive off the road—fo leisure, but more for work. Hatchback cars were for the masses. And for people who’ve “arrived in life,” the sedan was the dominant choice.
But all this has changed. In FY18, according to industry body SIAM, the sale of SUVs grew seven times faster (21%) than that of hatchbacks and sedans put together (3%).
One of the reasons is that the SUV shape is the most practical as a people carrier—it has comparatively more cabin space, it can be easily personalised, and egress and ingress is easier. The sales trend is also fuelled by new model launches by almost all companies. One such—and one of the most successful—is Hyundai Creta. It was first launched in 2015 and, last week, the company gave it a mid-life update. We drive it.
How is 2018 Creta different?
Changes include bi-functional projector headlamps, LED DRLs and positioning lamps, 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, dual-tone front and rear bumpers, skid plates (front and rear), and split-type tail-lamps. These, and especially the new grille, have helped make Creta look like its more expensive cousin, the Tucson.
What about the cabin?
It gets the electric sunroof and the driver’s seat can be adjusted in six ways (first-in-segment features). It also gets cruise control—much needed for highway driving. The driver’s seat height adjustment is now offered as standard.
Does it get new engines?
No, but Hyundai engineers have worked on the engines to make them more fuel-efficient—the claimed improvement in fuel-efficiency is 3% in petrol and 4% in diesel. There are three engine options: 1.6-litre petrol, 1.4-litre diesel and 1.6-litre diesel. While both petrol and diesel 1.6-litre engines get a choice of either manual or automatic gearbox (both six-speed), the 1.4-litre diesel gets only the manual gearbox. I drove the 1.6-litre petrol variant and there is a slight improvement in ride comfort.
What about safety features?
SX(O), the top-end variant, gets six airbags and hill-assist control for a safe start on an uphill incline without the vehicle rolling backwards. Dual airbags with ABS and EBD are standard across all variants.
Does it get new tech?
The wearable key, which we first saw in Tata Nexon last month, has been introduced with the new Creta. It’s called H-Band. But while the Nexon device is just a key that you wear on your arm, the H-Band is also a fitness tracker, and a smart one at that. Wearing it, you can lock and unlock the car by pressing a button on the door; it also tracks your steps and calories burnt that are reflected on a mobile app and notifies you about incoming phone calls. Another first-in-segment feature is a wireless phone changer.
Is it a good buy?
Ex-showroom, Delhi, prices of petrol start at Rs 9.44 lakh and those of diesel start at Rs 9.99 lakh. However, most of the features mentioned in this review are available only in top models, which are priced in the range of Rs 13-15 lakh. Yet the Creta proves to be a decent buy. One, the competition doesn’t offer such a variety of features. Two, Hyundai is offering ‘peace of mind’ once you buy this SUV—a three-year, unlimited km warranty and a three-year roadside assistance with the new Creta.
PS: The new Creta also gets a dustbin—the Swachh Can, which, the company says, is in line with the government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. (I found little use of the Can.)