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Hyundai has introduced its eye-catching Creta to the country’s competitive, sub-compact, SUV segment. Reuben van Niekerk reports
Historically, Hyundai has succeeded in winning customers in South Africa by offering quality cars at affordable prices. But as the brand’s models have grown in size and gained more technology, prices have gone up, and these days the vehicles are perceived to have lost some of their price advantage.
Now Hyundai has entered the competitive sub-compact SUV segment with the Creta, which is aimed at filling an important slot in the local model range since customers who can’t afford the stretch to buy a Tucson or Santa Fe have a more affordable entry point into the brand’s SUV family.
Accordingly, the model strengthens Hyundai’s arsenal and is aimed at enabling the brand to reinforce its fourth place in the local sales charts.
Following the naming convention of world famous cities like Tucson and Santa Fe, the Creta gets its name from the island of Crete, the largest and most populous of Greek islands.
In terms of size, the Creta is comparable to the original Tucson and only slightly shorter than the current Tucson, though ground clearance is higher.
During the launch event four adults filled the cabin and all were impressed with the amount of roominess available. In fact, if you discount boot space, the interior of the Creta is only marginally smaller than that of the Tucson.
The dashboard – with its futuristic water flow inspired design and smart ergonomic contours – makes the cabin environment an enjoyable place in which to spend time. Comfortable seats are covered in two-tone full-leather upholstery.
The Creta portrays a strong road presence thanks to its aggressive SUV stance. At the front the chromed radiator grille makes a bold statement while the creased bonnet lines, headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and a sporty skid plate, help to enhance the car’s stylish and distinctive character.
Roof rails complete the solid SUV appearance and enable practical accessories – such as a roof box or bicycle-holders – to be carried easily.
Three derivatives make up the range. The 1,6-litre Executive is powered by a naturally-aspirated petrol engine and is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. It offers 90kW and 150Nm along with a fuel consumption figure of 7,9 litres/100km. A six-speed auto version is also available, credited with a fuel consumption figure of 8,4 litres/100km.
The diesel-powered flagship – which also utilises a 1,6-litre engine coupled with auto transmission – boasts 94kW and 260Nm. Thanks to a variable geometry turbocharger that regulates turbo boost pressure, the engine feels peppy across the rev range. According to Hyundai’s claims, the unit consumes 7,4 litres of fuel per 100km.
Safety is taken car of by six airbags positioned at the front and side for driver and passenger, complimented by curtain airbags. The Creta is also fitted with ABS and EBD.
With pricing ranging from R319 900 to R369 900, the model competes against the likes of Opel’s Mokka X, Mazda’s CX-3 and Nissan’s Qashqai but, in my view, offers more space and greater value for money thanks largely to a long list of standard features.
I am confident that the Creta will help Hyundai attract many customers who are considering the purchase of a compact SUV. It is a roomy, stylish, practical vehicle that offers excellent ride and build quality.
A five-year/ 150 000km warranty that includes roadside assistance ensures added peace of mind.