It couldn’t have been easy to make the second-generation Hyundai Creta, especially considering the old one was at the top of its game, right until the end of its life. Love it or hate it, there’s no two ways about it, it was nothing short of a blockbuster.
Well, the new 2020 Hyundai Creta is here, and its job is a lot tougher this time. There are some stronger rivals now (one in particular from Hyundai’s own backyard), and many more just around the corner. Can it prove to be the sequel that surpasses the original?
A big contributor to the first Creta’s success were its strong, SUV-like proportions. It wasn’t very large or imposing, and in fact, before the facelift, you could even call the looks quite dull, but it had just the right shape and that worked. The new Creta, a visibly larger vehicle, also has superb proportions, with a chunky, square-shaped front end, thick creases over the wheel arches, broad shoulders and a roofline that has a nice silver accent on the C Pillar. However, the smaller details will likely polarise people. The 17-inch alloys (dual-tone and diamond-cut on some variants) are of an interesting but unexciting design. The flat nose of the car is home to a big grille and lighting is via an unusual, three-part C-shaped LED DRL pattern, with the actual LED headlamps in a cluster lower down (the indicators and fog lamps are lower still)
The big attraction, however, is the 10.25-inch touchscreen that sits flush with the surface of the centre console. It’s slick, it’s crystal clear with sharp graphics, and it’s loaded with features, which includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto, along with Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car app suite as well. Another blessing is a row of physical buttons, so you don’t always have to take your eyes off the road. Other neat touches are the cool blue ambient lighting, the knurled finish for the brushed silver AC knobs and the part-digital instrument cluster. The analogue tachometer is small and relegated to one corner, but the 7.0-inch screen at the centre of the binnacle looks sharp, gives you all relevant trip computer info and changes colour with the drive modes. Yes, the Creta has drive modes – Comfort, Eco and Sport for the road, and Snow, Mud and Sand for when you’re off it – but hold your horses, off-road aficionados; there’s still no AWD.
There are five powertrain options, including a 115hp, 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol, a 115hp, 1.5-litre turbo-diesel and the 140hp, 1.4-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol we are driving here. The former two are available with both manual and automatic options, the turbo-petrol, which we’re driving today, is only available as an auto. While it’s not being positioned as an outright ‘performance’ model, the 1.4 T-GDi engine, the same unit found under the hood of Seltos, packs identical numbers – 140hp and 242Nm – which imbues the Creta with pretty strong performance.
The 2020 Hyundai Creta’s new look may not work for everyone, but frankly, that’s not going to be enough to curb its almost certain future popularity – it bagged 14,000 bookings in just two weeks. Where it won’t have it as easy as its predecessor is in the fact that the competition has stepped up its game on all sides. Apart from its most direct rival, the Seltos, the segment below is catching up, with the likes of the very capable XUV300, and larger SUVs like the MG Hector, offering some really tempting value for money. But Hyundai has played to its strengths, foregoing things like driving dynamics for greater comfort and an even longer equipment list. They’ve even given it an aggressive introductory price of Rs 9.99 lakh to Rs 17.20 lakh, which still points to pretty good value. What will clinch it, however, is those class-leading features –most of all the cooled seats and panoramic sunroof – which Indian buyers just seem to love and are willing to pay a premium for. No doubt, it’s taken the fight to the Seltos’ doorstep but Hyundai’s target is to surpass the success of the previous Creta, which it probably will.