With the exams looming, I was having difficulty making our English setwork ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding mean any more than a silly story about a bunch of guys marooned on an island who wanted to beat each other up.
Then, my teacher of the time, the late, great David Brindley, gave me a copy of the thesis he had written on the book for his Honours degree in which he managed to show the island was actually shaped like a ship and all sorts of other things that made it a lot more than just a silly story about kids wanting to whale on each other.
So, I decided to try to find some level of symbolism or deep, hidden inner meaning as to why Hyundai would want to name a car after the island of Crete.
Other than the fact they are both small I found nothing – so this is not a dissertation, just a road review.
Hyundai has never been scared of dipping its toe into new and – for it – uncharted waters. When it launched the Creta in 2017 as an option in the mid-size SUV market, it was an impressive package combining good levels of specification with reasonable power and handling.
Now, more than 8 000 unit sales later, the Creta has received an exterior makeover that comprises a new Hyundai trademark cascade grille with a chrome bezel, a new front bumper with dual-tone finish and skid plates, new fog lamps and LED Daylight Running Lights and a new set of roof rails with a lower profile.
The rear profile of the Creta has also been revised with slightly tweaked tail lamps with LED inserts, repositioned reflectors and a new rear skid plate. It also sports a new alloy wheel design.
Hyundai Automotive SA has kept the same derivative line-up, engine and gearbox choices and specification configuration for the Creta range.
All three Creta derivatives are sold with the Executive level of standard features, which includes leather seats, leather cladding for the steering wheel, multi-function remote controls for the Bluetooth telephone, sound and radio system, and an 8-inch touch-screen display for the infotainment system.
The infotainment system in the Creta also offers an optional satellite navigation feature, which has to be activated with a SD card at a cost of R2 522.
Convenience features in the Creta include air vents for the rear passengers, a rear armrest with cup holders, cruise control and rear park assist sensors and camera that displays its images on the screen of the infotainment system.
Of the three engine/gearbox combinations used in the Creta range, our test was on the range-topping Creta 1.6 Executive Turbo-diesel Automatic that uses a 1,6-litre turbo-charged diesel engine, together with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. Maximum power delivery is 94 kW at 4 000 r/min, and its torque peak of 260 Nm is reached at 2 750 r/min. It has a claimed fuel consumption figure of 7,4 litres/100 km in a real world, combine test cycle and my own test cycle confirmed this figure.
The new Creta received no below the bonnet changes – if it ‘aint broke don’t fix it – and that is a good thing as, already mentioned, the original proved rather impressive.
What the revises mean in real terms is tweaking the desirability compared to its immediate opposition (such as the Toyota Rush) without compromising on the impressive levels of affordability both in terms of sticker price and in overall operating costs.
Given the continuing rise in popularity of the SUV as the preferred mode of travel, the intensity of competition in the small to medium segment of this market is growing by the day and the ‘arm-twister’ in terms of customers will be the affordability factor with fuel now topping the R17 a litre mark.
The Creta’s ride quality and road holding are achieved by a McPherson strut front suspension with gas dampers. An increased caster angle delivers a more stable, smoother high-speed travel.
At the rear, revised geometries of the dampers used with the coupled torsion beam axle have delivered an increase lever ratio that generates gentle understeer for better cornering performance.
That latter built-in factor serves well as a reminder to reign in driving enthusiasm long before talent runs out and there are limits beyond which it will not willingly go.
The diesel, with its low down torque works easily in traffic snarls and the gearbox shifts silently and swiftly to provide the best possible solution for the occasion – translating this on the open road to a hassle-free cruise with low levels of engine and other peripheral noises.
Seating more than plush enough for long hauls and the luggage deck swallows a good family holiday need – the rear seats also foldable for increased luggage space when needed.
Safety features in the Creta include dual front and side air bags for drive and passenger and curtain air bags for protection of rear passengers as well. The Creta is also equipped with an anti-lock brake system and Electronic Braking Distribution (EBD).
All prices include a 5-year/90 000 km service plan, a 7-year/200 000 km warranty (comprised of Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000 km warranty, with an extended 2-year/50 000 km drivetrain warranty) and roadside assistance for 5 years or 150 000 km.