Colin-on-Cars – New engines and looks for Creta

Longer, wider and lower is a mantra often chanted by automakers at the introduction of a new version of a model being launched and, this is entirely true for the all-new Hyundai Creta SUV – but this introduction also comes with three new engines.

Naturally, the updated version also gains in the interior tech department but what is significant is how Hyundai South Africa is positioning the Creta against the other SUV models in its arsenal, notably Venue and Kona with the flagship Palisade due to become the first R1-million Hyundai when launched next year.

Traditional structuring by automakers carefully kept models and their derivatives in distinct ‘boxes’ with any crossover kept to the absolute minimum under the guise of not stealing sales from one model to feed another.

Hyundai has rather embraced this ‘blending’ with top spec Creta creeping well into the price bracketing of the entry Tucson models – with the same at the other end of the spectrum where new Creta also drops into the space occupied by Venue and Kona.

Stanley Anderson, Sales and Operations Director, says: “What we are supporting here is a customer choice to go for specification or space and the price point they can afford. Thus, the higher spec Creta with less space or the lower spec Tucson with more space. It simply enhances the options of choice.”

In the words of that old saying “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog”, Creta has three new engine – two petrol and one diesel.

The 1,5-litre MPI petrol engine drives through a 6-speed manual and varialbe intelligent (IVT) transmission and produces 85 kW at 6 300 r/min while the 1,4-litre Kappa Turbo GDI petrol engine drives through a 7-speed Dual Clutch transmission and generates 103 kW at 6 000 r/min and 242 Nm from 1 500 r/min.

The diesel option is the 1,5-litre CRDi with a 6-speed manual shifter making 85 kW at 4 000 r/min and 250 Nm from 1 500 r/min.

At the launch I drove the 1,4-litre Turbo and came away (as did my driving partner) with the throttle response and the ability of the gearbox to swiftly, silently and accurately work through its range of options to produce the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of ratio when it was needed.

Whoa! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here and remember the Creta is a Mom’s Taxi, urban runabout with leisuretime attributes enough for good quality dirt road travel. It is not a race, does not have blinding acceleration and is not intended to be hurled at S-bends. Keep the perspective. . .

In the race for market share, the Creta will bang heads with the Kia Seltos and Volkswagen T-Roc and pricing starts with the 1.5 Premium MT at R374 900 going up to the 1.4 TGDi Executive DCT at R484 900 – the six derivative range all being 5-seater; and, yes, there will be a 7-seat version coming next year.

In terms of size the new Creta is 4 300 m long, 1 790 mm wide and 1 620 mm tall for a 22 mm increase in length, 10 mm in wideth and a 10 mm decrease in height, plus a 200 mm increase in wheelbase with the 190 mm ground clearance remaining unchanged.

Besides the obvious increases in interior legroom, the luggage capacity increases from 402 litres on the outgoing model to 433 litres for the new version.

The 1,5-litre variants have a grey and black interior trim design with cloth fro the Premium and leather on the Executive, while the 1.4 Executive gets black leather trim. Executive models gain a wireless charger, touchscreen infotainments system, multi-functional steering wheel, voice recognition Bluetooth, park assist sensors and a rear park assist camera.

At Premium level, specification upgrades include electronic stability control, hill start assist, reach adjustment for the steering and tyre pressure monitor. Executive spec gains an electro chromic rearview mirror, wireless charging, LED front headlamps and 17-inch wheels and tyres (versus the 16-inch on Premium).

Hopefully I can bring you a full Road Review soon.

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