Com­pact and more af­ford­able than the ever-pop­u­lar Tuc­son - we test the new Hyundai Creta.

Nam Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

Re­cently I was in­volved in a dis­cus­sion – or pos­si­bly an in­ter­ven­tion – where I was ac­cused of be­ing rather too crit­i­cal of new cars.

I'll save you my whin­ing re­torts but promised all the par­tic­i­pants that I can in­deed be pos­i­tive about de­serv­ing au­to­mo­biles.

And wouldn't you know it, the new Hyundai Creta is a per­fect ex­am­ple.

Launched on the same day as a more up­mar­ket and ex­pen­sive Ger­man ri­val, the com­pact Korean SUV aims to cap­ture more city dwellers with ad­ven­tur­ous hearts, a strong yearn­ing for ex­tra ride height and the oc­ca­sional soft-road­ing re­quire­ments.

Buy­ers get the choice of three dif­fer­ent mod­els – two 1.6L petrols in man­ual or au­to­matic and our test car, the 1.6L turbo-diesel au­to­matic. Where the afore­men­tioned pre­mium com­peti­tor from Deutsch­land will re­quire at least half a mil­lion of your moolah, the Creta's pric­ing ranges from about 330,000 to 375,000 dol­lars.

Bet­ter yet, where the other brands charge you an arm and three legs for niceties, Hyundai sends their cars to the shiny show­rooms with ex­tremely gen­er­ous lev­els of spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Six airbags, ABS brakes, rear park­ing peep­ers with cam­era, leather trim and a whop­ping war­ranty are just some of the high­lights we en­joyed in our test unit and ev­ery sin­gle one of these nice-to-have items is in­cluded in the price of the Creta we test-drove.

The only op­tional ex­tra I could find was me­tal­lic paint and that goes for all three Creta mod­els – they have iden­ti­cally awe­some spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

An­other gi­gan­tic plus that I dis­cov­ered in this lit­tle SUV was the gen­er­ous amount of space in­side.

These ob­ser­va­tions were con­firmed by (a) a bunch of in­quis­i­tive friends with an ix35 owner in their midst as well as (b) the Hyundai Tuc­son we drove straight af­ter test­ing this me­tal­lic red Creta.

Its pas­sen­ger space and com­fort is ad­mirable, as is ride com­fort and lug­gage space. Ev­ery ob­server and Namwheels team mem­ber loved the snazzy two-tone leather seats.

A Creta will take 402 liters of lug­gage (Tuc­son: 488L) with a full-size spare wheel and flat-pack rear benches for more car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity. The smaller SUV also has the now-fa­mil­iar Hyundai touch-screen Cd/mp3 unit with op­tional nav­i­ga­tion.

Power de­liv­ery from the 1.6L turbo-diesel can be a tad noisy but is oth­er­wise smooth and also rel­a­tively even. Torque nat­u­rally drops off near the red­line.

The peak out­puts of 94kw (128hp) and 260Nm mean that this is not racer but the turbo- de­siesel au­to­matic Creta can reach 100kmh in 11.9 se­conds (we clocked 10.38 at sea level!) and hit al­most 180km/h.

Hyundai claims that it sips an av­er­age of 7.4L/100km 50ppm and I can con­firm that as highly plau­si­ble. Our test car hov­ered just un­der eight liters per 100 dur­ing a week of mixed town, coun­try and high­way mo­tor­ing.

The spread and in­ten­sity of the Creta’s head­lights is com­mend­able; and so are the ABS brakes. Our only mea­sured emer­gency stop from 100km/h took 3.29 se­conds and 43.22 me­ters. The 2.0D Tuc­son took 3.17 se­conds and 40.60 me­ters. Notes from other driv­ers give lots of praise to the soft­roader’s raised seat­ing po­si­tion, its ex­cel­lent trip com­puter, the light driv­ing con­trols and solid in­te­rior fin­ish.

With a ground clear­ance of 190mm, we even tra­versed some dirty ditches with ease. The lack of proper 4x4 gear mean that a Creta won’t make it through the Namib but it will ace a bit of dirt - and use less fuel.

In fact, its fru­gal diesel use and but­ter- smooth au­to­box meant that this city SUV was al­ways in high demand with our team.

Which means that all in all, I'm not just be­ing nice to the lat­est Hyundai to prove my afore­men­tioned point. Other driv­ers agreed that the Creta does ev­ery­thing right and feels like a much big­ger and more ex­pen­sive SUV.

The de­sign and qual­ity of Hyundai ve­hi­cles keeps push­ing new heights and the Creta's pric­ing is very com­pet­i­tive.

Test-drive one to­day and tell me if I'm ly­ing! 1.6 Exec (M) N$343,000 1.6 Exec (A) N$363,000 1.6D Exec (A) N$393,000

“Creta’s pric­ing ranges from about 330,000 to 375,000 dol­lars.”

Hyundai Creta prices:

Text Hanjo Stier Im­ages Hyundai South Africa

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