Making over for the best-selling compact SUV, the refreshed Hyundai Creta

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It is the beginning of 2019 and you’re thinking about getting a new car? Everyone’s driving an SUV! They are all the rage and with good reason. Versatile vehicles; they are designed to do more than a hatchback, they offer loads of room and come with the perk of a raised ride height. This gives the driver and passengers of the car greater visibility that translates into an enhanced and reassured driving experience.


Hyundai’s compact offering in the SUV category is the Creta, smaller than the Tucson and the even larger, Santa Fe. It’s been designed to compete with the likes of Mazda’s CX-3 and Toyota’s C-HR. Locally, these three are the best-selling compact SUV/Crossover type vehicles, so clearly the people’s choice for a compact value-for-money SUV.


Hyundai’s Creta has been the local leader in terms of sales, both in 2017 and 2018, with 1/3 of the total sales in this category. This is impressive considering the list comprises over a dozen competitors.


In a quest to keep its pole position, the Creta has had an external makeover. As of late last year, the Creta can be seen with a modernised front and rear-end styling and new contemporary rims. The look is somewhat aggressive, giving the Creta a greater purpose when viewed on the road. These changes include the Hyundai cascade grille with a chrome bezel, a new front bumper with a 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 features slightly tweaked tail-lamps with LED inserts, repositioned reflectors and a new rear skid plate, and a new sports alloy wheel design as mentioned above.

These enhancements are a pleasant addition that will see the Creta remaining in vogue beyond 2020.


The interior remains unchanged. All three Creta derivatives are sold with the Executive level of standard features, which includes man-made 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 must be activated with an SD card at a cost of R2 522.00


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.


Leg and headroom are very generous, with rear passengers having ample room to move. Best suited for four adults but offers capacity for five. 


The boot is also well shaped for ease-of-use, with a cavernous space being created once the rear-split seats have been folded flat. A nice touch is the standard mess-net that lives supported on the boot floor. A nifty tool for suspending groceries. 


On the road, the Creta's ride is supple, adding to the comfort of the car’s friendly character. Speed bumps, potholes, and road surface irregularities are managed well by its compliant suspension set-up. Steering, which is power-assisted, is light with adequate feedback. Brakes aren't the Creta's strong point, with a rear drum system - a hit in the previous century. The brake pedal needs to be properly applied to get the Creta to retard its speed. 


Dynamically, the Creta isn't going to win any high-performance awards, but the chassis has been designed to imbue its driver with a warm, fuzzy feeling of familiar friendliness. Minor tweaks have been made to the suspension geometry to improve ride quality, stability at high-speed travel and better cornering performance.


As before the Creta is available in two engine variations, both 1.6-l, beginning with the entry-level 1.6-l (90 kW/150 N.m) petrol motor in either 6-speed manual or automatic. Next up, the flagship model, the 1.6-l turbo diesel (94 kW/260 Nm) - only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The 1.6D was my long-term test vehicle over the holiday period and my favourite model in the line-up. It's nippy with a 0-100km/h sprint in 9 seconds while remaining frugal. I received fuel figures of 7.4-l per 100km with a combined open road and urban usage cycle.


So, do you want one? Here are your colour choices: Polar White, Fiery Red, Sleek Silver, Marina Blue and Star Dust.


For everyday use and practicality, the Creta scores well. The question lies in whether you prefer its understated looks or prefer one of the more flamboyant ones of its competitors. The sales figures speak volumes regarding this question.




The entry-level model is well-priced. 

Nicely spec'd.

Friendly nature.




Plain looking when compared to its rivals.

Lacks sparkle. 



Mazda Cx-3, Ford EcoSport, Peugeot 2008, Opel MokkaX, Renault Capture, Nissan Juke and Toyota C-HR.



Creta 1.6 Executive (manual) ­–

R339 900

Creta 1.6 Executive (automatic) –

R359 900

Creta 1.6 Executive Turbodiesel (automatic) –

R399 900


Service and warranty 

Included in the recommended retail price of the Hyundai Creta is a 5 year/90 000km service plan; a 7-year/200 000km warranty (comprised of Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000km warranty, with an extended 2-year/50 000km drivetrain warranty); an Roadside assistance for 5 years or 150 000km.


My choice


Creta 1.6 Executive Turbodiesel (automatic) –

R399 900 







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