Hyundai Creta

Calling really, really old people, who still know what hippies were. No speed king, but with buckets of torque, it will cruise at 130km/h all day.

Remember anything that happened during 1986? Neither does this writer, but Google assures me that year saw a hit song from Huey Lewis and the News called Hip to Be Square.

The rock song, written by Bill Gibson, Sean Hopper and Huey Lewis, appeared on seven-inch vynil, courtesy of Chrysalis Records and reached No 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

According to Huey Lewis, the song was hugely misconstrued by conservative people, who flocked to buy it. “It was meant to be ironic and never intended as an anthem for square people.

Hyundai Creta

They were unable to see the irony of them buying it because they were square to begin with,” he said. Apparently, Lewis considered the widely misunderstood message of the song one of the biggest regrets of his career.

We can offer Huey some solace. Certainly, his masterpiece was misunderstood, but it did predict the launch of a car, many years later, in 2018. We speak of the new Hyundai Creta SUV, which we drove two weeks ago. On seeing the vehicle, we immediately noticed “its hips do be square”.

Hyundai Creta Interior

Hyundai’s press release says the new Creta’s exterior makeover includes “a new cascade grille with a chrome bezel, a front bumper with the dual-tone finish and skid plates, tweaked taillamps with LED inserts, repositioned reflectors and redesigned rear skid plate”.

We know nothing about such sophisticated stuff, but we could tell “its hips do be square”. Look at the photographs – surely, you come to the same conclusion? Which should not detract from the Creta’s worth.

It is a solidly built, well-appointed small Sports Utility Vehicle, ready to wage sales war in a tough South African market segment. The test vehicle was the Creta 1.6 Executive Turbodiesel Automatic, powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine, married to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Hyundai Creta Front view

It delivers 94kW of power at 4 000rpm, and 260Nm of torque at 2 750pm, all relayed to the front wheels. This does not make it a motorsport proposition in any way – acceleration is subdued, accompanied by a distinctive diesel clatter.

In traffic, it felt as if the body was too heavy for the engine’s capabilities. But the Creta does have buckets of torque and it will cruise at 130km/h all day, with just more than 2 300rpm on the clock.

The front suspension boasts a McPherson strut with gas dampers, with the rear depending on a torsion beam axle, all sitting on 17-inch alloy wheels. The Creta is also equipped with ABS brakes and Electronic Braking Distribution.

We did not attempt to corner violently but found it had slight understeer during sudden directional changes.

hyundai creta interior

Inside, apart from plenty of room for five adults, standard features include leather seats, leather-cladded steering wheel, multi-function remote controls for Bluetooth connections, sound and radio system, plus an eight-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system.

Convenience features include rear air vents, a rear armrest with cup holders and cruise control, rear park assist sensors and a reverse camera. Safety features include front and side airbags for driver and passenger plus curtain airbags for rear passengers. We were slightly disappointed when the test vehicle returned an overall fuel consumption figure of 8.6 l/100km.

On the other hand, we did not drive it in a fuel-efficient manner so a lighter right foot would probably return better figures. The Creta 1.6 Executive Turbodiesel Automatic costs R399 900 including a five-year/90 000km service plan, a seven-year/200 000km warranty and roadside assistance for five years or 150 000km.

What we like. 

  • Roomy interior
  • Well appointed
  • Lots of torque

What we do not like.

  • Underpowered
  • Diesel clatter under acceleration
  • Unimpresive fuel consumption

Verdict. 

A well appointed SUV ready for tough market segment.

Source: The Citizen 

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