SUVs are here to stay. Car buyers are searching for roomier and comfortable vehicles with softer handling, which puts demand for SUVs on the rise. With greater connectivity, solid fuel-efficiency and more fun gadgets, Hyundai is upping its SUV game to remain a great go-to option for young families. Mexico Automotive Review took the 2019 Creta Limited for a spin to find out what the little sister in Hyundai’s SUV line-up brings to the table.
Creta’s minimalistic design remains appealing. Its attractive façade has not changed much since its introduction in 2015, yet it has managed to get prettier. The doors’ straight lines and soft curves in the rear and front of the SUV are still there, but a redesigned cascade-like grill was added to boost its overall look. The top versions of Creta received a pair of LED DRLs in 2019 that we had only seen in its big sisters Santa Fe and Tucson. These daylights emphasize Creta’s stylish design and make it seem like a higher-end car. The combination of an orange body with black pillars and roof in the Creta that MAR took give a hint of the SUV’s fun handling. Its 17in aluminum rims (16in in the basic versions) also give it an aggressive look that is usually not seen in the compact SUV segment.
Moving past Creta’s exterior appeal, we were amazed with its interior spaciousness. From the outside, the vehicle may not seem so large an SUV, but this is just a mirage once you see the room that the driver and passengers enjoy. Car buyers interested in a family vehicle that fits a couple, kids, children seats and strollers without compromising comfort should find in Creta a solid option. It is ideal both for weekend getaways and daily commutes.
Creta’s top Limited version comes with full leather interiors including seats, steering wheel and shift stick, a sunroof and some high-end amenities that are usually seen in more expensive cars such as an engine start button and smart key. The distribution of controls and instruments on the central console and the dashboard breath an elegant interior atmosphere and a premium image. However, what really makes Creta stand out is its connectivity and gadgets. All versions come with Apple Car and Android Auto compatibility, so passengers can connect their phones and take advantage of navigation apps, easily read text messages or answer calls without losing focus on the road. Rear cameras connected to the 7in touchscreens of Creta’s infotainment systems are standard equipment in all versions, as well.
Hyundai went the extra mile in terms of safety equipment with Creta. As would be expected, all versions equip six airbags (including front, side and curtain), ISOFIX anchoring for children seats and brakes with ABS. But Creta also adds several electronic systems to increase the car’s stability and reduce the likelihood of losing control. Creta comes with Electronic Stability Control, Hill Assistance Control and Hyundai’s signature Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) System. The combination of these systems offers the driver greater handling in sudden swerves and prevents oversteering.
Driving Creta is quite an experience. Its powertrain includes a four-in-line, 1.6L engine connected to either a six-speed manual transmission in the entry version or an automatic six-speed gearbox in all others. This combination makes inner-city commutes fun onboard Creta. It offers solid power at 121hp that ensure a highly reliable response and decent performance on city streets. Adding a pretty robust suspension to the mix helps Creta cross potholes with grace without passengers feeling the impact.
Creta, however, finds it challenging to gain speed on the highway, specially when driving uphill. At the end of the day, Creta is a family car more suitable for daily commutes than for joyrides on the track. Other members of the Hyundai SUV family (particularly Santa Fe Sport) offer a sportier performance to those who search for it.
In terms of fuel-efficiency, Creta delivers great mileage thanks to its small engine, although the medium and top versions are more attractive in that sense. While Creta GLS TM (the entry version) delivers 14.0km/L in cities, 19.1km/L in highways and a combined performance of 15.9 km/L, the more advanced versions (GLS TA, GLS Premium and Limited) deliver 0.3km/L more on average, with efficiencies of 14.3km/L, 19.4km/L and 16.2km/L in cities, highways and combined, respectively.
Families searching for a roomy, comfortable and well-equipped compact SUV will find in Creta a great value proposition. At a price ranging between MX$318,000 (US$16,300) and MX$393,600 (US$20,200) depending on the version, Creta stands out in its segment thanks to its cutting-edge connectivity, unusual gadgets for the compact SUV segment, solid fuel-efficiency, a good in-city performance and a great warranty of 100,000km or five years of use, coupled with protection and replacement of up to one tire per year for five years.