The year 2015 can safely be assumed as the year of choice of car-makers to reveal their best put efforts at the Indian car market. We have seen many new models being launched this year and many more existing models being refreshed, some rather drastically. There is a multitude of Indian and foreign companies which exist in the Indian car market, and all of them have very carefully ensured that each of their new launches are noteworthy to the buyers. Just when we started feeling that the compact SUV segment is settling down, Hyundai launched its much anticipated Creta and this invariably stirred things up.
While the detailed review of the car can be found in a preceding article, we are more interested to find out how the Creta tackles its competition. Though we are speaking of no less than big shots like the Renault Duster, Nissan Terrano and Ford Ecosport, we simply cannot ignore the presence of a well formed crossover hatchback segment which shares a piece of the pie when it comes to the demand for city cars with mild off-road abilities.
To begin with, the Creta comes with three engine options, namely, a 1.6L Petrol(121bhp), a 1.4L Diesel(89bhp) and the top of the range 1.6L VGT Diesel(126bhp), all of which is offered at a pretty conventional price range for this segment. What is note-worthy though, is the fact that it edges out the Duster to become the most powerful ‘diesel’ compact SUV available, and this comes with an extra dose of smoothness. The term ‘diesel’ receives a pair of quotes just to remind you that the Ecoboost engine featured in the Ford Ecosport still triumphs, although only marginally to the Creta’s petrol heart.
Look-wise, the Creta clearly reveals the application of Hyundai’s second generation Fluidic Architecture which it shares with all its siblings. Outright appeal is claimed with the massive face which looks directly inspired by the larger Santa Fe. Hyundai has nowhere tried to keep it minimalistic in terms of design unlike the Duster, but then Hyundai has never been conservative in either exterior or interior styling. As we move rearward, the smaller dimensions of the car soon come to light. But the surprising bit though, is that unlike the Ecosport, Hyundai has managed to keep the looks perfectly proportionate, despite the dynamic shape of the Creta.
Hyundai has displayed subtle packaging as the Creta again edges out the Duster with its better interior space despite smaller dimensions. The rear seat can easily accommodate three full-sized adults with utmost comfort and the front benches claim their credit with hard to ignore under-thigh support. Where it falls short though, is the airy feel of the Duster and also of the Terrano, which is needless to say considering both are pretty much the same car. Surprisingly, the dashboard has been kept relatively minimalistic which is rather unusual for a Hyundai. However, things still look modern as you step into the car, although nowhere near the Ecosport ; the same cannot be spoken of the Duster, which looks rather old school despite recent upgrades. The Terrano, however, edges the Creta in terms of the premium feel that it offers.
Equipments on all the cars are pretty much at par, with each car edging out the others in some way. For the Creta, it’s the Rear Parking Camera, available only on the SX(Option) and SX+ variants which stands unique.
The driving feel of the Creta is something that city dwellers will look forward to in every way possible, be it the light steering wheel, the soft suspensions, the light clutch feel and definitely the strong low and mid-range torque which inspires lesser gearshifts. The highway ability is where the competition gains an edge over the Creta, mostly for the light steering and softer suspensions, both being increasingly unnerving at higher speeds.
While the Ecosport has always been known for its award winning engine, the Duster has always remained the people’s favourite on an overall basis. The Terrano has always remained towards the higher reaches of the price spectrum and appealed mostly to the people who wish to standout. As mentioned before, an indirect and yet strong competition also exists in the form of the crossover hatchback segment, which is soon to include a new benchmark in the form of Maruti’s S-Cross. Hyundai has always been headstrong in choosing the city rather than the highway as the battlefield for its cars to compete. The Creta is no different. And since Hyundai doesn’t mess around with its purpose, there is no beating the Creta in the city. But if it’s an all-rounder you seek, the Duster(now even with 4×4 option) ticks the box more confidently. However, if you are naturally drawn towards a petrol motor, look no further than the Ecosport.