Hyundai's Creta came to market just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in South Africa. Since then, it has quietly been selling good volumes for the automaker. News24 Motoring editor Janine Van der Post reckons it's one of the best compact SUVs around and explains why...
The Creta was first launched in 2020, and at first, its futuristic looks didn't grab me. In fact, it brought back flashbacks of 'Parktown Prawns' - an awful die-hard cockroach slash grasshopper insect that gave me sleepless nights when I lived in Joburg for five years. I am even pulling my face as I write this. But like the bugs, I learned to live with it, and not that the prawns grew a liking from me, but the Creta surely did.
Fast forward to 2022, and Hyundai refreshed the compact SUV, and I have to say it looks better than before. It still has more advanced styling, but that's a direction the Korean automaker took quite some time ago. And while we thought their new cars were ahead of their time, they're certainly fitting in right now.
When it comes to daily practicality and an excellent frugal option, the Hyundai Creta is a great choice. As a mother, artificial black leather upholstery is a blessing - although it gets terribly hot in the sun (but all cars do with this material). You'd think by the time your child is seven years old; their hands will be less sticky. Well, I have news for you, if you still have a tiny sprog, it doesn't get any better - even when you have wet wipes and hand sanitiser at arm's length at any given moment. The Creta's seats are quick and easy to clean without any stains left behind.
The boot is massive
My Creta test model didn't come with a backboard for the boot, and immediately I was concerned about leaving items in the luggage area while parked or even when driving. Luckily, the dealership where the vehicle was prepped had tinted the rear windscreen a shade or two darker than the rear windows, so there's no chance of any peeping Toms trying their luck. And the boot is massive; fold the rear seats down, and you can easily slide in a Nissan Sentra bonnet in there like I had to do the other day (a story for another day) - it's that big.
There's also plenty of legroom and door compartment spaces, rear vents so passengers can be cool too, and a USB charging port my child loves so she can charge her mobile device on the road when she can't do so at home due to load shedding.
But the biggest trump card for me is its fuel consumption. The Creta is one of the most frugal petrol cars you can buy today. Under its bonnet is a 1.5 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine mated to Hyundai's automatic Smart Stream Intelligent Variable Transmission, better known as IVT. It delivers 84kW and 144Nm and has a claimed top speed of 170km/h. Hyundai claims a fuel consumption of 6.3 litres/100km, and that's a great number.
However, it's not every day I can better these fuel stats and keep it at a constant reading. My average reading is 5.9 litres/100km - even with the aircon blasting - but then I am only cruising at 80km/h. My absolute best was an incredible 4.9 litres/100km.
It always does what's expected
Cruise control is also easy to use in this car, and I would often use this feature on the long road, especially when I am trying to reach those low fuel consumption stats. Just remember to turn this function off when driving uphill, as this will significantly hinder your readings as the system needs to work even harder then. It's a nippy vehicle and always eager to do the work on the road. It's more than keen to overtake when needed. But at the same time, it's a humble vehicle. It's not boastful, it's not overzealous, and it always does what's expected of it.
Hyundai sold 193 of these models in January, making it one of the automaker's best-sellers. And, while it's good-looking in its own right, it is also inconspicuous at the same time. Think about it, who would consider stealing a car called a Creta anyway? Well, at least not here in SA.
Pricing for the Hyundai Creta starts from R428 900.