2020 Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT review

Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT (Image: BBC TopGear India)

Lockdown. Day 60. I vividly remember not getting any sleep the night before I had to go and get the Creta. Not because I had cold feet or was dreading to go outside (sort of) because of the current situation. It was because I hadn’t had the chance to experience a new car since the country went into shut down mode. However, just before the lockdown, we had driven the 1.4-litre turbo petrol Creta, but this time around, we had the 1.5-litre oil burner. We put it to the test to see if it’s just as impressive as its ‘cleaner’ turbocharged sibling. However, this wasn’t always the case. The previous generation Creta came with a 1.6-litre diesel engine, but now, it’s a BS6-compliant 1,493cc (1.5-litre) unit which produces a 113bhp of peak power at 4,000rpm and a healthy 250Nm of peak torque between 1,500 – 2,750rpm. There’s an option of either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual.

(Image: BBC TopGear India)

We had the manual variant at hand and couldn’t be happier about it. Why? Because the gear shifts are silky smooth. Although the slots are not very well defined, nevertheless, it is very light and easy to use. The same can be said about the diesel motor as well. There is a typical diesel sound from the engine but it’s very muted, indeed. Get the Creta moving and you’ll find that the smooth character of the engine seems to improve with the revs. That is until you get to the turbocharger kicking in. Again, unlike the older Creta, it feels refined and progressive. Because of that, pottering around town is a breeze. The light steering wheel and impressive turning radius also help out in a big way. But the downside of that kind of setup usually means lacklustre handling at high speeds in corners.

Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT (Image: BBC TopGear India)

Which is the case with the Creta, as well. It’s not a question of if it can or can’t, it definitely can. But, should you? Given it’s a compact SUV. My suggestion would be not to. Although the chassis itself does inspire a lot of confidence, the slightly numb steering and overall dimensions of the Creta hamper its ability to attack a corner. Nevertheless, if you can look past this, the Creta is an absolute gem in almost every way. Whether it’s the low-end torque, high-speed stability or just the overall comfort, the Creta is an extremely hard car to fault. Especially, when you consider the ride quality, which is sublime. This feeling continues on the inside, which is a treat.

Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT (Image: BBC TopGear India)

The only problem I had with the older Creta was the fact that it was maybe a little too bland from the inside. But, I’m happy to report, that is not the case with the all-new Creta. Sure, there are some hard plastics and other materials which may not seem up to the mark in a car that costs almost Rs 20 lakh. However, I would never use the word ‘bland’ for this interior space at all. The smartly done dual-tone interiors, D-cut steering wheel and neatly designed air vents, play a huge role in creating that sense of occasion inside the Creta. Lest we forget, the ambient lighting, the part-analogue part-digital instrument cluster, 10.24-inch touchscreen infotainment system and Hyundai’s BlueLink connected system. And yet, the list goes.

Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT (Image: BBC TopGear India)

The all-new Creta also gets cooled front seats, cooled glovebox, air purifier, wireless phone charger, USB ports at the front and back, rear AC vents, sunshades for the second-row seats and cup holders integrated into the rear armrest. Add this all up and you’ve got quite the sum for your parts. Mind you, we did drive the top-end SX(O) variant which comes with a lot of goodies. On the safety front, as standard, the Creta comes with dual airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, immobilizer, central locking, day/night rearview mirror on the inside, front seat belts with pre-tensioners, front seat belt reminders, Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), speed alert system, impact sensing auto door unlock, speed sensing auto door lock, dual horn and lane change indicator. However, the top-end variants, like the SX(O) also come with ISOFIX mounts, side and curtain airbags, automatic headlamps, rear disc brakes and a whole lot more.

Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT (Image: BBC TopGear India)

However, the major talking point of the all-new Creta still remains the exterior design. Some may consider it too radical or rounded while some consider it to be quite modern and futuristic. However, one thing I noticed, and we said earlier as well, it grows on you. The first time around, with the 1.4-litre turbo petrol, the Creta looked like the Venue’s elder brother and very drastically different from the previous generation model. However, this time around when I saw it in the ‘Galaxy Blue’ paint scheme, it left a very different impression on me. Also, this car does get some attention. A lot of people in other cars tend to sit up and take notice of the Creta. Even my own family members weren’t able to guess the car until they went around to the back – which, I feel, is a good thing.

Hyundai Creta 1.5 diesel MT (Image: BBC TopGear India)

So, is the 1.5-litre diesel motor-equipped Creta a desirable choice? We certainly think so. It checks all the right boxes. Is it fuel efficient? Yes, an indicated 13kmpl is more than impressive in a mix of highway and city driving. Is it powerful? Yes, again – it’s got ample performance for any given situation. Is it well equipped? Quite certainly, more than most of its competitors. Is it practical? It could very well be the perfect blend of luxury and practicality. Is it good looking? Well, why don’t you help us answer this question by commenting down below! But, once again, it has to be said, the Creta makes an extremely strong case for itself.

Engine: 1,493cc, U2 CRDi
Power: 113bhp@5,000rpm
Torque: 250Nm@1,500-2,750rpm
Drive: FWD
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Price: ₹15.79 lakh (ex-showroom)

Photography: Kishor Singh Rawat