2020 Hyundai Creta Diesel Review: A proper all-rounder
While we were in lockdown, our social media was bombarded with questions about the new Hyundai Creta diesel. We had driven the Creta with its new turbo-petrol engine already, but there was still a good number of people were still interested in the diesel. Sure, the interest in diesel isn't as strong as it used to be in the past, especially the gulf in prices between petrol and diesel has reduced and clean diesel cars becoming more expensive to engineer. But the sheer number of questions that came in is a testament to the fact that in an SUV like the Creta, practicality is a priority. So here we are. As soon as we were allowed to get back on the streets, we tracked down the closest diesel Creta and demanded the keys, since you demanded a review.
Do I need to give you my opinion on how the Creta looks? I’m not sure. Enough people have said what they have to say, and all I have to add to that is it will sell regardless of whether it appeals to the tastes of us oh-so-sophisticated auto-journalists. What I will point out, though, are the differences from the turbo-petrol. Up front, the diesel has more chrome on the grille and the skid plate is silver, where it is blacked out on the petrol. This blingy approach continues on the side — silver roof rails, silver C pillar — again, where the turbo gets blacked out bits. The wheel design is slightly different, while at the back, there’s a singe exhaust tip. There’s also the obvious lack of ‘Turbo’ badging on the grille and boot (though this is a turbo-charged diesel engine).
The insides are more of an obvious change. The dual tone (replacing the — take a wild guess — all black) interiors are refreshing and does lend the cabin a little more airiness. There’s none of that fancy red accenting either that you get on the turbo-petrol either. In terms of the layout and functionality, it is all pretty much the same and for the only other difference you need to put your head in the footwell — different pedals. The layout of the dash is logical and everything is where you expect it, but there are hard plastics around for the most part. In terms of equipment, you still get the same 7-inch instrument cluster, 10.2-inch infotainment screen, all the creature comforts like wireless charging, panoramic sunroof, an air purifier and reclining seats in the back. The cushions on the rear headrests have to be the best thing about the interior of this car though — soft, plush, comfortable — and they do wonders to elevate the backseat experience.
The new diesel engine
What is new for the Creta is the diesel engine — a BS6-compliant 1.5-litre engine that replaces the older 1.6 diesel. In terms of numbers on paper, the engine is actually a step backwards — it makes 13bhp and 10Nm less, but driving it tells another story. The Creta doesn’t feel sluggish despite the lower outputs and is more than willing to get the pace on. Refinement is really impressive, with vibes being negligible and not too much clatter entering the cabin. As for its characteristics it is a typically turbo-diesel engine. It has a strong mid-range that pulls cleanly, before tapering off before the redline. It comes on to boost very predictably and smoothly too, and won’t catch you out.
While it is available with an automatic, the Creta we had on test was a manual. The 6-speed manual will obviously be the more engaging car, but if someone was prioritising engagement, they would look at the turbo-petrol. So let’s talk about convenience instead — the clutch is light and easy to operate, the shift quality is fairly good and rowing up and down the box isn’t a cumbersome task at all. I do wish it had slightly shorter throws though. Also, the manual doesn’t get the drive modes and traction modes that the automatic variants of the Creta does, but that isn’t something you will particularly miss.
Ride and handling
As for the ride and handling, the new Creta has a sophistication that the old one lacked. It stays far more planted and speed — not bouncing around with undulations in the road, while not compromising its bump absorption either. The steering weighs up as well at speed too and overall you feel far more confident behind the wheel of the new Creta. In the city, it remains easy to manoeuvre with light control and good visibility.
Does that answer all your questions? I certainly hope so! The new Creta diesel is a really capable all-round SUV. Refinement, performance, comfort, features — it delivers on all these fronts. If your priorities are more focussed towards practicality and comfort, the Creta diesel won’t put a wheel wrong. My only issue with it is it doesn’t light a fire within you; it feels a bit clinical. But again, that is something I can live with since there’s that blacked-out gangsta-spec one that we tested last month available as well.
Prices for the diesel Hyundai Creta start at Rs 10 lakh (ex-showroom, though the one we were testing was the top-of-the-line manual at Rs 15.7 lakh. Whichever way you look at it, the Creta is great value.