Last July when Hyundai launched the Creta, the price of petrol was Rs 66.9 per litre in Delhi. It had already fallen from about Rs 70 a year ago. This month, you will pay Rs 62.51 per litre in the capital, so all that calculation you’ve been making on the benefits of a diesel car over a petrol car have to be re-calculated. Fact is, the time for diesels is running out, slowly but surely. Now only 26 per cent of car sales are diesels, down from 52 per cent just four years ago. If the signs aren’t getting clearer, here’s a petrol SUV that now comes with an automatic gearbox. When was the last time you drove one besides the sub 4-metre EcoSport?
Strangely, the automotive media expected Hyundai to launch the petrol automatic Creta when it was introduced last year. The six-speed auto ’box the Creta comes with is borrowed from the Elantra and the petrol engine is the same tried and tested 121bhp, 151Nm 1.6-litre unit from the manual Creta. The engine gets going above 1500rpm and it’s got a strong midrange, but rev it up to its 6500rpm redline and it will make more noise than build much momentum. So it’s best to shift up at around 4,000rpm unless you are late to pick up the kids at school.
Speaking of shifts, the Creta employs the traditional torque converter so gear changes are nothing like the DSG shifts from a Vento. It takes its time, so if you want to make that overtake and you’ve been driving in a high gear, it’s best to slot the shifter in manual mode and shift down yourself. It’s much quicker that way as the slow-witted gearbox doesn’t have to react at its speed to the changing throttle inputs.
The petrol automatic, like the diesel, is only available in SX+ trim, which means you get a touchscreen audio-video navigation system, projector headlamps with LED DRLs, rear parking camera and sensors, push button start/stop, climate control air conditioning and 17-inch alloy wheels. What the petrol doesn’t have is a distance to empty indicator and your fuel efficiency readout, convenient omissions since the numbers won’t be anything to boast about.
The Creta is a very comfortable SUV for the city with its light controls, good visibility and supple ride. The best bit for the petrol automatic however is its price. At Rs 12.86 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, it is Rs 1.65 lakh cheaper than a diesel Creta automatic. So unless you drive a few thousand kilometres every month, the petrol Creta is the more economical option.