This reimagined ultimate mom’s taxi typifies the Family Utility Vehicle
Ten years ago cars like this never really existed. Now it seems we’re doing our best to make up for lost ground and every carmaker has ranges of small family ’SUVs’. It’s not really an SUV though — its front wheel driven. The Hyundai Creta is more a pumped up family hatchback that presses all the right buttons as an economical, affordable and quite sexy mom’s taxi. I thus prefer to call these FUVs — or Family Utilities.
STRIKING LATEST HYUNDAI LOOKS
Creta first hit the SA market in 2017 and immediately hit the spot as it quickly established itself as the volume-seller in Hyundai’s South African SUV range below the Tucson and above the more style oriented Kona. It was face lifted more recently to better suit the family face. And now there’s this. Completely redesigned and all-new, the new Creta’s striking looks now better fit the latest Hyundai face.
Slightly longer and wider than its predecessor and freshly re-styled inside and out, some like the new look but some don’t. That China doll look is different and make a dramatic first impression, it certainly does. Our Limited Edition specimen hasd a cool two tone white on night blue colour scheme and shiny silver 16-inch alloys. Being an Executive, it packs daytime running LED headlights with the indicator and fog lights on the bumper.
It’s ‘minimalistic’ cabin is perhaps the Creta’s greatest advance over its predecessor. Stylish looking with soft touch finishes in a dark hue with contrasting light aspects to tart up its leather seats, air vents and flat bottomed multifunction steering wheel, it all brings a certain touch of class. Height-adjustable seats and the tilt-and-stretch steering wheel helps you find a comfortable driving position. There’s also ample room and a convenient cup holder centre arm rest in the rear.
That steering wheel also plays its part in managing the clear and bright 8-inch touch screen Apple Car Play and Android Auto rich 8-inch touch screen infotainment and Bluetooth telephony. There are extra 12V power and USB charging sockets, a trip computer, cruise control and a wireless charging pad too.
Our tester packed the venerable 85 kW 144 Nm naturally aspirated 1497 cc four-pot that now gains trick valve timing and two petrol injectors per cylinder. Driving the front axle via a 6-speed Intelligent chain belt and pulley constantly variable transmission, Creta has McPherson strut front and coupled torsion beam rear suspension.
As its media info promises, Creta is ‘solid and surefooted’ on most road surfaces. That said, its dynamics are still nothing to write home about, while performance is much of a muchness over the older one. It seems Hyundai’s N Performance genes are taking a bit if time to bleed across to India, where this one’s built. Not that such issues make any difference to its mom’s taxi FUV role. But what if dad wants a go?
IT CERTAINLY GAINS SOPHISTICATION
One area where this latest Creta certainly makes forward strides, is in ride comfort and sophistication. Altogether quieter on the road, it’s thus more serene to drive in. Blame that on a raft of enhanced noise, vibration and harshness measures from improved engine mountings to redesigned engine intake and exhaust manifolds, increased body rigidity and industrial-strength adhesives to augment those spot welds.
Creta packs a reasonable safety package with front, side and curtain airbags, 3-point pretensioner inertia reel seat belts with ISOFIX child seat attachments, electronic stability control, hill-start assist and a tyre pressure monitoring. And it packs one hell of a warranty and service plan all-in at a pretty darn reasonable R434K right now.
NOT QUITE NEUVILLE. BUT IT DOES THE JOB
All in all, it will turn heads and the new Hyundai Creta goes on to deliver in spades when it comes to quirky style and sophistication. It’s not going to make you feel like Thierry Neuville though, but it certainly does fit the bill when it comes to an FUV and a mom’s taxi. Especially in this bottom of the Executive line-up get-up… – Michele Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Hyundai Creta 1.5 Executive Engine: 85 kW 144 Nm 1.5-litre petrol I4 Drive: CVT FWD TESTED: 0-60 km/h: 5.12 sec 0-100 km/h: 11.47 sec 0-160 km/h: 31.34 sec 400m: 17.5 sec @ 127 km/h 80-120 km/h: 8.07 sec 120-160 km/h: 14.98 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 170 km/h Fuel: 6.3 l/100 km Tank Range: 785 km CO2: 149 g/km Warranty/Service: 7y 200K/4y 60K km LIST PRICE: R432K RATED: 8