Review: Creta makes diesel look good

We’re made to believe that diesel vehicles are bad for the planet. That hybrid and fully electric vehicles (EVs) are the way forward. Now, I’m certain that there are premises for these statements and findings, but the truth of the matter is that those kind of vehicles are just too out of reach for most South Africans.

In a Utopian future where the masses can afford such niche vehicles, hybrids and EVs would be everyone’s choice by default. It would be unwise to discount the advantages these vehicles have both on your wallet and the environment, but we do not live in that Utopian future (yet) and we have to make due with what’s on offer right now. We have to take care of our wallets and the future with the vehicles that are currently in the South African car pool.

If you want an electric vehicle, you’ll have to fork out at least R650 000. So in the South African context the best alternative would be to look at vehicles a bit lower down the price scale; at something that’s a bit more attainable and won’t do too much damage at the gas station. And that’s where the diesel-powered Hyundai Creta comes in.

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Image: Charlen Raymond

Fixing her up

Priced at R420 900, this 1.6-litre is the only diesel model in Hyundai’s revised Creta range, and like the two petrol models, it too is only available in Executive trim. This means that the Creta is equipped with a host of features to not only make it relevant in the market, but to give it the best possible value for money.

When Hyundai brought the revised range to South Africa in the second half of 2018, the crossover still had the familiar traits we’ve come to recognise it by. The upright position, the compact diameters, and striking headlights all remained. But Hyundai did position daytime-running LEDs around the fog lights on the front bumper and made the grille a tad more aggressive.

Though this crossover is well-specified, Hyundai could have tinted the rear windows for a bit of privacy.

Punchy engine

The Creta’s diesel engine offers a very respectable 94kW and 260Nm of torque, but the latter is available quite high up the rev range at 2700rpm. Though the engine does not require a mash on the throttle to get any response out of it, having that torque available lower down the revs would surely allow for the next gear to be hooked quicker rather than later.

A six-speed automatic gearbox sends power to the front wheels and is there always an adequate amount of torque available to keep the gear you’re in when on the open road. Testament of this is when at the foot of a hill, I came to a complete standstill before setting off again. Soon after upon reaching 120km/h in sixth gear, I engaged cruise control and the SUV continued to scale the incline at the set speed without the need to cog down a gear.

Read: Hyundai brings Limited Edition Creta to SA

The ease with which the Creta’s diesel engine moves ensures that Hyundai’s claim of a 7.4 L/100km fuel return is not only met, but beaten. At one point, after a 300km drive, average fuel consumption was rated at 5.8 L/100km, at a constant speed of 110km/h. At the end of the test period and 2300km covered, the on-board computer gave a reading of 7.0 L/100km.

That is impressive in anyone’s books. Having to deal with peak traffic, the open road, and the occasional mountain pass, the Creta proved itself a worthy contender. And it made a strong case for itself against the call for hybrid and EV vehicles.

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Image: Charlen Raymond

In summary

Hyundai’s product offensive the last decade or so has been a monumental turnaround for the Korean manufacturer. Its vehicles can compete against the best Germany has to offer at a fraction of the price. Not only are Hyundai’s vehicles well-built and offering very good value for money, but the vehicles are practical, too. It’s hard in this day and age to discount Hyundai and its vehicles, and the Creta diesel is prove of that.

South Africa’s economy is taking a beating and the fuel price is set to increase again, and it’s in such times that you’d want something to accommodate your wallet. The Creta diesel does that. A few hundred bucks should see the fuel tank go from empty to full in no time and you can easily squeeze 700 to 800km out of it – depending on your driving style. The Creta also does not forego any of the niceties you’d expect from a R420k vehicle and is there ample of comfort for you and your passengers.

Hyundai’s got a winner on its hands and should this little crossover find favour amongst many.

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Image: QuickPic