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Creating a second wave of excitement

S.Muralidhar | Updated on February 13, 2020 Published on February 13, 2020

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The 2020 model of Hyundai’s mid-size SUV will be launched next month. Can Creta claw back its share of the pie?

Launched five years ago, the Hyundai Creta was timed to perfection, coming in just before the big explosion in demand for mid-size sport utility vehicles in India. The white Creta has since become ubiquitous in most of our cities and towns and the vehicle has gone on to reach record numbers selling over 6.5 lakh units worldwide. But at the same time, the competition has picked up steam bringing in their own, making this one of the most active segments in the passenger car industry. Many of these including the Kia Seltos, the other Hyundai Group brand’s mid-size SUV that was launched late last year and has already made a mark for itself, have all contributed towards the evolution of buyers in the segment. The Creta reigned supreme for a while, but competitors have since caught up and the Seltos in particular has taken the sheen off the Hyundai SUV and it was time for the pack leader to react. That is what Hyundai did last week at the Auto Expo showcasing the 2020 Creta with the Badshah of Bollywood and corporate brand ambassador Shahrukh Khan unveiling the new model.

The new, second-generation Hyundai Creta is built on the same platform as the Kia Seltos. It’s design is significantly different to the outgoing model; to that extent this is not really a facelift, and more a mid-cycle modification. Last month, I got behind the wheel of the Hyundai Palisade for a shot spin at the company’s sprawling proving grounds near Edwards Airforce base just outside Los Angeles, California. The Palisade is the brand’s flagship SUV and is currently only available for left-hand drive markets. This is a hulk that competes with some of the biggest trucks and SUVs in the highly competitive US market; and it is so popular that Hyundai isn’t able to make enough to meet the demand.

The new Creta sees a ‘Palisade-ification’ of its design with striking similarities at the front of the vehicle. The new larger and deeper bonnet grille, the boomerang shaped LED DRLs and slim LED headlamps with the cube cluster main lights give it a completely new look at the front. The flared wheel arches which have been carved out of the body panels and the other chiseled panels with deep new creases add dollops of character to the new Creta. But whether the design language will be universally liked is still a question mark. The rear of the 2020 model is the only part of the vehicle with a design that is, in my view, pleasingly complex and interesting. The tail-lamp LED combination is split in two with section of striated bands at the lower half and thin brake lights at the top half. They are split by what looks like an extension of the tailgate garnish. The roof spoiler, the roof rails and the flying C-pillar garnish gives the new Creta a lot of character when viewed from the rear three-quarter angle.

Hyundai has confirmed that the new Creta will be offered with options like a panoramic sunroof, BlueLink 1.5 connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels etc.

Powertrain options are all likely to be the ones that we have already seen in the previous Creta and the ones in the Seltos, with minor tweaks to improve output. This means that the 1.4-litre turbo petrol will be offered and may be even with the 6-speed manual and the 7-speed dual clutch gearboxes.

All the powertrains, including the diesel, will meet the new BS VI emission norms. Hyundai is expected to boost the amount of equipment offered in the new Creta including stuff like a larger touchscreen infotainment system, auto climate control and cooled seats for the cabin. Prices are unlikely to be increased so you can expect the trim range to be offered within the ₹10- 17 lakh band.

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Published on February 13, 2020
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