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REVIEW | Fuel-sipping Hyundai Grand Creta hits a sweet spot for families

The R509,900 Hyundai Grand Creta 1.5d Executive is a roomy and frugal seven-seater. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
The R509,900 Hyundai Grand Creta 1.5d Executive is a roomy and frugal seven-seater. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

Buyers seeking a family-sized SUV with three rows of seats have until recently faced the choice of modestly-powered cars in the R200,000-R300,000 category, or more premium models costing above R650,000.

Hyundai’s seven-seat Grand Creta has arrived as a new “middle management” option to plug the gap, in a range of five models priced between R450,000-R550,000. The Grand Creta hits a sweet spot in terms of price and power, for those whose budgets don’t stretch to Hyundai’s seven-seat Santa Fe which retails for between R800,000-R900,000.

With a choice of 2.0l petrol and 1.5l turbo diesel derivatives, the Grand Creta has enough vooma to lug mini soccer teams around the suburbs during the week, and to serve as a long-distance family hauler come holiday time.

To accommodate its third seating row the Grand Creta was stretched to 4,500mm, which is 200mm longer than the regular five-seat Creta. Versatility is the vehicle’s trump card and the seats can be configured for varying passenger/cargo loads. 

Smart-looking cabin is inviting and has many modcons. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Smart-looking cabin is inviting and has many modcons. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

The third row can fit a pair of adults at a squeeze but it’s ideally suited to children. The middle row can be adjusted for legroom and backrest angle, while the middle and rear rows can be folded flat. With all seats in place the compact 180l boot swallows a modest amount, but the cargo area can be expanded to a cavernous 1,670l.

The seats are easy to fold with well thought-out levers and pull cords that are simple to use, with minimal risk of squashed fingers.

All three rows have their own ventilation controls and USB phone-charging ports, ensuring family contentment inside the spacious cabin.

There is hard plastic on the dashboard instead of soft-touch surfaces, but it’s nevertheless a classy ambience with a neat and well kept look. The attractive artificial leather dual-tone seats are a highlight and do much to raise the upmarket look and feel of the interior.

The dashboard is tidy and uncluttered, with a handful of easy-to-find ventilation controls, while the infotainment is controlled by a colour touchscreen.

The top Grand Creta model is the R559,900 Elite which comes fully loaded with a digital instrument cluster, ventilated front seats with an electronically adjustable drivers seat, interior mood lighting and folding seat-back tables in the second row. It also has automatic climate control, second-row seat curtains, push button start, an electronic parking brake and a panoramic glass sunroof.

If you can live without those fancy features, the next model down is the one on test: the R509,900 Hyundai Grand Creta 1.5d Executive. For R50,000 less it still comes with a bountiful supply of features including keyless entry, wireless smartphone charging, cruise control, a rear parking camera and manual air-conditioning. Infotainment is provided by an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

Rear two rows can be configured for varying loads of passengers or cargo. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Rear two rows can be configured for varying loads of passengers or cargo. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

Safety is generous throughout the Grand Creta range and includes six airbags, rear Isofix child seat anchors, ABS brakes, hill-hold assist, a tyre pressure monitor and stability control.

The 1.5l turbo diesel engine is a little gem, providing gutsy performance while running on the smell of an oil rag. It’s powerful enough to lug the proverbial mini soccer team and two Jack Russells. Paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine musters 85kW and 250Nm and is a willing unit that cruises with little effort and accelerates with fair gusto, especially in sport mode which provides a more responsive throttle.

Its best feature is its frugality, and the diesel test car sipped just 5.7l / 100km, even less than the factory-quoted 6.5l, though most of our driving was admittedly without passengers.

With fuel prices what they are the diesel seems to be a better option than the petrol Grand Creta which is powered by a 2.0l normally aspirated engine with outputs of 117kW and 191Nm and a claimed consumption of 8.5l / 100km. The petrol and diesel models are both quoted with the same performance figures: 0-100km/h in 10.5 seconds and a 190km/h top speed.

The Grand Creta is an easy-to-drive car with good visibility and tidy road manners. It has a cushy ride combined with clean and predictable handling. Being a front-wheel drive this Korean crossover has no off-road aspirations but its elevated 200mm ride height and high-profile tyres aren’t shy to take on gravel roads.

Raised ground clearance and skid plates create an SUV vibe in the front-wheel drive car. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Raised ground clearance and skid plates create an SUV vibe in the front-wheel drive car. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

The Grand Creta has no direct competition and occupies a middle spot in the growing seven-seater SUV segment. It is a more powerful and premium car than budget family haulers like the Suzuki Ertiga, Mitsubishi Xpander and Toyota Rumion, but offers good value against more expensive rivals such as the VW Tiguan Allspace.

With its practicality, good haul of features, and punchy and economical performance, it’s a great all-rounder for growing families.

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four cylinder diesel turbo

Capacity: 1.5l

Power: 85kW

Torque: 250Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed Auto

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Front-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

Top speed: 190km/h

0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds (claimed)

Fuel consumption: 6.5l/100km (claimed), 5.7l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 148g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

Keyless entry, wireless smartphone charging, touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay & Android Auto, cruise control, rear parking camera, air-conditioning, auto on/off headlights, artificial leather upholstery, ABS brakes, six airbags, stability control, tyre pressure monitoring, electric windows, electric mirrors, LED daytime running lights

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Seven years/200,000km

Service plan: Four years/60,000km

Price: R509,900

Lease*: R10,928 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months, no deposit

Hyundai Grand Creta 1.5d Executive

WE LIKE: Fuel consumption, practicality

WE DISLIKE: Third row is tight for adults

VERDICT: One of the best “affordable” family SUVs

Motor News star rating

Design * * * *

Performance * * * *

Economy * * * * *

Ride * * * *

Handling * * * *

Safety * * * * *

Value For Money * * * * 

Overall * * * * *

The competition

Mitsubishi Xpander 1.5, 77kW/141Nm — R311,995

Toyota Rumion 1.5 TX auto, 77kW/138Nm — R333,200

VW Tiguan Allspace 1.4TSI 110kW Life, 110kW/250Nm — R671,700


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