Johannesburg - A wave of renewal has swept across Hyundai's SUV line-up, with facelifted versions of the Creta and Tucson both having been launched in South Africa this week - and there's more to come.
The trendy new Kona crossover, which will slot above the Creta and compete with the Toyota C-HR, is set for local launch in October, while the all-new Santa Fe is on course for November.
But back to the here and now, the compact Creta and its larger Tucson sibling have both received an exterior facelift while the latter also gets a redesigned interior and a reshuffled line-up.
Like all recently launched Hyundai models, the MY18 Creta (right) gets a version of the brand’s ‘Cascading’ family grille, in this case surrounded by chrome and joining the headlights.
You’ll also tell the new model apart by resigned bumpers front and rear as well as new taillights.
There’s not much to distinguish it on the inside, except for a redesigned 20cm touchscreen infotainment system, which is standard along with leather seats, cruise control, rear park assist with reverse camera, multifunction steering wheel, electric folding mirrors six airbags and alloy wheels. Satnav is offered as a R2522 option.
Drivetrain options continue as before in the form of a normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol rated at 90kW and 150Nm, and a turbodiesel of the same capacity, and offering 94kW and 260Nm.
We drove the latter on a variety of roads on its Gauteng launch this week, including some dirt stretches, and its ride quality and general refinement proved impressive, and there is enough power to cruise comfortably and overtake on the open tar stretches.
1.6 Executive manual
1.6 Executive auto
1.6 TD Executive auto
As far as exterior tinkering goes, it’s a similar deal to the Creta here, with a larger and more sharply shaped Cascading Grille to go with the redesigned bumper.
Subtler revisions set it apart at the back, among them new taillights and a wider licence plate housing.
Inside the dashboard has been redesigned, with horizontal central air vents sitting below a new 18cm touchscreen infotainment system - featuring Apple CarPlay - that now juts out above the dashboard. The new design and materials give the cabin a classier appearance that is sure to elevate its status in this cut-throat segment.
Hyundai has also rejigged the Tucson range, with the all-wheel-drive option falling away and the 1.7-litre turbodiesel motor being discontinued. Buyers still have the choice of two petrol motors - a normally aspirated 2-litre with 115kW and 196Nm and a 1.6-litre turbo with 130kW and 265Nm - and a 2-litre turbodiesel that’s good for 131kW and 400Nm.
Two new mid-spec Executive derivatives join the range, in 2.0 petrol and 2.0 turbodiesel guises, both with automatic transmission.
'Premium' is still the base grade, and it comes with manual air conditioning, the aforementioned touchscreen, cruise control, reverse camera and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Executive adds auto climate control, leather seats, blind spot detection and rear traffic alert. The range-topping Elite (shown above) gains a moonroof, LED headlights and push-button start among other spec additions.
While the Creta proved ‘impressive’ on the open road, the Tucson was something closer to exceptional. Its noise suppression levels and bump absorption are befitting of a far more premium vehicle and the Tucson also felt surprisingly surefooted through the bends, with less lean than you’d expect from an SUV.
The 1.6-litre turbo engine in the Elite variant that we sampled felt particularly punchy, while the smooth-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox brought out the best in it.
Impressive as it is, the Tucson has become fairly pricey, however, no doubt also due to rand weakness.
2.0 Premium manual
2.0 Premium auto
2.0 Executive auto
2.0 Elite auto
1.6 T Elite auto
2.0 TD Executive auto
Both the Creta and Tucson are sold with a five-year/150 000 general warranty - extending to seven years or 200 000km for the powertrain - as well as a five-year/90 000km service plan.