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Frugal new Hyundai Grand Creta is practical, but not..

Published Jul 18, 2022


Cape Town – Hyundai certainly has some magic under the bonnets of their cars. Their engines are capable, quiet and seem to be able to run off the whisper of a rumour of fuel.

Take the Hyundai Grand Creta 1.5D for example. When I had IOL’s test model delivered, it was sitting on an average of 6.5l/100km. I took it down to 5.5 – a car this large should not be using so little fuel. It beggars belief!

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And the diesel engine is both quiet and smooth. Yes, under hard acceleration you’re going to hear it moan a little, but this is not a car you’re going to be accelerating hard in (unless you’re in Sport mode, but more about that later).

But let’s start with what the Grand Creta is. It’s… well… it’s an SUV/Crossover of sorts. It’s got seven seats, but I’d bet big money against anyone (even children under the age of 6) who could sit in them for longer than half an hour. Not for a lack of amenities, by the way the third row of seats has its own climate controls, USB ports, drinks holders, stowage space AND three-point seatbelts, which is more you can say for the middle seat in the second row. But because there is just nowhere to put your legs. Headroom there is aplenty. But you’d need to sit side-saddle if you want your legs in there.

Even with the second row of seats on rails so they can be moved forward to accommodate passengers in the third row, you’ll struggle to get humans in the back there. And of course, your boot practically disappears, with enough space for maybe a laptop and gym bag.

But you’re not going to want to keep your laptop in the boot anyway – there’s no parcel shelf to hide your goodies from prying eyes, although the privacy glass does help a smidge.

@lancethewit10 Things I love and hate about the @hyundaisa Grand Creta #motoring #carsoftiktok #review #BonnetsAndBoots #petrolhead ♬ original sound - Lance Witten450

Once that third row of seats is folded flat though, you’re in the pound seats. With the massive panoramic sunroof unsheathed, the third row of seats hidden in the floor and the open road calling that thrifty, willing little diesel motor, you’ll never want to stop driving. Unless, of course, the sun is out.

The two-tone interior dash is very pretty to look at, even with the faux “stitching” on the softer-touch plastics, the glare against the windscreen is harsh enough to affect your visibility badly. It’s right in your line of sight, obscuring your view. And beyond those softer-touch surfaces, almost everything else is hard. The arm rest is hard. The door panels are hard. The interior handles feel a bit like the cheaper plastics you wouldn’t expect on a car that costs half a bar.

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Where your money is going is the incredibly comfortable faux leather seats (which come with a cooling, but not a heating function), that massive sunroof (totally worth it), and one of the most effortless drives you’ll experience in such a high-riding vehicle.

Between the three modes – Eco, Comfort, and Sport – there is a marked difference in performance, with Eco giving you far less gees, and Sport delaying the gear changes with a more free-revving and spirited gusto.

@lisacharles1 Perfect cruise car for a mini road trip for the day 😊 #roadtrippin #cruise #Grandcreta #hyundai ♬ Claire De Lune - Piano – Nicholas York

Apart from that useless third row of seats, it is an incredibly spacious and airy interior. A really lovely place to be, honestly. A wireless charging pad, airline-style tray tables behind the front seats, rear-view camera and all-round parking distance control are all standard in the top-of-the-range 1.5D Elite AT (which in July, 2022 was retailing at R568 900).

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The bottom of the range 2.0 Executive MT (6 speed) sells for R456 900, but you’ll have to do without the gorgeous sunroof, ambient mood lighting (who needs that anyway), climate control (you get regular aircon instead), privacy glass, those fancy rear passenger pull-up curtains you use to keep the plebs from looking in and you get a smaller LCD instrument cluster.

There are just the two trim levels – Executive and Elite – with just one manual and four models fitted with 6-speed autos.

But you want that sunroof that’s only available on the two Elite models. And for that, you’re paying either R547 900 (2.0 petrol) or R568 900 (1.5 diesel). And if what you were looking for was a car with seven seats, there are far better options that’ll cost up to R200k less. And if what you were looking for was an SUV with a fancy sunroof, there are far better looking options also for around R200k less.

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The Hyundai Grand Creta truly does occupy a unique space, however, I can’t help but think it’s a little too niche. If you wanted a Hyundai SUV, you’d do better picking up a Tucson for around the same money. And if you really want this Hyundai because of the third row of seats? Don’t. They’re not worth it.