As a motoring journalist, you can become quite blasé about vehicles when your job is to test many models and makes each week. (I know, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!) Once in a while though, a manufacturer hits the sweet spot, where design, comfort, driving experience and affordability merge.
The original Creta model launched in South Africa five years ago and now a larger 7-seater family member has been added to the range. It is available in Executive and Elite models and comes with two powertrains that include a 2-litre Smartstream MPi engine and a Smartstream 1,5-litre diesel CRDi engine with options of a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission.
All derivatives are driven through the front wheels. The petrol engine’s maximum power output is 117 kW at 6 500 r/min., and peak torque output of 191 Nm is delivered at 4 500 r/min. From the turbodiesel engine comes 85 kW maximum power at 4 000 r/min. and peak torque of 250 Nm between 1 500 and 2 750 r/min.
At first glance, the updated exterior has a sculpted and chiselled look which makes it appear strong yet elegant at the same time. The eye-catching front grille is part of this aggressive look and the LED headlights that run during the daytime complete the front appearance.
The double sunroof in the Elite model is a winner as well as the added digital display. The two-tone black and light grey interior is stylish, comfortable and very practical. Even if you’re seated in the rear seats of the third row, there is still plenty of room and you even have your own air vents to make sure you are kept cool.
All the mod-cons that are expected in the latest models are at your fingertips as you experience the driving comfort from behind the wheel. An infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen and connectivity for Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto forms part of standard luxury features across the range, as well as a steering wheel with multi-function buttons for the sound system and cruise control. Wireless charging in the centre console for smart phones is a standard feature across the range.
Several active safety features combine with static safety equipment such as frontal and side airbags for the driver and front passenger and two curtain airbags. Among the SmartSense active safety features are front and rear Park Assist for the Elite derivatives (front only for Executive level); Hill-Start Assist Control that prevents roll-back; and an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) for all versions.
There are several modes to choose from for ease of driving – snow, mud and sand modes. It’s also extremely quiet in the cabin as a lot of sound deadening material has been added to create a sophisticated atmosphere. Prices start at R449 900 and include a 4-year/60 000km service plan and a 7-year/200 000km manufacturer’s warranty.
By Claire Macfie