Poised, polished, sophisticated and classy, the Hyundai Creta calmly seated itself on the throne of the compact SUV segment when it came to the scene back in 2015. Knowing how intensely competitive this segment was, what the Hyundai Creta accomplished was impressive.

Despite the competition, the Creta was able to make a terrific impact. So much so, that it crunched some serious numbers in the sales department, which is pretty evident from how often you see one of these in the Nepali roads. 3 years later, the compact SUV segment is still very popular. And with new rivals like the Jeep Compass coming into contention, finding the right formula to stay on top of the compact SUV segment is a tough nut to crack.

Luckily, it looks like Hyundai has come out with an answer in the form of a facelift for the Creta. They’ve listened to the feedback of its audience and given the facelifted Creta some valuable changes visually, with both the exterior and interior receiving contemporary changes.

EXTERIOR

The Hyundai Creta has always been a looker; the robust, slightly boxy design language screams of masculinity and goes a long way in giving it the appeal of a proper SUV. Hyundai made the right move by deciding against the popular notion of cramming the compact SUV under the 4-meter mark. Overall, they’ve stuck to the same urban styling for the Creta but with some improvements in the 2018 avatar.

Up front is where you’ll find the biggest change, where the grille has been slightly tweaked and fitted with a new cascade grille. The hexagonal front grille wears a thick chrome border and silver horizontal slats. The bi-focal projector headlamps (on the top spec models) look splendid and the DRLs wrapping the pilot lamps on the vertical bumper inserts is an eccentric design that gives more character to the front fascia of the new Creta.

The side profile remains sleek with the 17- inch diamond cut alloys stylishly carrying the Hyundai Creta. The chrome finish on the door handles, the prominent shoulder line, and side body cladding give it some extra flare. If you look closely, you will also notice that the raised roof rails have been replaced with ones that have a flusher fit.

Around the rear, the stylish split tail lamps fit well with the overall design but there isn’t a lot of other changes to talk about here.

INTERIOR

It’s when you step inside that the changes really become more evident. The base E trim retains its standard safety features, like dual-front airbags and ABS; but now the seat gets height adjust and a front sliding armrest. However, things get more exciting in the higher spec models. The smart electric sunroof, wireless phone charger, 6-way power driver seat adjustment, and cruise control are segment firsts and go a long way to re-establish the premium stature of the Hyundai Creta.

It is a spacious affair in the cabin, with plenty of space for all occupants. The dash is beautifully laid out. The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto and Navigation. Then there’s a wearable device, on offer, too. The SX(O) variant comes with a fitness band, which doubles up as a smart key. It is a great looking accessory and serves several utility purposes too.

The car can be opened & started by just wearing this band on your wrist (no need for the key). It also displays the time, has an alarm and functions as a sleep monitor, step counter & calorie counter. It’ll show incoming calls as well. This is a first-in-segment feature and we can definitely see ourselves wearing this on a daily basis.

PERFORMANCE

Inside the bonnet, there aren’t many changes. We drove the tried and tested 1.6L Dual VTVT Petrol engine and it pretty much performed how we expected it to. It is a smooth revving engine that is perfect for driving around in the city. Having said that, it isn’t an overtly eager mill. It’s not like a misbehaved dog, panting hard, taut at the leash, and constantly trying to yank you forward. The Creta is more obedient, happy to follow your commands, eagerly ready to go on a swift run if you want to.

The Hyundai Creta is a calm and composed machine on the road, but you’re not going to find yourself wanting to get into any impromptu races with other drivers; which is fine.

We don’t see ourselves planting our foot to the floor when driving the Creta. There’s more elegance to the affair, more finesse, more luxury. The seats are plush and there is plenty of room in the cabin so you’re more free to move. Very little noise seeps into the cabin when you’re driving and the suspension setup works well to soak up the road undulations.

Even the larger bumps fail to send the Creta into disarray. You can slick the gear into their slots with buttery smoothness and enjoy the supple ride quality. When you have to stop at an incline you don’t have to rush your feet into action, the hill start assist control steps in to help. The electronic stability control gets involved when there is little traction. All in all, it’s a car that strives to make your life easier.

VERDICT

It was never easy to dethrone the Creta and Hyundai have made doubly sure of that with the facelift. The list of segment first features such as the very-welcome sunroof, wireless charging, and power seat adjusters are the exclamation points that reiterate its position as a luxurious proposition for the Nepali automotive segment. And it does just that. The Hyundai Creta takes the needless effort out from your daily life so that you’re more at ease. It’s a car that will help you relax and take your mind off things while you go to work.

Rest assured, the Hyundai Creta facelift still impresses. Like its predecessor, it is a premium compact SUV but with more flair and pizzazz that has successfully put a spring to Hyundai’s step. And from the looks of it, potential buyers are also peppier with this offering. Priced at Rs.529600 it isn’t a steal, but you get what you pay for in terms of the features and experience you get from driving the Hyundai Creta.