Positioning it below the Tucson, Hyundai have unveiled the all-new Creta SUV. This goes on sale in the Indian market, and bookings have already commenced. The Creta SUV will be manufactured in India at Hyundai's Chennai plant, and exported to other countries as well. Comparable in dimension to a Renault Duster/Nissan Terrano, the Creta is based on the i20 hatch back. You can compare certain bits with the i20 active (the way they look from the rear, mainly), however this is an all new effort, that sells as the Hyundai ix25 in other markets Dimensions - Length x Width x Height - 4270x1780x1630 mm The Duster/Terrano is comparable at - 4315x1822x1695 mm and the Ford EcoSport falls shorter at - 3999x1765x1708 However the wheelbase of the Creta is between the two current segment leaders, about 80mm short of the Duster. What the Creta does bring to the segment, is additional features/offerings, that were not present or too pricey on the rivals. Some features should be made standard by now, but since the others do not have it, it is a good opportunity to tout them, like Rear A/C, Reverse camera, navigation etc etc. Personally, having seen the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, the Mitsubishi ASX, Renault Captur, Kia Sportage etc, the Hyundai Creta does make a lot of sense for the Indian market. It is not as humongous as the current crop of Indian SUVs (Scorpio, Safari, XUV etc). Offers much better refinement and reliability. Should not be overly expensive to maintain and operate. Moreover, given a choice, Hyundai does command a better brand image vs the rest. Now if only they could do something about their after sales service and it would be great. The above shot is of the i20 active, which might feel cannibalized, due to the better SUV claims laid by the Creta. Though they both appear strikingly similar, and run similar power trains as well, the Creta does the SUV role better, with better ground clearance, bigger muscular front grille, and bigger wheels that look the part. Here's the Creta. And here's the i20 Active. Note the similarities? It was mentioned on the final Top Gear episode that aired this Sunday on June 28th, that studies estimate, in the coming years, more than 50% of all small segment sales would be Sports Utility Vehicles. And the reasons vary from the image they portray, to the higher visibility to higher safety in the event of a collision etc etc. Speaking of which, Hyundai's press release on the Creta mentions - "SAFE AND RIGID BODY The body shell of CRETA has been designed and developed with advanced engineering techniques and usage of high quality material like ultra-high tensile steel so as to ensure best in class body rigidity, structural strength and crash performance. The ' Hive Structure' of CRETA offers a robust yet lightweight body structure with strong dynamics and enhanced safety. The body shell of CRETA scores high on overall strength and rigidity and is set to be a new benchmark for this segment. The CRETA features a revolutionary ultra-high tensile steel body structure that enables the SUV to significantly enhance both performance and efficiency. The robust SUV benefits protection in all directions from the "Ring-Shaped Frames". Each pillar, including the centre pillar, body side frames and bottom are positioned in a ring-like layout, all connected to form a protective shell. The ring-structure frame design realizes a significant increase in body stiffness, which contributes to more precise handling while maintaining excellent ride quality. This enhances safety and protection by adding strength, rigidity and durability. The CRETA has outstanding NVH characteristics by the use of enhanced sound absorption materials and improved engineering design of engine, transmission and body structural parts. Multiple measures have been taken to contain NVH to barely perceptible trace levels like higher thickness of dash panel, anti-vibration pads on floor panel, optimization of central floor tunnel area rigidity etc. "Hive Structure" benefits & Highlights: • High Body rigidity with ring structure design for enhanced structural safety, improved durability , ride & handling and improved crash performance • Enhanced body endurance & crash performance comprising high proportion of Advanced High Strength steel (AHSS) & Ultra High Strength Steel (UHSS) • Reinforced roof structure with multiple cross members for enhanced strength and more loading capacity • Improved crash performance both frontal & side with addition of dash cross member, use of larger diameter weld joints & use of reinforced side members having tailor welded beams (TW on door panels • Front end bolted type modular structure to reduce the maintenance cost • Low NVH with detail optimization of dash panel, center floor tunnel, anti-vibration pads and dash insulators. All in all, the Creta should offer better standards of safety, especially considering that it is being offered with 6 airbags in the higher variants. The Creta should be offered with 3 engine options, a 1.6 petrol (that does duty in the Verna as well) at 123 BHP with a 5 speed manual gearbox. A 1.6 Diesel, that puts out 128 PS of power, and will be mated to a 6 speed Manual and an Auto option would available. The good bits about the Diesel is that peak power is made at a lowly 4000 RPM, and the torque (250 Nm) is available between 1900-2750 RPM, which should make driving a delight. There is another 1.4 Diesel engine, that puts out 90 BHP, and is right on track to take the Diesel fight to the segment. This perhaps is the one that many would consider buying, looking at our aversion to petrol SUVs. The Creta would only be offered in FWD only, so the Duster still has that optional AWD claim to stake. Personally looking at the roads/traffic situation, the Creta makes for an ideal choice of Sports vehicle for me. However considering that I would be looking at 4x4 activity if I end up buying one, the Duster 4x4 might just be the variant to go for. Otherwise there's always the Mahindra Thar. Priced between 7.5-13 Lakhs, Hyundai has gone everything pretty much spot on with the Creta. How this affects sales, we should know by Diwali.