Comparison test: Hyundai Creta vs Renault Captur
When it was launched back in 2012, the Renault Duster enjoyed an unrivalled run in the compact SUV segment, thanks to the better equipment and sophistication it offered over the likes of the Mahindra Scorpio. But the Hyundai Creta came in, set a new benchmark in those attributes and swept the market off its feet. So much so that it not only bagged the Car of Year award for 2015, but also stirred up so much demand that Hyundai could unapologetically increase prices on the Creta and still enjoy long queues at its dealerships. To prevent the tasty pie from slipping away into Hyundai's lap in its entirety, Renault decided to up its game and introduce the Captur a more stylish alternative to the Duster, but at a more compelling price tag than the Creta. Is that enough to dethrone Hyundai's top selling SUV though? Let us find out.
We will begin with the Creta, since it is the newer one of the two, thanks to its recent midlife makeover. The Creta's draw has always been its upright stance which makes it more SUV-ish in profile and that is accentuated further with the facelift that comprises of the chunkier bumpers, new vertical daytime running lamps up front and beefier scuff plates.
The mid-life makeover gives the Creta a more stylish stance that bumps up its premium look and feel
The taillights could have done with a LED treatment for the kind of price the Creta demands
Contributing further to its new aggressive stance are the redesigned diamond-cut alloy wheels. Hyundai has also thrown in new color options in the palette to add to the appeal and as before, the finish of the paint is one of the best in this class.
The Creta's facelift shouldn't faze the Captur though. It borrows the chic, swooping design from its namesake in Europe and pairs it with the low-cost, proven underpinnings of the Duster.
In typical, French quirkiness, the Captur looks stylish in its own way
The LED DRLs look a bit gawky, but the taillights look great with that ripple-effect detailing
It's wedge-shaped form and the shouty Renault logo on the nose tend to polarize the buyers, but the Captur has a distinctive design that is appealing its own way. I particularly like the bold detailing of all its lighting elements. The squat stance, that it gets courtesy of the low roofline and flared wheel arches, looks quite menacing. Going with the current trend, the Captur also offers interesting dual tone paint schemes and the overall fit and finish is quite premium.
Sadly, the same can't be said about the Captur's cabin. The scratchy plastics that we agreed to turn a blind eye to in the cost-conscious Duster, seem low-rent in the more sophisticated alternative that the Captur wants to be.
The Captur's cabin is reminiscent of the Duster's look and feel
The bezel for the infotainment has an unusual, but likeable dark gold finish to it
The butterfly shaped instrumentation is easy to read and looks more premium than its counterpart in the Duster
The layout of the dashboard elements could have been more ergonomic too. The instrumentation looks quite funky and is easy to read. The infotainment has a similar layout to the other Media-NAV units from Renault, but the Captur's unit is slicker.
The seats are fairly large, firmly cushioned and comfortable on long distance journeys. The lower roofline, however, can rob the cabin of its headroom for taller passengers. We would recommend choosing fabric upholstery for the seating as the faux leather upholstery of the Captur retains heat for longer.
The Creta is the roomier car of the two and its cabin design feels more premium and purpose-built than the Captur. Head, knee and legroom is better in the Creta in all of its seats. The Creta has a less intrusive A-pillar that makes for better visibility for the driver. The instrumentation and the steering controls vary as per the model you choose, but all the displays are easy to read and all controls are intuitive. The Creta also boasts of a slicker, crisper and more feature rich infotainment system with an IPS screen and is mated to significantly better audio unit than the Captur.
The fit and finish inside the Creta is a class benchmark and now it has the equipment to match
The infotainment now gets a new colour scheme and the OS is a newer version too
The seats are more supportive with better conturing, however, the cushioning is on the softer side and can be induce more fatigue on longer journeys. I would have also liked ventilated front seats at this price point.
The cooling performance of the Creta's cabin is one of the best in class
The Creta now comes with an optional sunroof for the front passengers
That said, of the two cars, the Creta's cabin has a better feel-good factor and new features like wireless charging, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, and powered adjustments for the driver's seat, give the Creta a clear edge over the Captur.
Both the cars are quite closely matched on safety features. Front airbags, ABS and isofix child seat anchorages are standard across the range. The higher variants get you up to four airbags in the Captur and six in the Creta. The Captur counters that deficit with automatic headlamps and wipers.
Ride and Handling
The Captur's Duster derived underpinnings are a blessing in disguise. The Renault authoritatively tackles potholes and imperfections in the road and has a hint of firmness in its ride, that is typically European. Hit the twisties though and you realise that the Captur too has the prominent kickback at the steering when you chuck it into a bend. That is not only unnerving and cumbersome, but also makes the car understeer-y around tighter bends. While the Duster has a similar shortcoming, Renault had reduced the kickback by a great extent in the AWD variant and hopefully that should be the solution for the Captur too. That said, despite the lack of an AWD setup, the Captur loves taking on off-road trails and rocky terrain and fairs impressively too. So if adventure touring is going to be high priority for you, the Captur is your car over the Creta.
Not that the Creta is a dud off the road - after all, it left us mighty impressed in 2015 when we drove the car from Kashmir to Kanyakumari through some rough terrain. But to be fair, it isn't meant to go off the black top and doesn't inspire the same confidence as the Captur when the terrain goes loose. It does come close to the Captur in terms of ride comfort though and has a squishier suspension setup in comparison. It handles surprisingly well for a Hyundai and the same can be said about its improved steering feel too. But it has a fair bit of vertical movement when hitting the twisties at speed, highlighting the fact that it is more of an urban dweller than a tourer or fun driver.
If there is any diesel engine in India that can challenge the Fiat-sourced Multijet engine in terms of the sheer number of car models it powers, it has to be Renault-Nissan's 1.5l dCi motor. The same engine does duty in the Captur too (in its 110PS guise) and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Renault has managed to reduce the NVH levels of this drivetrain by a fair bit as compared to the Duster. The engine has a linear power delivery and a meaty mid-range, which gives it easy drivability in the city. It runs quite relaxed even at highway speeds and this laid back nature helps it trump the Creta's fuel economy figures by a fair margin. Add to it a marginally larger tank and you get a driving range of close to 1,100km, which is amazing for a tourer!
The Creta's comeback is a surprisingly refined 1.6l drivetrain that is not only a class benchmark, but also the more powerful unit in this test. It's a sprightly motor that shows its capabilities with significantly better outright and roll-on acceleration. The gearbox has rubbery shifts and the clutch pedal has a springy nature, but they aren't as cumbersome to work with as the Captur. The Creta also has better brakes and doesn't need a firm push unlike other Hyundai cars. The light steering can be a bit unnerving at highway speeds, but works well in the urban setting. As you may have noticed then, the Captur and the Creta have drivetrains that match their touring and city-slicker intents respectively and that should help you narrow down your buying decision.
The Creta is about a lakh dearer than the Captur, but still manages to offer better value overall, thanks to the amount of kit it comes with. With the midlife update, it also packages the safety tech and creature comforts more fairly across its trim levels. It also offers a wider choice of engine and gearbox options than the Captur and that bouquet of options not only fits various pocket sizes but also explains the sheer number of Cretas you see on the road today.
The Captur on the other hand takes a different approach by presenting itself as a stylish crossover based on rugged underpinnings. However, in the larger scheme of things, it still feels quite utilitarian in the way it drives and that will be mean it will find limited takers in the cosmopolitan space that tilts largely towards sophisticated soft-roaders. It still manages to put up a tough fight to the Creta, but the Hyundai wins this test by amassing higher points.
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Team OD | 21 Jan 2019
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