Hyundai is notoriously good at launching disruptive products into the market. The Elite i20, Verna, Grand i10 and Eon have allowed the South Korean car maker to completely dominate the Indian market. Hyundai seeks to do it again with the all new Creta. Set for a launch later this month, the Creta will enter the compact SUV/crossover segment, a section of the car market that was popularized by the Renault Duster here in India. Still the largest selling crossover in the country, the Duster has failed to give up its crown for over three years. In this face-off we pit the upcoming Hyundai Creta against the undisputed champ to see if the Duster still manages to hold its ground.
The Hyundai Creta is a derivative of the full-size Santa Fe SUV. Save for a few differences, the Creta is almost identical to its bigger brother. The aggressively styled headlights, all chrome front grille and LED DRLs make for an impressive exterior and endow the Hyundai SUV with a strong road presence.
Unlike most car makers that have opted to go for sleek, contemporary design language, Renault has gone old-school with the Duster. The SUV’s boxy exterior is a far cry from the dynamic, sporty nature of its rivals. Nevertheless, the large chrome grille, flared wheel arches and prominent Renault badge endows the Duster with a butch character that is unique in its segment.
However, over the course of its lifetime, Renault has made virtually no changes at all to the car’s design and the Duster has begun to age.
Winner: Hyundai Creta
Similar to all Hyundai models, the Creta too comes with an impressive cabin. The combination of beige and black ensures occupants do not feel too claustrophobic. The center console is graced with a large 7 inch touchscreen entertainment system that comes with satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony and the conventional connectivity options such as CD, AUX, USB and iPod.
The interior of the Renault Duster is a very ordinary affair. The crossover comes equipped with a 2DIN entertainment system that features CD, AUX IN, Bluetooth connectivity andAside from the silver surround for the center console and A/C vents, the Duster presents a rather uninteresting cabin.
Winner: Hyundai Creta
Under the Bonnet:
Hyundai will offer Creta with a sole petrol engine and a pair of diesel engines. The petrol engine on offer will be a 1.6 l four cylinder mill currently in use on the Verna. The CVVT petrol engine churns out 125 hp @ 6300 RPM and 151 Nm of torque at 4200 RPM. The Hyundai Creta diesel lineup includes a 1.4 l unit and a more powerful 1.6 l engine. The 1.4 l oil burner churns out 89 hp and 220 Nm of torque. The 1.6 l motor produces 131 hp and 260 Nm of torque.
The petrol engine is mated to a 6 speed manual transmission while the diesel variants are offered with either a six speed manual or a speed auto’box. Hyundai will not launch a four-wheel drive variant of the Creta crossover.
The Renault Duster is offered with only two engines. The petrol powered Duster houses a 1.6 l engine that produces 102 bhp @ 5850 RPM and 145 Nm of torque @ 3750 RPM. Renault’s 1.5 l DCi unit is offered in two states of tune. Lower variants of the diesel Duster churn out 84 bhp @ 3750 RPM and 200 Nm @ 1900 RPM while higher variants produce 108 bhp @ 3900 RPM and 248 Nm @ 2250 RPM.
Renault is the only car maker that offers a four-wheel drive variant of its crossover here in India making the Duster a viable option for true off-road enthusiasts.
The Renault Duster was initially introduced as a lifestyle vehicle. The French automaker targeted a sector of the Indian buyer base that was looking for a status symbol to be seen within the city. Here in India, the vehicle that acts as this status symbol is an SUV. As a result, the low cost of the Duster and its SUV characteristics helped catapult the automaker into the big leagues.
Soon after however, Renault also launched the 4×4 variant of the Duster, an SUV that can truly go off the beaten path. The Hyundai Creta serves as a city vehicle and only a city vehicle. Although the South Korean crossover provides far more in terms of design and features, the Duster caters to a group of individuals that can explore the full potential of an all wheel drive vehicle.