Hyundai Creta: A new-gen compact SUV | Design Commentary

Hyundai’s first-ever compact SUV is here in India. Named as ‘Creta‘, this baby SUV seems to be big hit in terms of its reception in the Indian market even before its launch. We had two best cars on similar lines before – the Santa Fe and Elite i20 – both were outright hits in terms of their design and styling.

hyundai creta design styling review
The Hyundai Creta is neither a sub 4-m SUV, nor tries to boast itself as a big SUV.

How impressive is the new Creta in this regard, to join the league of amazing Hyundais with Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy? The Creta is amazingly easy on the eye and good-looking among its segment rivals. Yet, the design is feeble for a car of this sort and has been highly compromised for cost.

I have always been an admirer of Hyundai cars, particularly with their design and styling. It is certainly a wonderful while tracing the progression of how a not-so celebrated ‘Asian’ company with mediocre designs evolved into one of the greatest brand designs of this decade. The ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design philosophy of the company in recent years has totally gulped every existing models of the brand, and have already become on-par with celebrated European (broadly Western) car designs in terms of aesthetics and customer recognition.

That’s certainly true with SUVs from Hyundai’s stable as well. Hyundai has succeeded in integrating its modern design language with its larger models unlike many other brands. Though Hyundai is making losses with its SUVs globally, it never gave-up but came with amazing Intrado and Enduro concepts.

Also Read: Why 2015 Hyundai i20 Elite Is A Bliss?

In India, we had Terracan and Tuscon in the past, which unfortunately weren’t successful due to different reasons in spite being greatly-built cars. But both the SUVs were distinct in terms of their design and styling among their peers, and were equally perceived a bit dull as well. The Santa Fe, in its third-generation launched last year, met with positive response with regard to design and styling.

The currently trending Creta isn’t a new model, but rather a global version of the Hyundai ix25 that is already on sale in China. Since this model has been conceived for the developing mass-markets including India and China, the Creta couldn’t offer anything exciting on the design front as the Western market focused 2016 Tuscon (ix35) that was unveiled last month.

Yet, the styling of Creta is in concurrence with the segment standards of the mass-markets, and more so in India too. No other compact SUVs in the booming segment, which Creta takes on, are extra-ordinary in the looks department either. Nor innovative. Most often, all these cars are built-to-cost and so we have to evaluate Creta’s styling according to the prevailing standards.

Hyundai claims that the new Creta boasts the new “nature inspired” Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design that is also seen on other modern Hyundais. That’s partly visible, since we are reminded of premium Santa Fe while looking at the car head on, thanks to front hexagonal grille and the sharp, well-defined headlamps with LEDs. Vertical inserts in the bumper houses fog lamps, adding to the aggressive feel.

Hyundai Creta dashboard and interiors

Further, lot of chrome accents and two-tone colour scheme tries to define the car as elegant and aggressive equally. In fact, the black finish side/lower cladding all around including wheel arches is a thoughtful one, in addition to the roof rails and other mock inserts, giving a feeling of ruggedness for an aspiring SUV.

Unlike its rivals, the Creta looks a tad bigger, even though the car falls short of Renault Duster in overall measurements. That’s because of its long and high sculpted bonnet and body’s upright stance, which is neatly complemented with raising waist line. This character makes the lower part of body look wider and large.

The entire side is more flat and less curvy than other Hyundai cars. The blackened A-pillar and coloured D-pillar augments this feel. The rear is a bit plain, but the two horizontal lines on the bumper and boot lid looks decent. The rear windshield is set at an angle and the detailing in the tail lamps are wonderful. Both head and tail lamps wrap-around well for visibility from the sides.

The top-spec 17-inch alloys chunky and elevates the car’s road presence. The striking five-spoke split design looks stunning with the dark cladding and wheel arches. However, the base models get 16-inch wheels with hubcups, and no chrome all over body – a typical strategy of packaging in modern times.

Hyundai Creta is a global version of ix35 sold in China.

Inside the cabin, the design and layout of dashboard uses edgy approach, which is attractive – use of beige and silver accents in plenty has really helped. The quality of the materials used is fairly decent to the segment standards. However, the cabin looks similar to that of the i20, features the same dual-tone scheme, 3-spoke steering wheel (similar to older i20), and other elements shared with the hatch platform. The driving position is more car-like, seats are decently spacious. Frankly, the interiors go well with the exterior styling.

On the whole, the Creta design and styling isn’t as flamboyant as the Santa Fe or the i20 Elite we saw last year in India. Yet, the car looks fairly contemporary to meet the segment expectations. The overall edgy styling is unique and attractive for a small SUV. The car has got those sparks of a good-looking compact SUV, and has a lot of potentiality to reach buyers in the segment. From an enthusiast point of view, the Creta is a bit dull and a disappointment.

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Editorial consultant (Automotive and Technology), academic, and blogger based in India. He can be reached at

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