Note: This is not the driving review of the Hyundai ix25.
Hyundai Motor India Limited is all set to launch the Creta compact SUV on July 21, 2015. The Creta, as seen in spyshots, is based on the Hyundai ix25, which is exclusively sold in the Chinese market.
This is the car which is unquestionably going to be the most awaited launch in India this year. Think of the Hyundai ix25 as similar to when the Ford EcoSport was launched in 2013: interest levels are extremely high, the segment is one of the fastest growing in India and abroad, and the audience expects Hyundai to deliver a lot with the Creta, especially after seeing what the Korean car maker is capable of in the hatchback segment.
This is our second encounter with the ix25, the first being when the ix25 pre-production prototype was revealed at the Beijing Auto Show, in April 2014. It is safe to say that Hyundai’s designers have recreated the magic they did on the larger Santa Fe: the ix25 looks like a car you want to have in your garage. Make no mistake, the desirability to own one, just based on external appearances is very high, and that in itself is a step in the right direction.
Compared to the front, the rear may appear a tad bland, and one cannot help but wonder why Hyundai refrained from an external spare wheel, a design trait which is appreciated in developing markets like India and China. Nevertheless, the proportions of the ix25 seem spot on: There’s an ideal balance between a rugged SUV and a modern city runabout, something similar to the Ford EcoSport.
Open the door and you’re greeted with a well-appointed cabin which will be a familiar sight to any Hyundai enthusiast. The steering wheel borrowed from the Verna, the wiper, indicator stalks and automatic climate control lifted from the new i20 and the Santa Fe-inspired design of the center console blend in rather well in a car of this segment.
On this Chinese model, Hyundai has done what it does best: Overload the product with features. You get everything from projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, powered driver's seat, automatic climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system, steering mounted audio and cruise control, rear AC vents, traction control, hill descend control, hill hold, a 6-speed automatic transmission, leather seats and 6 airbags. It goes without saying that build quality is top-notch, nearly VW-like.
However, we felt that Hyundai could have reduced the button count a bit, as the cabin, especially from the driver’s seat is filled with a sea of controls and it might take a while to get used to operating the features without having to shift your eyes from the road.
Thanks to a length greater than 4 meters (4.27 meters to be precise), the ix25 has more than generous rear seat legroom. Think of the ix25’s rear seat as 10 percent larger than the Elite i20, which itself is a spacious car for its segment. On the Chinese model, the rear seats had excellent levels of thigh support for a six-footer, which will no doubt go appreciated by chauffeur-driven Indian owners. What aids the ix25’s practicality is its relatively low floor at the rear, making three-abreast seating less cumbersome.
Coming to the boot, which is capacious with an almost rectangular shape and a flat floor, expect luggage carrying capacity to be in the vicinity of 400 liters with all seats in place. Naturally, the rear seats offer a 60:40 split, and fold flat, though we feel a product like the ix25 would have been the perfect recipient of smart rear seats like the Honda Magic Seat, which folds and tumbles in a variety of ways, which further increases the practicality.
With such a well packaged offering, Hyundai needs to ensure that it gets the pricing right. We reckon the Creta would be great value for money if priced alongside the Renault Duster, its main rival. That being said, its worthy to note that the Creta is expected to be made of better materials than any of its competitors.
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What is for certain is that the compact SUV space in India will see back-to-back launches within a matter of weeks, as sources tell Indian Autos Blog that the launch of the Maruti S-Cross is scheduled before end of August.