Cars > Driven

Hyundai Creta GLS: Stylish and spacious

How is this Korean subcompact crossover worth P1.388 million?

The Creta's size made the author rethink the definition of 'subcompact.' PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Subcompact crossovers have been gaining traction as these vehicles give drivers the best of both worlds—the maneuverability of a city car and the form factor of an SUV. The Hyundai Creta is the Korean automaker’s entry into the segment with the GLS being the top-of-the-line variant.

Whereas newer Chinese cars come out with attention-grabbing aesthetics that tend to look gimmicky, Hyundai has been employing its Sensuous Sportiness philosophy. And this applies to the Creta, resulting in a design that is subtle yet stylish.

Exclusive to the GLS trim are the two-tone 17-inch wheels. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Looking at the exterior, the front resembles the Tucson with the Parametric Jewel Pattern grille that cleverly integrates the LED DRLs. Meanwhile, the rear is adorned by LED taillights that wouldn’t look out of place on a Genesis.

Just like with other crossovers, the Creta has black arches over the 17-inch wheels. But rather than making the vehicle look muscular, they give the impression that the car sits higher than it really does.

The Smartstream engine is efficient enough for the city, yet sufficiently powerful for the expressway. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Under the hood is the 1.5-liter in-line-four Smartstream engine, which produces a maximum output of 113.4hp and 143.8Nm. It doesn’t seem like much, but it is enough for expressway driving especially with the Intelligent Variable Transmission. Fuel efficiency is around 9-10km/L for city driving, and it maxed out at 18.5km/L on the expressway.

The rear row has a central armrest with cupholders. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Inside, I found a decently built cabin. There’s nothing that screams cheap, but the interior isn’t luxurious either. One thing I do appreciate is the Cognac Brown accents, such as the leatherette seats and the leatherette armrest, as they prevent the cabin from being completely monochrome.

Even with a full-size bike inside, there's still enough space for one passenger. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

For a subcompact crossover, the Creta sits on the bigger end at 4,315mm long, 1,790mm wide, and 1,630mm high. You’ll easily notice the lengthy 2,610mm wheelbase as the legroom is plentiful, even behind. With the rear seats folded, a road bike can be stuffed inside—without removing the front wheel.

Coming from a hatchback, I immediately noticed the elevated and wider stance entering the cockpit for the first time. The suspension cushions bumps on the roads of Metro Manila well, and the insulation keeps the ride quiet.

The steering was light without being numb, and the vehicle was nimble enough for its heft. Operating the brake pedal requires some finesse due to the nonlinear response. It starts out gentle and smooth before stopping abruptly.

The brightness of the cupholder lighting can even be adjusted. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Information is displayed on a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. Meanwhile, the eight-inch infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both wireless. Below the head unit are two USB ports—one for charging and one for connectivity. Exclusive to the GLS variant is a wireless charger for compatible phones. This can be handy if you don’t have a cable, but it can heat up your phone.

The GLS is also the only Creta variant to come with Hyundai SmartSense. You won’t miss the blind-spot and the rear cross-traffic alerts with all the scooters zipping around. The rear camera works well in conjunction with the parking sensors in tight spaces. While the car quickly alerts the driver of what’s behind, I’d appreciate it if the same was done for the front—especially for detecting pedestrians trying to cross the street.

The Hyundai Creta is a fun ride for going up to Tagaytay. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

At P1.388 million, the Hyundai Creta GLS is on the pricier side for a subcompact crossover. But it is spacious and comfortable, with enough power under the hood. And the included tech inside also matches the car’s futuristic styling. While numerous Chinese cars are being released left and right, these brands don’t have the same track record as Hyundai. And that’s one reason why this Korean crossover is worth considering.


Engine1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline
Power113hp @ 6,300rpm
Torque143.8Nm @ 4,500rpm
Dimensions4,315mm x 1,790mm x 1,630mm
Drive layoutFWD
UpsideIt looks good and is comfortable and spacious inside.
DownsideMore expensive than its competitors.

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.