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Santosh Nair Santosh Nair Friday 12 Aug 2016, 4:36 PM

Introduction

Honda’s latest entrant in the SUV category, the BR-V, needs all the attention it can get because it has to overcome the might of the Hyundai Creta. However, Hyundai’s success in the Creta is simply because it is a brilliantly packaged product for the money. We have a sizeable market whose needs are met by the smoothness of a petrol motor with the convenience of an automatic ‘box in an SUV. As they are waiting to be catered to, we’ve decided to stack up the Honda Creta SX+ auto against the Honda BR-V ‘V’ auto to find out who the winner is.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison6
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

Exterior

You don’t need me to highlight that it is the Hyundai Creta that looks more like an SUV in this comparison. Engineers have shaped it with a more upright and wider stance that has lesser overhangs, is more butch in its design lines, and also has more character. Though one will agree that this might not be the most extravagant design, Hyundai’s got it just right, and the sight of so many examples on our roads is a testament to this.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

A short glance at the BR-V will invoke mixed expressions as the rear overhang, lower height and skinnier tyres don’t exactly win it SUV points. However, it does try to fight back with the cladding, high bonnet line and thicker spoked alloys. However, the profile gives away an MPV stance thanks to the overhang and resemblance to the Mobilio. Nevertheless, the unique tail lamp design stands out even in a crowd of vehicles. We liked the Creta’s muscular looks as it fits the overall SUV designation spot-on.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

Interior

Interiors of the Creta impresses with its sculpted dashboard that has a lighter shade for the middle layer which flows neatly onto the door pads. The vents, centre console with its buttons, and controls for the air-con look classy and are smartly placed within reach. With the superior cabin dimensions, engineers were able to give it better legroom in the front and also large comfortable seats all around that offer excellent back and thigh support. The rear seats can easily accommodate three passengers.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

Once inside the BR-V, you will acknowledge its similarity with that of the Amaze and City. An all-black theme looks sporty in the beginning but tends to get boring after a while. On closer inspection one can tell that the quality of plastic is not up to the mark especially when compared to the Creta. All the seats are softer in comparison, and the middle row reclines and slides back and forth too. This cabin offers the best headroom overall, and most legroom for the middle row. Being a seven seater means one can access the third row by tumbling the 60:40 middle seat.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

Despite the Creta showing off its 402 litre boot, the 223 litres on the BR-V swells up considerably when the last row is flipped down. In fact the BR-V’s middle and last row are flexible enough to offer passengers a number of variations that utilise the interior space in every way possible. Another highlight is that the BR-V could have been better equipped as it does not get a touchscreen, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera or even a driver arm rest. We found the Creta’s interior to be the most welcoming and comfortable over longer journeys.

Performance

While the Creta petrol automatic packs a 1.6-litre motor that makes 122bhp and 154Nm of torque, Honda BR-V’s 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine churns out 118bhp of power and 145Nm of torque. A CVT does transmission duties on the BR-V and a six-speed torque converter auto ‘box handles it for the Creta. You may be pressed to believe that the Creta offers superior performance but the BR-V feels peppier overall. All of the Creta’s extra torque kicks in at a higher 4850rpm vis-à-vis the BR-V which is made at a lower 4600rpm. What also goes against the Creta is the 40kg surplus weight it carries.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

Honda’s BR-V is the quicker car to 100kmph too, when compared to the Creta. Both cars tend to get extremely noisy when revved to the limit but the Honda’s substantially lower cabin insulation can be felt. The Creta, in D mode, is happy going about its job when the throttle inputs are gradual and minimal. However, ask anything more and it fails to react in time. That’s mainly due to the weak mid-range and the inability of the gearbox to respond quickly. That said, the manual mode is better off as it lets you to choose gears and time your shifts. On the other hand, the BR-V with its CVT ‘box and obvious rubber band effect, turns out to be more responsive through the rev-band, which in turn masks the feeling of speed. One can use the Sport mode and paddle shifters to aid overtaking and just make the drive a whole lot sportier.

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

The polished suspension on the Creta makes sure that it stays composed on any sort of surface when driven fast. It silently flattens bigger bumps with ease and occupants hardly know what’s happening at the wheels. Nevertheless, at slower speeds, the sharper potholes filter into the cabin, but one never feels uncomfortable. Though the ride in the BR-V is flatter at low speeds, the sharper bumps can be felt more in the cabin, in comparison. As the speeds rise, the BR-V drives flatter overall but the road and suspension noise play spoilsport and lends it some harshness. Now, though the Creta’s steering is precise, it feels heavier at the dead centre and does not weigh up appropriately. Quite unlike the BR-V, whose steering feels livelier overall. One also sits lower here, and this car-like trait tends to give the driver more confidence around corners, but the skinnier tyres make sure you don’t venture out too far. While our pick of the two, for outright performance, would tilt towards the BR-V, we’d prefer the Creta for its ride and handling package.

Conclusion

With the Hyundai Creta, you get a vehicle that looks more like an SUV, has wider footprint, the most comfortable seats, lots of cabin space, classy interiors, extra comfort features and a more rounded ride and handling package. The BR-V makes do with much more ground clearance (210mm vs 190mm), seven seats, a low loading height and the versatility offered by the middle row which reclines, and slides back and forth. It also has more boot space (last row folded) and boasts of superior performance from the motor, all at Rs 1.17 lakh cheaper than the Creta. With this in mind, we’re sure you will be able find out what suits you best..

Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison
Honda BR-V petrol automatic vs Hyundai Creta petrol automatic comparison

Pictures: Kapil Angane