Honda BR-V vs Hyundai Creta - SUV comparison & shootout!
"Unchi is the new lambi", or 'tall is the new long'. It is beyond debate that the compact SUV segment is the one that has witnessed the highest growth in recent times, eclipsing the likes of compact, C & D segment sedans. Selling close to 8000 units per month, Hyundai Creta has become a blockbuster hit and had little resistance from Nissan Terrano (~ 500 units per month), Renault Duster (~1500 units per month) and Suzuki S-Cross (~2200 units per month). However, it could be up against the biggest rival yet, in the form of the recently launched Honda BR-V that is off to a good start already with more than 3000 units dispatched in the month of June.
BHP'ian smartcat gave me an offer that was impossible to refuse. A chance to compare his brand new Honda BR-V against the Creta, over a short drive to a scenic location on the outskirts of Bangalore. He almost got hold of a Duster as well for the drive, but that would have to be planned for a later date. Thanking and also congratulating our smartcat Ashwin for his brand new BR-V and sincerely thanking his friends Niranjan Manjunath (Creta 1.6 CRDi SX), Harish Kumar BP (Creta 1.6 CRDi SX(o)) and Binny Kurian for their help and observations - together we put the hottest variant of the Honda BR-V (1.5 iVTec V CVT) against the hottest variant of the Hyundai Creta (1.6 CRDi manual).
Comprehensive official team-bhp reviews of both these cars can be found below. This report only aims to concentrate on more specific details about how these two products stack up against each other. For points that are already discussed in detail for the official reviews and other discussions, I will try to leave relevant links as necessary -
The report contains discussions on both objective parameters like features and figures, and also on subjective parameters like looks, ride and handling etc. To keep the subjective parameters as impartial as possible, only obvious differences noted by the both of us are included in the report.
Advantage BR-V -
Advantage Creta -
Both these products look good on their own rights, especially from certain angles, and the front on view is the best angle for the BR-V. It shouts for attention, the huge chrome highlights along with the sharp headlamp announcing the BR-V as a typical Honda product. Brand logo is displayed proudly at the center.
The bullbar is a genuine accessory and it adds to the SUV'ish appeal, while the higher bonnet line of the BR-V as compared to the Mobilio completes the look. And no, the bullbar doesn't affect the functioning of the airbag sensors since it just pasted on to the front bumper. (seen here)
Creta takes a more elegant approach to the theme with more mature lines and tasteful use of chrome.
Hyundai's new Fluidic 2.0 philosophy exudes a more European character to the design and it has good road presence as well when viewed from the front.
Creta following a distinct 2 box shape, where the BR-V tries to hide the cab forward nature with its high bonnet line. The clam shell bonnet is unique to the BR-V. One of the most eye catching alloy designs in the market as well.
Although it appears as though the Creta is taller than the BR-V when viewed independently from the front, there is only a negligible difference between these two in terms of height! On paper, BR-V infact is taller with a height of 1666mm as compared to the 1630mm height of the Creta, but it should mostly be due to the taller roof rails.
The same approach in design philosophy is evident from the sides, with the Creta appearing more mature than the BR-V. The design looks sharp, the sloping belt line along with the floating roof gives it a modern character as well. Top end versions get a 17 inch alloy wheels (seen here), while the lower variants make do with 16 inchers shown in the pic.
Side profile however is probably the weakest angle for the BR-V with a distinct resemblance to the Mobilio MPV. The long glass window identical to the BR-V doesn't help its cause either, but it does contribute to an airy cabin. Honda has altered the D pillar as well and added heavy plastic cladding to the sides in an attempt to the impart the SUV nature to the design and it does catch attention, and added accessories are available as well as seen in smartcat's car below -
BR-V redeems itself with a smart rear though that is made unique by the 'connected' tail lamps (the red strips are not illuminated). The ubiquitous chrome strip above the rear number plate (as in the Creta) could have been avoided though!
Creta once again takes the European approach with the styling of the rear, and one could almost complain of Hyundai copying Audi in this case, if not for the distasteful use of chrome which stands out for an otherwise smart rear. Market demands it and both Honda and Hyundai seems happy to oblige. Creta with 1789mm is wider than the BR-V (1735mm).
Although both these cars have similar dimensions from the rear (Creta is slightly wider), the design makes the Creta appear more meaty thanks to the smaller glass area and the sleek tail lamps. Both the cars dont carry the 'Honda' and 'Hyundai' moniker on the boot anymore as both the brand logos are extremely popular for the target audience.
Ground clearance is one of the reasons why these cars are popular in India and the BR-V does not disappoint with a class leading 210mm of clearance.
Creta has a decent ground clearance of 190mm. It is 20mm less than the BR-V, but at the same time the wheelbase is shorter by 72mm as well.
Both these cars have projector headlamps, but surprisingly its the Honda that doesn't shout about it. Headlamps elements have a blackened effect to them, which might be unique for the lower variants of the BR-V since the VX variant pictured in the official review had a chrome setup (seen here). BR-V uses halogen projector setup for the low beam and conventional reflector setup for the high beam. LED pilot lamps are present only on the top end variant VX of the BR-V.
Chrome highlights for the projector setup on the Creta, that use the halogen projector for both the low beam and the high beam. Offers slightly better illumination than the BR-V (Pictures below elsewhere) and also houses the static cornering lights.
LED pilot lamps are not strong enough for daytime DRL usage.
Whereas BR-V gets C shaped LED pilot tail lamps that look nice.
Modern monocoque v/s old school 15L ladderframe SUV (Note - Honda does not call it an SUV. Its a bold recreational vehicle rather). BR-V appears longer due to the stretched design effect, but the Safari is 200mm longer still. Also noticeable here is the large airy glass area for the BR-V middle row.
Seating Comfort & Flexibility
Good seating position of the Creta offers lateral and under thigh support, although lower back support is lacking. Niranjan using beads on the seats is probably a testimony to this fact. Controls fall easy to hand. Visibility towards the front is excellent with a small view of the bonnet as well. This can be encouraging for newbie drivers.
PS - Your's truly is 180cm tall. That should give a perspective of the amount of space available in these two compact SUVs.
Honda usually gets their ergonomics right and same is the case with the BR-V. Seating height is similar to the Creta, however the dashboard is relatively higher thus imparting a more car-like feel to the seating position. This can be considered a positive or a negative depending on whether you are planning an upgrade from a hatchback / downgrading from a full blown SUV.
Moving to the second row, Creta pulls ahead of the BR-V. The rear seat is much better in the Creta with an excellent recline angle, a very comfortable rear armrest, lots of legroom and good headroom. The dark interiors and the sloping roofline could create a claustrophobic cabin for some poeple, though I did not experience any issues. The seat compound for the rear seat is on the softer side as well. Excellent for city usage, though I'm not sure of long highway runs.
BR-V has a more compromised middle row with average legroom and a slightly more upright seating position. Second row does get sliding feature and reclining features though, incase the third row is left unoccupied (seen here). However, the extra large windows ensures that the cabin feels airy and the second row passengers also get roof mounted ac vents.
Second row legroom for the BR-V is about enough, with the middle row set in a position so as to squeeze in a passenger on the third row as well.
While Creta has excellent legroom for the second row.
Creta is wider than the BR-V and it shows- the rear seat width is 7cm wider! Three passengers can sit in the middle seat with average comfort. Yes, you do brush shoulders with the others, but its still manageable. Best suited for 4 adults and a kid while hitting the highways. Seen below is Harish, smartcat Ashwin and Niranjan seated in the Creta -
And they try out the BR-V. Best suited for 2 adults and a kid in the middle. Three persons in the middle row would be a squeeze for the lack of shoulder room.
BR-V does have an ACE up its sleeve though! Third row seating. I sat in the third row for about 10 kms, and was manageable. With the seat at the upright position, I had to struggle to sit in the third row of the BR-V with my head constantly brushing against the roof, but things became better once we reclined the seats further. I could manage to sit straight afterwards, but the height was still an issue with my head sandwiched against the roof line while trying to rest my head on the neck restraints. Large and airy quarter glass at the rear helps avoid a claustrophobic effect. Legroom and under thigh support are both less for the third row to be comfortable over longer journeys, but is good enough for city use. 4 adults and 3 kids would be the ideal configuration for longer trips.
With a boot space of 402 litres and a very usable layout, Creta is practical enough for a small family -
But BR-V offers a decent 223L boot with all the three rows up. This is much better than some other 3 row seating options like the XUV 500 (seen here), Maruti Suzuki Ertiga (seen here) etc.
And a massive 691 litres with the third row folded. smartcat pointed out one flaw in this arrangement though - the third row doesn't fold flat against the floor (As in the XUV 5OO seen here) and hence longer items can't be loaded into the car (He couldn't transport a table when he tried). But that is only nitpicking and not a major drawback as BR-V still has a very good and usable boot size for its size and segment.
I was not very much impressed by the BR-V's cabin when i saw it in person at the showroom post launch (details posted here), but Ashwin's car shows how much of a difference a good touch screen HU makes to this design. It is quite pleasing to look at in the pure black avatar, although the design is shared with the Amaze and upcoming Mobilio and Brio facelifts and the material quality is only average. Honda should have included the touchscreen HU (instead of the dull 2 din seen here) as part of the standard equipment list - would have saved them from a lot of flak they received after the official launch.
I like this steering wheel design of the VX and V CVT variants, while he prefers the Amaze design steering wheel present in the lower variants (seen here). Paddle shifters are a good addition and are quite easy to operate. They turn with the steering though, and it takes time to adapt to this varying position as I had to search for it while navigating through winding roads. They are a pleasure to operate otherwise. Leather wrapping present only for the top end VX variant (seen here)
Creta on the other hand uses a black dashboard with a combination of dark beige. Hyundai seems to have a fascination for this chocolate colour as I have a similar colour in the Xcent as well. A pure black dashboard would have looked better here, specially since the dashboard material quality of the Hyundai is better and could have looked the part even in pure black.
Steering wheel gets leather variant only in the SX(o) variant, while the SX variant pictured below gets different buttons as well for the steering mounted controls as against the top variant. (seen here)
Shown below is the Creta SX with its 5" touch screen display based headunit, as against the 7" based system in the higher variants pictured for the team bhp official review (seen here).
A headunit upgrade is mandatory for the BR-V, for looks and practicality as the vehicle is just too long and has limited visibiity to manage without parking aids. Shown below is the "MaymyIndia IceNav 301" headunit offered by Honda dealers for INR 36,000/- including the reverse camera and sensors.
Driver armrest and rear a/c vents are standard on all variants of the Creta. Material quality is top notch, but gets leather treatment only on the top end SX(o) variant (seen here)
Driver armrest can be had as a dealer accessory for the BR-V for Rs 6000/-. Provides a deep storage compartment as well (seen here)
Whereas roof mounted rear a/c vents are standard on all but the base E variant of the BR-V. These vents suck in air from the front above the drivers head (seen here). The roof mounted vents are more effective in the distribution of air for the rear passengers as compared to the tower setup of the Creta. Even for the short drive I had in the rear seat of the Creta, I felt it was blowing too much air on my knees blocking the flow of air to my face as a result. The same feelings were echoed by Niranjan who commented that it is a pain point in the Creta for longer drives.
Instrumentation and Controls:
Elegant instrument console on the Creta is shared with all variants below SX(o). The flagship versions get a supervision console with a lot more controls and settings and has been covered in detail for the official review (seen here).
BR-V instrument console looks elegant on its own right, but a bit plain in daylight as compared to the ones on the Creta. The console is shared with SV, V and VX variants with the entry level E and S variants get a horribly basic console. (seen here)
Come nightfall, its the BR-V's instrument console that makes the Creta look plain. For starters, before starting the car, there is this white glow around the dials that tease you to start the car and drive.
And once started, there is a nice sporty glow around the console.
On the other hand, Creta looks elegant and functional after sundown, but can't be called sporty.
Functional, because it has steering mounted controls for both audio as well as bluetooth telephony and the buttons provided as backlit as well. Power window switch for the driver window alone is backlit.
Whereas the BR-V offers only steering mounted controls for audio, and the buttons are not backlit as well. This includes the power window buttons too.
Speaking about backlit buttons, one pain area pointed out by smartcat is the gearlever for the CVT which does not have PRNDS backlit. This can be confusing for newbie automatic drivers who are not well versed with this order, as the console area is in the dark.
And speaking about pain points, you need to agree to the terms and conditions of the Creta every single time!
However, it does offer a decent view from the rear view camera. Display quality can only be termed as average. I expected better and was let down, given my own experience with the Xcent. Display isn't very bright either! Adaptive guidelines are a saving grace though and could come in handy during tricky parking maneouvours.
The system on the BR-V, being a dealer accessory does not offer adaptive guidelines, but it offers a slightly better angle. The quality of display is a level below the Creta though.
Headlamp shots with same manual shutter, aperture and ISO settings for low beam and high beam shots of BR-V and Creta.
Ride, Handling and Steering:
Ride quality -
Both the cars use a McPherson strut front & torsion beam rear setup. However, a 15 minute drive in both the vehicles is enough to bring out the difference in ride quality between these two vehicles. Creta has a cushy city ride quality and rides well over broken potholes and patches of road at speeds less than 30 kmph. The difference is even more pronounced at the rear which feels distinctly soft in a nice way. This along with the soft rear seats and the good legroom and headroom on offer makes the backseat of the Creta a good place for longer distances. Didn't feel European flat though, as there is a soft vertical movement at the rear once the vehicle picks up speeds.
BR-V on the other hand feels stiff at city speeds. No, its not uncomfortably stiff or anything. Just that it has a rougher edge to all road imperfections as compared to the Creta. The ride felt stiffer in the rear seats, especially the third row. Things do get better with speed.
In smartcat's words - "The ride quality of Creta is noticeably better than that of BR-V at speeds < 20 or 30 kmph. Creta rounds off shocks from medium sized potholes or badly broken roads well. Having said that, Creta doesn't ride with the maturity of something like Punto over bad roads. You will slow down on bad stretches."
Can't comment about expressway speeds as we did not do it anyways.
Once again, 15 minutes or less is all it takes to notice the obvious difference in steering calibration between these two vehicles. BR-V provides an ultra light steering at parking speeds and it is almost a single finger job to take it out of parking slots. However, it becomes heavier once the speeds pick up although not as heavy as I would have liked. That said, the steering remains communicative and is good on winding roads. With paddle shifters (CVT variant) on the wheel itself, you don't need to take your arm off to change gears either.
Steering feel has been a weak point for almost all Hyundai cars till date. Hyundai has made a lot of improvements recently, and is not a deal breaker anymore but neither can it be termed enthusiastic. In smartcat's words (Couldn't have described it better!)- "Although it feels weightier than the BR-Vs at crawling speeds, it does not weigh up enough as the speeds pick up (which the BR-V does). There is a weird disconnected and artificial feel to the steering which is difficult to explain in words. Also, the steering is not as quick or sharp as the BR-V's. So the Creta does not score as well as BR-V when it comes to weaving in and out of city traffic or handling the twisties. However, this is definitely not deal-breaker by any stretch of imagination, and one gets used to the steering characteristics after a few minutes behind the wheel."
Given the short nature of the drives, we both can't comment on which car is the superior handling machine of the lot. But both feel neutral and car-like to drive, the BR-V specially so! The slightly stiffer suspension helps during cornering and I had to remind myself that I'm driving such a long car, whereas it feels natural and spirted around corners like a hatchback. The seating position and body roll feels very much like a car too, and any driver upgrading from a small hatchback should feel right at home from the word go!
Creta feels more SUV like (in comparison) with the seating position, lower set dashboard and a view of the bonnet. However, it drives like a mature sedan would - with the added benefit of high ground clearance.
Personally, given another chance to drive these two cars to another village destination again - I think I'd pick the keys of the BR-V, mostly because of the better steering feel it offers.
Engines, Performance, NVH and transmission:
First of all, we are talking about chalk and cheese here, given that one is a petrol CVT automatic, while the other car is a diesel manual. But both these engines are the most popular choices respectively and hence, we'll pen down the report without a direct comparison between the two. Relevant details on other engine options can be had in the official review.
Surprisingly both these cars costs the exact same amount on road. smartcat paid 15.7L for the BRV V CVT + accessories, while the same amount was the OTR cost for Niranjan's Creta 1.6 SX.
Creta 1.6 diesel
Starting with the Creta, as smartcat has made my job easy with an accurate description of his experience - "The 1.6 litre engine sounds like diesel engine from outside, but inside the car, it is amazingly refined - quiet and vibration free. Slot the gear level to first gear and the Creta takes off enthusiastically. But 1st gear is too short, and once you start moving, you will probably never visit the 1st gear again. The 2nd gear can handle large humps and stop-go-stop city traffic easily. The engine is torquey enough to pull in the 2nd gear without accelerator inputs even on slight inclines. Those who are used to petrol cars will notice that acceleration in Creta diesel is not linear. There is a distinct surge post 1800 RPM. However, if you rev the engine like a petrol, it does get a bit noisy inside. Measured throttle inputs is the key to smooth, fast and noise-less travel. Gearshifts are reasonably short and snappy. On 2 laned highways, 4th gear is ideal for overtaking or narrowing the gap with vehicle ahead of you. Watch out though! Those gaps shrink quite rapidly if you are in the right gear! On curvy roads, the Creta holds the line well like any sedan or a hatchback."
For me, the star of this package is the diesel NVH. Coming from another popular diesel engined' car, I was awestruck by the engine refinement on offer here. At regular usage speeds, there is barely any additional noise in the Creta diesel as compared to the BR-V petrol CVT, and that's a brilliant feat. Take a bow, Hyundai. The 1.6 diesel is considered a very good engine in its Verna avatar as well, and mated to a good gearbox - and hence nothing much to add here.
BRV 1.5 iVTec CVT
Coming to the BR-V petrol CVT, the refinement levels were slightly lesser than I expected. smartcat mentioned that it is on the higher side compared to the City. The engine noise, though not excessive and could be termed sporty even, is heard in the cabin as the revs build, but that is quickly forgotten when working the engine and the CVT gearbox through normal usage.
The infamous rubber band effect of the CVT gearbox is well controlled and I enjoyed driving the BR-V in the D mode using regular accelerator inputs. Except on one or two occassions where I had to slow down for speed breakers and then on to inclines where the transmission seemed to struggle a bit choosing a higher or lower ratio as needed - the transmission does its job without a fuss. Things are a bit different when trying to build the pace faster. Slotting into S mode seems to increase the engine rpms higher but the transmission takes it own time catching up. I did not notice a significant difference in acceleration between the two modes, and this was also echoed by Harish sitting in the backseat that the engine noise seems to be increasing disproportionately as compared to the speed. D mode feels good enough for most of these scenarios as well, or else - there is the option of using the seven virtual ratios using the paddle shifters.
The virtual ratios can be controlled manually while in D mode, and S mode as well - difference being that in D mode it would revert to the automatic setting after seconds of inactivity. Although i didn't notice any difference in acceleration while using the virtual ratios, there was better engine braking for sure when going around corners and easier to drive out of the corner with a correct ratio selected. Preselecting a ratio also ensures that the ECU does not try to hunt for the highest ratio possible and holds on to what is selected manually.
The 1.5 iVTec was always considered a good engine and remains one of the highlights of this package as well.
Diesel Manual Variants
Petrol Manual Variants
*Source for performance figures -
We simply do not have the crash safety ratings of the Indian version of both these cars, and hence can't judge them on the basis of safety. What we can do is to hope that both these cars made for the Indian market is as good as their international variants.
The made-in-India, but for the Latin American markets version of the Creta received a 4 star rating with a stable passenger cell. Did not qualify for a 5 star rating due to the lack of safety features on the base variant tested.
The Indian version has dual airbags and ABS as standard on all variants. Assuming the build quality to be same as the export variants, that makes the Creta a safe car in all variants. Plus the segment leader in the SX(o) variant with 6 airbags, ESC & VSM, Hill Start Assist etc.
Funnily though, these additional safety features of the SX(o) variant can't be had with the petrol manual, petrol automatic and diesel automatic engine options. Also, ISOFIX child seat anchors are only present on the automatic trims and not the top level SX(o) trim which has an otherwise impressive list of safety features. Strange! :eek:
Made in Indonesia, for the ASEAN markets version of the BR-V received a five star rating for the versions with ESC.
Assuming the build quality to be same as those variants, that makes the BR-V a 4 star rated car for the Indian market due to the absence of ESC on all the variants, at par with the Creta variants other than the SX(o). ABS and dual airbags are standard on all variants of the BR-V, except for the base petrol variant which doesn't have ABS.
Other safety features like ISOFIX child anchors, HSA etc are given a miss for the Indian market.
Other random shots:
BRV rear door does not get speaker provision. Third row gets it, along with cup holder and an arm rest too.
Rear window of the BR-V rolls down till about 3/4th, but not a pain point as the glass is XXL sized. Rear windows of the Creta rolls all the way down.
Automatic Climate Control unit -
Metal and insulation on the front doors (Please ignore the visor installed in Creta)
Attention to detail for not so obvious controls - (Seat covers on the BR-V are dealer accessory)
If you are looking for a high perch to look down on traffic, neither cars provide that. Creta 'feels' slightly better due to the seating position, lower set dashboard and a small view of the bonnet, but it is not higher than regular traffic as well.
re: Honda BR-V vs Hyundai Creta - SUV comparison & shootout!
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Awesome thread, thanks for sharing!
Re: Honda BR-V vs Hyundai Creta - SUV comparison & shootout!
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