Compact SUV segment has seen a unprecedented growth in India and it’s not just long before the segment was actually created. In 2012, Renault launched the Duster SUV and it did wonders for the company and gave the Indian buyers a new option of ‘Compact SUV’. The success of Duster can be calculated from the very fact that over 1.90 lakhs units of this compact SUV are on Indian roads. Now, to cut short this success, two of country’s biggest automakers Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are venturing in this segment with their respective vehicles named S-Cross and Creta. Both the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and Hyundai Creta are expected to launch in July in the Indian market and even dealers have started to accept bookings for them due to overwhelming response of the buyers. Hence, here we are comparing these three gold-diggers to know the best one:
Exterior design plays a significant role in the success of a vehicle as we say ‘first impression is the last impression’. Renault Duster, at the time of its launch, had a fresh design and people got gaga over it. In addition, the aggressive front fascia with smoked headlamps and an array of sporty elements has helped the Duster a lot even till now. Now talking about the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, the company has made some changes in the India-spec version as compared to the European model and one can clearly notice them. The three-slat horizontal chrome grille of the Euro-spec model has gone for a toss in favour of an all-new dual slat chrome grille. In fact, the S-Cross’s designing doesn’t match with the SX4 hatchback, on which it is based, with addition of lot of sporty elements. Furthermore, the Indian version – which was unveiled at the IIFA Awards recently – appears rather smaller than the European model. Coming to the Hyundai Creta, it adorns company’s latest ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ design philosophy and appears like a mini Santa Fe. We have already see the new Verna, Elite i20 & Santa Fe flaunting Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language. The SUV is being based on the new i20 hatch and the South Korean automaker’s second all-new product in India after i20 Active. Needless to say, it has a never-seen-before design and the best out of the three compact SUVs, I think.
Renault Duster has been offering best interior space even for the rear seat occupants in terms of legroom and headroom as of now. And, the equation is going to be the same even after the launch of Hyundai Creta and Maruti Suzuki S-Cross as Duster has the biggest wheelbase in the segment. Talking about the plastic quality, the Duster is alright but if you tend to enjoy features like 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, MediaNav System, leather upholstery, etc. then you need to look at the range-topping variant. Talking about the Maruti S-Cross’s interior, it shares several elements with Ciaz sedan, while the dash has been carried over from the Swift. In recent times, Maruti has paid tremendous attention towards the interior quality and it is evident from the interior of new Swift, Swift DZire and even Alto K10. As for features, the S-Cross would feature automatic climate control, Start/Stop button, rear parking sensors and touch-screen multimedia and navigation system. Coming to Hyundai Creta’s interior cabin, it is pretty identical to the new Elite i20 with dual-tone dashboard, 3-spoke steering wheel with mouned audio controls, and touch-screen infotainment system. Hyundai recently released a sketch of the interior cabin of Creta, which revealed all of this. Hence, all the three SUVs go neck-to-neck in this department and it is touch and go like situation as each SUV is loaded with exquisite feature and making a choice based on the interiors could be mighty difficult.
Renault Duster comes in both petrol as well as diesel guises and the other two SUVs – Maruti S-Cross & Hyundai Creta – would follow the Duster in this case as they also are coming in both petrol and diesel fuel trims. Predominantly, it’s the diesel variants that contribute to Duster’s sale in the country as there are around 8-9 variants, while petrol variants are only two. The diesel variants of Duster are powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine, which churns out a maximum power of 108.5bhp and peak torque of 248Nm. This same engine is also available in a lower power tune of 84bhp and 200Nm with the entry-level variants. Renault Duster is also being offered with a 4X4 drive system with the top-end diesel variant.
The Maruti S-Cross diesel would come with Fiat-sourced 1.6-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine which would generate a top power of 118bhp and peak torque of 320Nm. However, the company would use its tried and trusted 1.3-litre Multi-jet engine in the base variants to counter the 85 PS trim variants of Duster. There is still no word if Maruti would offer an automatic gearbox or all-wheel-drive system with S-Cross. Coming to the Hyundai Creta, it would use Verna’s engines in both petrol as well as diesel guise. As for diesel, it would get the 1.6-litre motor with 126bhp of power 260Nm of torque. A report further claims that Hyundai is planning to introduce an automatic variant with the Creta; however, it in unconfirmed that whether it would be with diesel or petrol range. Also, no word still on a four-wheel-drive variant. So, as per facts, Hyundai Creta is the most powerful amidst all the three SUVs with Verna’s highly frugal engine.
Renault Duster hasn’t lost its ‘Midas touch’ till date among Indian buyers and is almost single-handedly ringing the company’s sales charts due to its great value-for-money proposition. However, Maruti & Hyundai have always been known for the same factor with their products.
In fact, Creta would have over 90 percent of local content, which clearly states an extremely belligerent pricing is on cards. Same goes with S-Cross whose production has already started at Maruti’s Gurgaon plant and it too would vouch for glory with its aggressive pricing. However, one thing that gives Maruti an edge above Renault & Hyundai is its unparalleled dealership network and trust of Indian buyers. Hyundai too has dealer outlets and service centres in abundance in the country as opposed to the French automajor Renault. To say the least, it’s going to be incredibly close as all the players are fully ready to unleash their forces, and no one is invincible over other.