Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster Shootout
Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Shootout: Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster

Shootout No. 156

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 10.64 – 17.05 lakhs (Renault Duster), Rs. 10.87 – 17.77 lakhs (Hyundai Creta)

While one of these offers a premium appeal with more features, the other one proves to be a fun to drive car, which one to pick?

Bollywood movies generally have two types of songs. The first type is an all-new song which goes on to become an instant chartbuster while the second type of song is something that is recreated from the past, and yet feels quite slotted in modern times. The Hyundai Creta has proved to be a chartbuster ever since it was launched while the Renault Duster was once selling like hot cakes in its hay days. With the advent of new competition in the segment, the hot cakes became cold. But, Renault has finally woken up and given the Duster a proper update. Hence, it’s time for another shootout where we pit the Hyundai Creta against the newly-launched Renault Duster facelift.

Motor Quest: The compact SUV segment was kick started by the Renault Duster when it was first launched. It was an instant success because there were a lot of people who didn’t want large SUVs like the Mahindra Scorpio or Tata Safari Storme. The segment started seeing a lot of new entrants and now it has become one of the most popular segments in India.

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The Creta’s design looks very premium and has modern touches to it

Styling – The Creta is unmistakably a Hyundai and the excessive usage of sharp styling elements proves that. The Creta does look pretty good from most angles but then there are people who don’t prefer such a styling. The Duster on the other hand has a much softer overall design. It definitely looks rugged, no doubt about that, but it doesn’t come with any sort of heavy lines or creases and the entire design feels quite smooth flowing.

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The Duster on the other hand has a much more rugged styling theme

The Creta looks modern and rich while the Duster looks rugged and tough

Both the cars are compact SUVs in the right sense. They are longer than 4-metres and yet they aren’t as big as say the Mahindra Scorpio or Tata Safari Storme. Both the vehicles have good road presence. Both the cars get attractive alloy wheels on the top variants. While the Creta also gets DRLs, projector lamps et al, the Duster makes do with smoked out headlamps and LED tail lights. With the revised Duster, Renault has also started offering some new colours which look very appealing.

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Hyundai definitely knows how to load their cars with features

Interiors – Both the SUVs are poles apart when we talk about interiors. The Hyundai Creta has very posh and sophisticated insides while the Renault Duster feels very spartan compared to its Korean rival. Sure, the recent facelift has improved things quite a bit, but still the Renault feels lacking in a lot of stuff. Talking about features first, the Creta comes loaded with stuff like follow-me-home lamps, keyless go, push button start, six airbags, rear parking camera, cluster ioniser AC, mood change bar, two speeds for the rear wiper and 1 GB of internal storage for the audio system.

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The Duster has slightly lesser features but you do get all the essentials

The Creta gets better quality and more equipment, Duster feels basic inside

In comparison, the Duster gets dual front airbags, a touch-screen infotainment system that is shared with the Kwid, electrically adjustable mirrors (Creta gets electrically folding too), etc. The facelift also brings with it new AC controls and improved ergonomics. The Duster also has fuel efficiency and distance-to-empty indicator which the Creta misses out on. Both the vehicles have good space on the inside while the Duster has a bigger boot than the Creta. In terms of equipment, quality, fit and finish, Hyundai wins hands down in this department.

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Creta petrol has decent grunt, Duster’s K4M mill feels inferior to the Dual VTVT engine

Performance – Both the SUVs here are offered with 1.6-litre petrol engines. Renault has never marketed the petrol Duster much and hence it just doesn’t fetch sales while Hyundai has been seeing pretty decent demand for the petrol Creta. The Duster gets a K4M engine producing 104 PS of power and 145 Nm torque and it comes with a 5-speed manual transmission. The Creta gets a Dual VTVT unit churning out 123 PS of power and 151 Nm of torque and it gets a 6-speed manual transmission. The Creta petrol is leagues ahead of the Duster petrol in a lot of ways and it offers better performance too. Even the claimed mileage on the Creta petrol is higher than the Duster K4M, i.e. 15.49 km/l vs 13.05 km/l.

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Both the vehicles are offered with two diesel engines with very good performance

However, most sales come from the diesel variants. The Hyundai Creta is offered with a choice of two oil-burners – a 1.4-litre CRDI unit producing 90 PS and 220 Nm and a 1.6-litre CRDI unit belting out 128 PS and 260 Nm. Both the engines are offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox while the bigger engine also gets a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Duster on the other hand comes with a 1.5-litre DCi diesel engine offered in two states of tune – 85 PS, 200 Nm and 110 PS, 245 Nm. The former gets a 5-speed manual gearbox while the higher tune gets a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed Easy-R AMT gearbox. The 110 PS tune also gets AWD in the top variant. In terms of fuel efficiency, both the engines on the Creta are slightly more frugal than the Duster but the difference isn’t that significant.

Both the SUVs boast of robust diesel engines with nice fuel efficiency

Drive both the cars back to back and it is easy to say that the Duster has a better engine out of the two cars in low-end performance. The SUV has almost negligible turbo lag and gains momentum right from the low-end in a linear manner. The Creta on the other hand has a very pronounced turbo lag. However, the Korean shines in the mid-range. The Creta also has a higher redline of 5000 RPM. The 85 PS tune on the Duster feels more suited to city driving while the 110 PS tune is better on the highways. Acceleration on the Creta is quicker than the Duster and it also has a higher top speed.

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The Creta gets a conventional 6-speed AT while the Duster makes do with an AMT

The 1.6-litre engine on the Creta benefits from a 6-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox feels very smooth to use and it shifts cogs with decent pace. The Duster gets a 6-speed AMT unit which is one of the smoothest AMTs we have seen in a mass-market car. However, it comes nowhere close to the Creta in terms of smoothness or even performance. The AMT unit takes its own sweet time to shift cogs and if you’re an enthusiastic driver, then you might feel bogged down. On the positive side, fuel efficiency on the AMT is almost similar to the manual variants.

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The Duster feels much more involving to drive than the Creta

Driving Dynamics – The Renault Duster as well as the Hyundai Creta come with a monocoque chassis. The best part about the Duster is the fact that it comes with an AWD system. The AWD spec Duster is indeed very capable and it can handle bad terrain with a lot of ease, thus giving the car a proper go-anywhere feel. The Creta on the other hand feels very car-like to drive. The Duster also has awesome body control and handling while the Creta feels lacking in this department. Even in terms of steering feel and feedback, the Duster is leagues ahead of the Creta and boy it is immense fun to chuck the Duster on corners and broken tarmac alike.

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Both the SUVs have good ride quality and brilliant brakes too

The Duster is more involving to drive, both of them offer good comfort

Talking about the ride quality, the Creta has a very comfortable ride at low to medium speeds while the Duster feels much more confident at higher speeds. Ride on the Duster feels very flat and it gobbles up uneven tarmac with much ease than the Creta. The Duster also boasts of a higher ground clearance out of the two. Both the cars come with front disc brakes and stopping power on both the cars is pretty good.

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Hyundai is far better than Renault in terms of after-sales service

Safety and After Sales Service – The Hyundai Creta is offered with ABS as a standard feature on all trims while Renault offers ABS on all trims except the base variant. The top variant on the Duster comes with dual front airbags while the mid variants get a driver-side airbag. In comparison, the Creta comes with 6 airbags on the top variants and 2 airbags on the mid variants. Hill Start Assist and Traction Control are offered on both the cars. The Duster also gets ESP on the AMT and AWD trims. In terms of service, Hyundai definitely has an upper hand here in network as well as service quality levels.

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Picking one out of these is difficult, much depends on your needs

Verdict – Choosing a winner out of these two is not so easy. Both of them are extremely capable products but each one of them serves a different set of customers. While the Creta is preferred by those who want a plush feeling and creature comforts, the Duster is mostly preferred by those who know a thing or two about driving dynamics and want a vehicle that feels engaging and fun to drive. The Duster might have gotten better with this update but it still is priced considerably lower than the Creta. On the other hand, the Creta has better interiors and a much better automatic gearbox while the Duster impresses with its AWD capabilities.

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Choices are galore in the compact SUV segment

Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster Score Card

Testers’ Note:

“The Renault Duster is no doubt more fun to drive and also is very capable off the road, it makes for a better highway machine but the Hyundai Creta, although priced at a premium, feels worth the price with its quality interiors, long list of features and modern aesthetics both inside-out. Between the two cars, it’s the Hyundai Creta which feels like a better vehicle to live with, making it my choice between the two compact SUVs.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“I was thoroughly impressed by the Hyundai Creta when I drove it for the first time. Hyundai has got a nice package but it is definitely priced at a premium. The Renault Duster is lacking in some features and just doesn’t have the premium appeal of the Creta. But, for someone like me who prefers driving dynamics more than a set of jazzy features, I would definitely pick the Duster AWD which is a very fun to drive car.” – Parth Gohil, Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading

Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster – Video
Renault Duster 2WD Review
Renault Duster AWD Review
Renault Duster Long Term Review
Renault Duster vs Nissan Terrano
Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport
Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport Video
Renault Duster vs Nissan Terrano vs Ford EcoSport
Mega SUV Shootout
Renault Duster vs Hyundai Creta vs Mahindra XUV500
Renault Duster AWD vs Tata Safari Storme vs Mahindra Scorpio
Maruti S-Cross vs Ford EcoSport vs Renault Duster
Renault Duster vs Hyundai Creta vs Mahindra XUV500 – Video