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Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster AWD vs Nissan Terrano vs Mahindra Scorpio: SUV Comparison review


Hyundai's swanky new compact SUV is here to shatter the establishment. Can it send a shiver down the spine of the Duster and its badge engineered sibling and will it appeal to Scorpio buyers too? Here's your answer

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Hyundai Creta vs Mahindra Scorpio vs Duster AWD vs Nissan Terrano front static

 

 

 

New Hyundai cars are turning out to be a major cause for concern in every segment the Korean carmaker is venturing into. It started with the Grand i10, followed up to some level of success with the Xcent, scored a home run with the Elite i20 and made cross hatchbacks mainstream with the i20 Active. Now Hyundai has introduced the Creta in the larger-than-4-metre compact SUV segment and with it has the Renault Duster and Nissan Terrano right in its crosshairs. Considering the price point, the Creta also poses a credible threat to the new Mahindra Scorpio. Should you consider the Creta then over its well established competitors?

 

For this comparison, we have the top end diesel manual gearbox equipped variants of each car. The Duster AWD is the only 4WD car in this comparison. For clarity on the 2WD variant, the mechanicals are exactly same as the Terrano.

 

 

Hyundai Creta and Renault Duster details

 

 

 

Design and styling

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

Design and styling is subjective so let’s not comment on the most attractive SUV among the four. What we can shed some light upon is the detailing and exterior touches that do or do not work well for this segment. Starting with the Scorpio, we like the headlamp cluster with its projectors and LED DRLs, the menacing grille, imposing stance due to its tall and wide body and the taillamp detailing. If size and presence matters, the Scorpio is the one for you. But there’s plenty we don’t like too. Old school roof gutters, boxy body and cheap plastics don’t appeal to us. There is a certain absence of finesse in the Scorpio’s design that can be so beautifully seen in the Creta.

 

 

Mahindra Scorpio and Nissan Terrano details

 

 

 

The Duster and Terrano are cars of the same mould barring their differentiating factors like the headlamps, alloy wheels and taillamps. The overtly flared wheel arches and the stubby front end look smart. The rear end design is the least attractive bit on the both cars but overall proportions do justice to the compact SUV segment. Unlike the Creta and Scorpio’s projector lights, headlamps are the standard bulbs. You don’t get cornering lamps either in the Duster and Terrano. Coming to the Creta, Hyundai has given it projectors and daytime LED DRLs, vertically slat fog lamps and plenty of chrome to look upmarket. Plastic cladding all around gives it a rugged look as do the neatly styled rear bumpers. High set taillamps and the rising window line further add to the SUV stance. On the whole, Hyundai’s Creta looks and feels the most desirable and complete design compared to the Duster, Terrano and Scorpio.

 

 

Hyundai Creta interior

 

 

 

Interior and Space

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

Appearances can be deceiving no doubt. The Scorpio looks massive compared to the other three and has an extra row of seats. It can seat three abreast in the second row with better lateral comfort too and has impressive headroom. While the sense of space is ample, the reality is different. The third row has two side facing seats that are best suited for children only. Two adults will find it highly uncomfortable. Then there is the shocking absence of bottle holders up front or the proximity of the door panels to the seats. The ergonomics could have been better as well. Quality of materials will find you wanting and the short and vertical dashboard and vertical windscreen have a very oldschool unsophisticated feel.

 

 

Mahindra Scorpio interior

 

 

 

The Duster, Terrano and Creta offer only five seats. The seats of the Duster and Terrano need more cushioning and there isn’t much under thigh support in the rear bench. The Terrano’s leather seats make it a tad bit more comfortable than the Duster.

 

Renault Duster and Nissan Terrano interior

 

 

The Creta scores big over its rivals in the comfort department. It’s got the best contoured seats and cushioning and ergonomics is top notch. The rear seats are the most comfortable as well. It will be a challenge to seat three in comfort but for four grown adults, the Creta is the most comfortable car to be in. What we don’t like is the high window sill line that makes the rear quite claustrophobic compared to other cars in this comparison. It’s also got the smallest boot of the lot at 410 litres. With the rear seats folded, the Scorpio can gobble up the most luggage by a huge margin while the Duster and Terrano can carry 475 litres of luggage.

 

 

Rear seats of the Creta, Scorpio, Duster and Terrano

 

 

 

The Creta’s interior design is the most welcoming as well. The dual tone dashboard boasts of the best plastics, it’s still hard and a notch lower on quality than say the Verna but the best of this lot. The dashboard wraps around neatly to the doors and looks a segment premium to its competitors. The Duster AWD comes second best after the noticeable rework it got with the facelift. It’s clearly the better finished interior compared to the Terrano. The Scorpio has a nice instrument cluster and the most rugged interior of the lot but that also makes it look cruder than the rest.

 

 

Hyundai Creta and Mahindra Scorpio features and equipment

 

 

 

Features and Equipment

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

It would now be foolish to expect a Hyundai without class leading equipment and the Creta is no different. Hyundai doesn’t shy away from pricing its cars higher than competition because the extra equipment on offer is noticeable. You get a large 7-inch touchscreen navigation system with the most responsive and high quality screen we’ve seen on a production car in India. The Duster has a good touchscreen system too and comes second best to the Creta. Mahindra also offers the Scorpio with a smaller 6-inch touchscreen which isn’t as easy to use compared to the others but has a lot more features. Nissan doesn’t offer the Terrano with a touchscreen entertainment system.

 

 

Renault Duster and Nissan Terrano features and equipment

 

 

 

Speaking of other features, the Scorpio has automatic headlamps, automatic wipers and tyre pressure monitoring system over the others. The Creta and Scorpio get climate control air conditioning while the Duster and Terrano get manual aircons. The Creta comes with six airbags and rear AC vents, the latter also seen in the Terrano and Scorpio. The AWD Duster gets a bottle holder in place of the vents. Four speakers and two tweeters on the Creta produce the best quality music off the four. The Duster and Terrano come next while the Scorpio scores least on the audio front. If there’s one thing you don’t get in the Creta that a few owners might miss, its Cruise control, considering the number of vast and open highways coming up in the country.

 

 

Hyundai Creta panning shot

 

 

 

Engines and performance

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

The Creta’s 1.6-litre CRDi block is borrowed from the Verna. It develops 128PS of power and 265Nm of torque and is the quietest and most drivable engine in this comparison. Mated to a slick shifting six-speeder with a light clutch and well spread out ratios, the Creta has ample torque and power to do fast highway runs. Post some turbo lag under 1700rpm, the Creta pulls well all through. The Scorpio has the largest displacement here with the 2.2-litre mHawk engine. It’s most torquey of the lot with 280Nm to boast of but it weighs easily more than half a ton more than its competitors. The Duster AWD has a short first and second gear that’s a bit annoying in city conditions as you are constantly fiddling with the gear lever. It’s got a heavier clutch than the Creta. Same goes for the Terrano but drivability is better in the City. The Scorpio is the only SUV here to employ a 5-speed gearbox.

 

 

Renault Duster AWD panning shot

 

 

 

The Duster and the Terrano sport the same 1.5-litre 110PS block with 247Nm of torque. The engine has a strong midrange and responses are quick. NVH levels in the Duster AWD are better than the Terrano, again work done by Renault on the Duster with the update. The worst of the lot is the Scorpio. Vibrations through the gear lever and steering wheel are annoying after driving the rest of the civilized lot. Long clutch travel in the Scorpio gets some getting used to but thankfully it’s lighter than the Duster and Terrano.

 

 

Mahindra Scorpio panning shot

 

 

 

Ride and ease of driving

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

The Scorpio is the only ladder frame SUV in this shootout. This new generation SUV rides a lot better than its predecessor but is comfortably outclassed by its rivals here, be it ride quality, agility or ease of driving and parking in the city. Low speed ride is quite good as the massive 235 section 17 inch tyres with its 65mm tall side walls ironing out imperfections with ease. It’s the best SUV to take through potholes as you are so far up from the tarmac over some pretty rugged metal underneath. It feels the most robust.

 

 

Nissan Terrano panning shot

 

 

 

The Duster AWD comes close on this robust feeling and rides like a dream. Independent suspension all round keeps it the most surefooted of the lot and ride at high speeds is so impressive that you will feel the most confident driving it fast. Its hydraulic steering is the same unit also used in the Terrano and offers excellent feedback and the most direct turn ins of this lot. The Creta uses an electrically assisted steering set up that’s brilliant to use at low city speeds and while parking but offers no feedback. It weighs up well though as you go faster and feels like the best steering unit we have used on a Hyundai.

 

You also get a parking camera in addition to sensors in the Creta which scores it extra brownie points. Its ride quality is remarkable as well, not too soft, as we’ve known Hyundai to be, yet ironing out road imperfections at low and medium speeds with the kind of suppleness we have seen in the Duster.

 

 

Hyundai Creta cornering

 

 

 

Handling and braking

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

 

Renault Duster AWD cornering

 

 

 

All wheel drive and independent suspension gives the Duster the best handling characteristics in its segment. In fact the Duster AWD can give small hatchbacks a run for their money on the agility front. Body roll into corners is controlled and exit speed out of tight corners is the best of the lot. Every time the front begins to understeer, power is sent to the rear wheels to bring it back in and track the intended line when you begin to step out. The Terrano is similar but gets torsion beam rear suspension that rides very well in its own right and would be the best in segment if not for the AWD Duster. Brakes are the best in segment as well. All SUVs here offer discs up front and drum in the rear but this duo have the best and most progressive bite of the lot.

 

 

Mahindra Scorpio cornering

 

 

 

Hyundai has given the Creta a sorted ride but is still a few steps behind the Duster-Terrano duo on the agility front. The steering weighs well and turn ins are relatively accurate, yet not as confidence inspiring as you push harder. Brakes too could do with a bit more bite and feel.

 

 

Nissan Terrano cornering

 

 

 

You’ve got to dial down your senses a few notches after stepping into the Scorpio. The weight and ladder frame construction make it best suited for the open highway. Show it some twisties and the rest of the lot will leave it far behind. There’s considerable body roll and the centre of gravity is quite high too to inspire any confidence when driving fast through a corner.

 

 

Hyundai Creta group static with Scorpio Duster and Terrano

 

 

 

Fuel Economy and price

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

Besides space, if one section the Scorpio excels at, its value for money. At Rs 12.49 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Scorpio is the most affordable car to buy. It posts 15.4kmpl on the ARAI mileage front, and surprisingly in real world conditions, this number is not too far off the mark. Right at the other end of the spectrum is the Creta. At Rs 13.6 lakh, it is the most expensive car in its segment, but it also offers high quality materials, tops the features list and feels the most desirable of the lot to buy. So charging more than its competition is justifiable. Hyundai posts an ARAI certified figure of 19.67kmpl, almost exactly as much as 19.72kmpl posted by the Duster AWD and a notch above the 19.01kmpl Terrano number.

 

The Duster AWD is expensive to buy. Sure it’s got an AWD system and independent suspension over the rest, but at Rs 13.55 lakh, Renault is banking on the brand value of the Duster to push it through. The AWD Duster has a larger breadth of capability due to its suspension and shift on the fly AWD settings though. The Terrano on the other hand is the least desirable of this fantastic four. It’s not as cheap as the Scorpio, not as well put together as the Creta and not as capable as the Duster AWD. It’s much like the Jack of all trades, for Rs 12.92 lakh.

 

 

Hyundai Creta wins against the Scorpio Duster and Terrano

 

 

 

Verdict

Hyundai Creta

Renault Duster AWD

Nissan Terrano

Mahindra Scorpio

 

The Scorpio is more of a tier 2 and tier 3 town SUV for those who want a rugged, spacious SUV that can transport seven and take the beating of the countryside. It’s good in this singular direction. The Scorpio is also well equipped and gives the Creta a run for its money on the features front. The Terrano handles well and is an easy SUV to drive in town too, and could get better if it had a lighter clutch. It however feels dated. The Duster, although coming from the same mould is a lot fresher offering. It’s got independent suspension and a shift-on-the-fly AWD system that gives it’s the kind of poise at high speeds you just can’t get in any SUV made in India. If you are an enthusiast, the Duster AWD is still the SUV to buy among this group. The Creta however, like all recent Hyundais, scores well in every aspect. If it’s got any shortcomings, they aren’t noticeably short and the positives are of the highest order. High quality interior, long list of features, smart styling, excellent powertrain, good ride quality, the Creta has it all. Hyundai has a winner here.

Recommended Variant : Creta 1.6 SX Diesel