Priced correctly, this could be a cash cow for Hyundai USA.
With a starting price of $19,000, the Hyundai Venue offers exceptional value for those looking for an affordable and compact SUV. However, if you have a large family, the Venue isn't going to cut the mustard with its relatively diminutive rear seats. Those in the know will point at the Palisade, the brand's biggest SUV that has space for up to eight occupants. But with a base MSRP of $33,350 and a thirsty 3.8-liter V6, it's not suited to the average American's monthly budget.
So, what are buyers to do? Well, elsewhere, Hyundai has provided a solution in the form of the Grand Creta. Available in markets such as Mexico and South Africa, the compact seven-seater is available with two engine options: a 2.0-liter gas engine with 157 horsepower and 141 lb-ft of torque and a 1.5-liter turbodiesel with 113 hp and 184 lb-ft. The former is available with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, while the latter is limited to the auto box.
Despite the relatively compact dimensions (it's taller and wider than the previous-gen Tucson), the Grand Creta boasts impressive levels of passenger space. In fact, it boasts comparable leg- and headroom to slightly larger, five-seater SUVs, although passengers in the third row may want for more space. As such, it's best left for shorter journeys or ferrying kids to school.
Those seated in the Grand Creta won't want for toys, though. Even the base model is well-equipped, boasting an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, myriad USB ports, cruise control, LED headlamps, and more. Plusher models receive mood lighting and power adjustment for the front seats.
Styling-wise, the latest addition to Hyundai's SUV family leans heavily on the Palisade and that's no bad thing. The front end receives an imposing grille, while the styling of the rear side windows also resembles the items found on the Grand Creta's plusher sibling. At the rear, dual exit exhaust tips mirror the examples found on the Palisade, too.
So, what does it cost? Well, in Mexico, the base model comes in at the equivalent of around $23,500, making it excellent value. For what it's worth, an entry-level Palisade weighs in at $53,000 for our Southern neighbors. If it were to make it stateside, the Grand Creta would be an affordable seven-seater alternative for families not looking to spend much. We'd like a trifle more power, though.
It's not the first time a Korean carmaker has denied us an enticing SUV. In January, sister brand Kia revealed the Mohave, a large and imposing body-on-frame SUV for the Korean market. While the styling could do with a healthy dose of modernization, it would sell well over here, if priced correctly. Problem is, it would compete with the accomplished Telluride; not a smart business idea. In the case of the Grand Creta, it would only strengthen Hyundai's local SUV lineup. Priced correctly, it could be a best-seller.