Honda Elevate vs its competition: Comparing the interiors
The cars in this comparison include Creta/Seltos, Grand Vitara/Hyryder, Nexon old/new, and even the Hector and Alcazar.
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Second Look at Elevate
Today, I had a chance to look at the Elevate again, and as fate would have it, I was also visiting other showrooms. So this is an interior-only comparison between Elevate and Competition. I am planning to do a test drive of all in the next couple of weeks.
Elevate vs. Creta/Seltos
I have to give it to Hyundai here. When they started in India, they were not a premium player, and costly products like the Santa Fe and Sonata failed miserably. But now, when you look at the Elevate and Creta/Seltos side by side, it’s clear that the Creta and Seltos are more premium offerings. I’m not talking about the abundance of features, but the interior design, use of materials, and interior space scream premium in the Creta and Seltos. I compared variant to variant, and every variant in the Creta/Seltos was worth an additional ₹50,000 compared to the Elevate.
On specifics, the Creta/Seltos driver seat is more comfortable than the Elevate’s. It’s larger in the Creta/Seltos and has generous legroom. With adjustment, you’ll be at home in no time. But in the Elevate, legroom is just enough, and pushing the seat all the way back will compromise the rear legroom. Moreover, the Elevate driver seat does not have good under-thigh support, which is a deal breaker for me.
The Creta/Seltos dashboard is modern and uses more premium plastics compared to the Elevate’s. I would still pick the Elevate’s classy dashboard, though. But on a side-by-side comparison, you can clearly see that Kia has made sure the Seltos have better materials than the Elevate.
Moving to the rear seat, the Creta and Seltos are again the clear winners. The rear seat length is smaller in the Elevate, and it lacks under-thigh support. The elevated footrest also puts passengers in an uncomfortable position. Even though the Elevate uses leatherette, the Creta/Seltos rear seat is more comfortable for longer rides due to its reclining function. Three passengers can sit at ease in the Creta/Seltos, while only two and a half can fit in the Elevate.
The only place where the Elevate may have an advantage is in safety. Honda cars generally have good safety ratings, while Hyundai and Kia have been criticized for their unstable shell in the past. However, if Hyundai/Kia releases the Creta/Seltos with a better shell with a 5-star rating, there would be no contest.
Elevate vs. Grand Vitara/Hyryder
I will be honest here, I am biased against Suzuki. It’s nothing against their customers, I thought Suzuki products were not for me. But boy-oh-boy, I was never so wrong in my life. I went to the Nexa showroom with this prejudice. But, after seeing the Elevate and Grand Vitara back to back, it changed. Stepping into the Grand Vitara immediately gives you the impression it’s a car built to change perceptions. The rear seat is a bit longer than the Elevate’s, but it gives a comfortable seating position for three people. We were not sitting shoulder to shoulder, but under-thigh support is similar to the Elevate’s, i.e., lacking. The regular floorboard and flat rear beach give a good seating position in the rear.
Moving to the front, the driver seat is similar to the Elevate’s, again lacking under-thigh support. Free travel of the seat and steering adjustment means I am comfortable again in no time. I am able to use the armrest, unlike the useless one in the Elevate (which is positioned very far back). Petrol boot space is similar to the Elevate’s, but the hybrid is not worse either. Interior materials could have been better at this price range. But, at ₹22L on-road for the Delta+ OR G hybrid, I am okay with interior quality (an additional ₹20-30K will spruce up the interiors).
One of the biggest advantages of the Grand Vitara and Hyryder is their fuel efficiency. The hybrid variants can achieve up to 25 km/l, while the Elevate only gets 15 km/l. However, the Grand Vitara and Hyryder are also more expensive (2L more compared to ZX CVT). Overall, the Grand Vitara and Hyryder are better cars than the Elevate. They offer more features, better fuel efficiency, and more modern technology. However, they are also more expensive with not-so-good interiors.
Elevate vs. Hector
I know the Elevate and Hector are not strictly apple-to-apple comparisons, but with recent price reductions and discounts, the Hector Shine CVT and Elevate ZX CVT are only a couple of thousand apart, so it makes sense to compare them. The Hector is a big car, but it has become an older model. It’s been five years since its release, and the cosmetic changes are no longer enticing for new buyers.
Stepping into the Hector after the Elevate makes the Hector look like a palace. There is an abundance of space in the Hector. The driver’s seat of the Hector is one of the most comfortable places in the entire car. The seat is large enough to accommodate me and provides good support all around. I wish Honda had provided this seat in the Elevate. Ingress is better in the Hector than in the Elevate, and the large, comfortable driving seats mean longer less tiring drives. The infotainment system is still an eyesore. MG should have provided a floating system or slab-like system instead of the after-market-looking, sore thumb system.
In the rear, the flat bench and flat floorboard mean comfortable seating for three passengers. One thing I never noticed before in the Hector is the lack of depth in the rear. Raised floorboards mean the height between the rear bench and the floor is lower, leading to an awkward knee position, at least for me. A flat-folding rear bench gives the option to use it as a bed, which is lacking in the Elevate.
Compared to the Elevate, Hector is a good option if I am looking for a spacious and comfortable SUV but it is not as fuel-efficient or modern as the Elevate or the Grand Vitara/Hyryder.
Elevate vs. Alcazar
The Alcazar Prestige (O) diesel TC was available for approximately ₹22.5 lakh after discounts, so we had a look at the Alcazar as well. Compared to the Elevate, the Alcazar looks muted. There is not much difference between the interior of the Creta and the Alcazar except for the use of more premium colors. The rear seats are compromised in the Alcazar but comparable to the Elevate. Both are not comfortable for long durations. The third row is almost useless, but it can be used for kids or folded down for more luggage space. We quickly moved on because if we were compromising on the rear seat, we could buy the Elevate at a lower price instead of the Alcazar.
Elevate vs. Nexon old/new
Again, I don’t have a high opinion of Tata Motors. They are one of the most intelligent and idiotic car manufacturers in India. On the one hand, they won’t move away from their egg design, but on the other hand, the new Nexon interiors are clearly an upgrade compared to the old Nexon or Elevate. The Nexon is a smaller CSUV than the Elevate, but it is also much cheaper. On the front, I did not like the glossy, glowing thing in the steering wheel. The entire time I was in the front, I was wondering what would happen in case of a crash. Will the glass-like material harm me, or others? How will the airbag get deployed? This spoiled the visit and I could not concentrate much on anything else.
Some of the materials used and the gear lever are better than in the Elevate, but Tata QC is still pathetic. Our new car had a broken lock in the armrest. The infotainment system did not switch on and the battery had to be removed and rehooked for it to work. The rear bench is good for its size, but we sit lower compared to the Elevate. The Nexon is very much loaded compared to the Elevate for its price, but it does not have the same level of quality and refinement as the Elevate. Honda QC and service are vastly superior to Tata. Until Tata improves on this aspect, their cars are not for me.
The Elevate missed a golden opportunity to win the market decisively. When Apple released the iPhone 1, there were plenty of phones in the market. However, Apple took time to study the market, improve on the drawbacks of existing mobile phones, and released a vastly superior phone that propelled them to where they are today. Honda, with the made-for-India Elevate, could have released a vastly superior car compared to anything in the market and won over Indian customers. The Elevate is a good SUV, but it is not the best in its class. It is not as premium as the Creta/Seltos or the Hector, and it is not as fuel-efficient as the Grand Vitara/Hyryder. Elevate is a master of none product that will quickly settle into a lower position in the CSUV market.
P.S: For reasons beyond my understanding, I am still keeping the Elevate booking. Maybe the power of Honda compels me to retain the booking.
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