Hyundai announces its first global compact crossover will wear ‘Creta’ badge

Hyundai has announced its first global compact crossover will go by the Creta name and will begin sales in India before launching elsewhere.

What’s in a name? For Hyundai, the Creta name was derived from largest Greek island, Crete. Hyundai chose the name because Crete was the focal point for Greece’s global dominance in trade ancd culture. The company hopes to mirror the whole “global dominance” thing with the Creta as an important model in a growing segment.

“Pronunciation of Creta deliberately evokes welcome similarities with the term ‘creative,’ and draws on positive associations with the Mediterranean island of Crete, which is famed for combining a relaxed and tranquil environment with a vibrant, energetic approach to outdoor activities,” Hyundai said in a statement.

For now, those words are all just about we know about the upcoming CUV, which will go on sale in the second half of this year. In India, the Hyundai Creta will compete with models from Mahindra & Mahindra, Renault, Nissan, Ford and Tata Motors.

Elsewhere, the Honda HR-V and upcoming Mazda CX-3 will rival the new crossover. While Hyundai has called the Creta a “global model,” that hasn’t always guaranteed it will make the trip to North America.

Expect engines to be ported from the Hyundai Tucson, the automaker’s current entry-level crossover. That means a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Don’t be surprised if the Korean automaker detunes it a bit for the CUV’s smaller size.

If the Creta does come to North America, it won’t arrive until 2016, marketed as a 2017 model year vehicle. With crossovers of all shapes and sizes attracting masses of U.S. buyers, it would make a good deal of sense for Hyundai to float the new CUV stateside.