It seems that the Creta is Hyundai’s big bet for Southeast Asia – having started building the SUV in Indonesia in January, the South Korean carmaker has now exported it to Thailand, where it is currently the company’s sole non-MPV passenger car. In case you’re wondering, this is Hyundai’s cheaper B-segment crossover, based on the Kia Seltos and sitting below the Kona in the lineup.

Just like in Indonesia, the Thai market gets the facelifted second-generation model, sporting the new full-width Parametric Jewel grille inspired by the one on the latest Tucson. This means the LED daytime running lights are hidden within the grille, with the main LED headlights separated and nestled in the corners of the bumper. The large decorative skid plate at the front also incorporates the air intake opening.

The rest of the car is very similar to the outgoing car and includes the prominent fender creases, silver roof and C-pillar trim and split triangular taillights; Thai-market cars miss out on the Indonesian model’s silver skirting. The 17-inch turbine-style two-tone alloy wheels are also identical, as is much of the interior with its waterfall-style centre console – which, by the way, predated the Tucson by several months.

But while the ASEAN cars get an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen rather than the 10.25-inch display offered in India, they counter with a 10.25-inch instrument display instead of a seven-inch unit; a Qi wireless charger has also been added. However, some of the Creta’s unique features – such as a powered driver’s seat, front seat ventilation and an air purifier – are missing in Thailand, although you still get automatic air conditioning and rear vents.

Safety is where the Thai-market Creta surges ahead. All variants come with six airbags, stability control and Hyundai’s SmartSense driver assists. These include autonomous emergency braking, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance and a door opening warning.

Also standard is the powertrain – a 1.5 litre Gamma II naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, producing 115 PS at 6,300 rpm and 144 Nm at 4,500 rpm. It is mated as standard to a CVT, or an Intelligent Variable Transmission (iVT) as Hyundai calls it. No option of a six-speed manual here, like in Indonesia or India.

In Thailand, the Creta is offered in two variants, the SE and SEL, with the only differences being the LED interior lighting, ambient light strips, a panoramic sunroof and a rear occupant alert. Only the 949,000 baht (RM119,600) starting price has been revealed so far, although Headlight Magazine reports that the SEL costs an extra 50,000 baht (RM6,300) at 999,000 baht (RM125,900).

Could the Creta come to Malaysia? It’s seems likely given that SUV sales have absolutely taken off here, and with Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) reportedly being able to take in CKD kits from Indonesia, the car could be locally assembled for a more attractive price. The company has previously said it plans to introduce new CKD models in Malaysia this year.