Why would I buy it?
- Matured design
- Smooth, powerful petrol engine
- Comfortable, feature-laden cabin
Why would I avoid it?
- Busy ride quality
- Limited third-row space
The Hyundai Alcazar looks and feels better than the Creta and has more spacious and comfortable seating than the 5-seater SUV too. But it's not a perfect six or seven-seater, which limits its appeal over the Creta. While a head to head comparison will tell us if it fares better at seating all six or seven occupants as compared to the others in the segment, the Alcazar is a good upgrade for those looking larger SUV and do not want to settle for an MPV.
Engine and Performance
The Alcazar comes with two engine options – a petrol and a diesel. The diesel is the same that you also get in the Creta with similar power figures. But what we are driving here is the petrol and I’m glad Hyundai hasn’t used the same 1.4 TGDi unit from the Creta. Don’t get me wrong, the 1.4 TGDi is the best engine choice in the Creta but the Alcazar gets a more powerful 2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine. This engine churns out an impressive 157bhp and 191Nm of torque. Gearbox options include a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque-converter automatic.
The first thing you notice is the refinement. The engine just purrs at idle and is creamy smooth on the go. No turbo to deal with here and with a larger displacement in its favour, throttle response is immediate. And because its naturally aspirated it’s got a very linear throttle response, when you do bury the throttle you expect some shove but there isn’t. The power delivery is so linear that you just end up waiting for that sudden rush to come and then you just run out of revs.
The engine really masks its performance well and it is only the speed warning chimes that let one know about the speeds. One does not really need to rev it too much and just using all the torque gives it enough performance when one needs it. Even when driven in higher gears, throttle response is very good giving it good drivability.
What we need to find later when we test it is the performance with a full load. So watch out for the complete road test. As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, Hyundai claims 14.2 kmpl for the AT and 14.5 kmpl for the manual, which isn’t bad for a large petrol engine SUV.
Ride and Handling
To aid cushioning, the front struts feature a Hydraulic Rebound Stopper. Also to offer better control of that big heavy body, the Alcazar gets a U-Shaped coupled torsion beam axle. So do they work? The Alcazar feels a little stiff on the uneven sections and the sharper bumps do filter in. so on most surfaces, it feels busy all the time. But speed breakers and the more rounded undulations are dealt with very well.
The Alcazar, even with its big dimensions, feels well-controlled when pushed hard around corners. The steering is devoid of any feel but has a good amount of weight to it for confidence at higher speeds. The Alcazar, like the Creta, also gets driving modes which include comfort eco and sport along with traction modes like snow, sand and mud to traverse in difficult conditions. Unfortunately no 4x4 option for the Alcazar.
What is also impressive is the braking. The Alcazar gets discs all around and the brakes feel good which gives confidence at high speeds but it could do with more initial bite. We can’t wait to test it and check the numbers.
Overall, the Alcazar does not boast the best ride quality, but it makes for a good overall ride and handling package.
Interior Space and Comfort
Inside the Alcazar, the view is similar to the Creta and that is not a bad thing at all, because we absolutely love the Creta’s interiors. It’s a nice airy cabin, plastic quality feels good and so does the dual-tone dashboard. What we really like are the details like this large 10.25-inch screen take up the entire width of the centre of the dash, aircraft-style shifter and this nicely designed steering wheel that really pop. Another fantastic addition is this sliding front sun visor which is a huge boon when the sun is right in your face.
The biggest draw here…apart from that massive infotainment screen is the fully digital 10.25-inch instrument cluster. It’s got some really sharp graphics, looks really eye-catching, offers a plethora of information and can be customised too.
What we have here is the 6 seater variant with captain seats. The seats on their own are very comfortable and offer good support all around making it comfortable for long-distance. Legroom is not an issue at all but what makes it special are things like these. The ambient lighting gives one a lounge-like experience, though we can't show it to you in the pictures because we didn't have it with us for long. Then there is this, a seatback table to keep your stuff on and it also gets a notch to hold your phone and tablet. That apart, the Alcazar also gets wireless phone charging at the rear which makes it extremely convenient and this sunshade as well.
Now the most important differentiation of the Alcazar over the Creta is the extra row of seats. So how do they fare? As you can see in the pictures, it’s not the most spacious in here and is good for kids at best. When it comes to adults, short trips should be manageable. You get dedicated aircon vents to keep you cool and USB ports as well. the backrest can be adjusted for recline as well, which is good.
Now talking about the boot space, with all the seats up, the Alcazar offers a good 180L of space but once you start folding the seats, it can definitely move a whole house.
Features and Safety
A high point of any Hyundai is the number of features it packs in and the Hyundai Alcazar is no different. Apart from the features already mentioned, you also get 8-way adjustable power driver’s seats, 8 speaker Bose sound system, 64 ambient lighting colours to choose from, voice enable panoramic sunroof, air purifier, rear parking camera, ventilated front seats, cruise control, wireless charging in the front and back, USB chargers in all three rows, cooled glovebox, Bluelink connected car tech and more.
Even on the safety front, Hyundai is really packing it in. You get a blind view monitor, surround-view monitor with 360-degree camera, Electronic stability control, hill start assist, rear disc brakes, ABS with EBD, six airbags and more.
Yes, the Hyundai Alcazar does look similar to the Creta, because, despite all the extensive work gone in, it still is a seven or six-seater version of the very popular Creta. Now it might have a different name but it’s still a longer version of the Creta, so yes it does look similar to one too. At the front distinguishing the Alcazar is the new cascading grille which gives it plenty of presence with a likeable and premium dark chrome finish. On the side, you’d notice the 200mm extra length of the Alcazar over the Creta. And frankly the Alcazar thanks to the extra length looks more proportional than the Creta. What also adds to the looks are these new 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels with an additional 10mm of ground clearance over the Creta. At the back, the Alcazar also gets much better-looking honeycomb inspired tail lamps. Taking centre stage at the bottom is the massive skid plate which is complemented by this sporty twin exhaust tip. Overall, the Alcazar might look similar to the Creta, but frankly, it’s a better-looking version of the Creta in every sense.
But the question is why? The Creta is anyways extremely popular and selling like hotcakes so is Hyundai being greedy?
Well…not exactly and I’ll tell you why. You see, an SUV buyer, he likes his cars, he's slightly passionate about them too and for quite a few it’s the image that these SUVs portray which also matters a lot. So what if this buyer wants an SUV but he also wants his large or extended family to fit in. Well, you see then he’s in a dilemma. Since he is too bothered by the image thing or just the love for an SUV won’t let him buy an MPV. That’s when SUVs like the Tata Safari and Hyundai Alcazar come into the picture.
So answering the question, is the Alcazar just a Creta with more seats? Well, the answer is yes, but it’s not just a Creta with more seats… it’s a lot more than that. For starters it looks better, it’s got more features, it’s got more seats and it packs in more performance.
Prices for the Alcazar start at Rs. 16.3 lakh and top out at 19.99 lakh and these are pretty much in the same ballpark as the Tata Safari and the MG Hector Plus which are its immediate rivals. But will the popularity of the Creta and its huge list of features give the Alcazar an advantage over its rivals? That’s something we need to wait and watch.
Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi