When Hyundai wanted to enter the flourishing three-row SUV segment, it already had a successful recipe in hand. Relying on the platform of the new-generation Creta, the Korean carmaker launched the three-row Alcazar in June last year. Taking all the positive bits of its five-seat sibling, the Alcazar was introduced to offer its buyers a bigger, premium, and practical cabin. We have extensively driven the Alcazar and you can read our driving impressions here.
Pricewise, the base trim of Alcazar is approximately Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs2 lakh more expensive than the equivalent variant of Creta and falls in the same price bracket as the Tata Safari and the Mahindra XUV700. A few weeks back, the keys of the Alcazar were handed over to the curious me to see if it's just an elongated Creta or offers much more than that. And after spending a considerable time with the Alcazar, here’s what we derived.
How practical is it?
While the Alcazar may appear less imposing and stately than some of its recently launched rivals, we can tell you that the SUV is certainly not short on space. As compared to its inspiration Creta, the wheelbase of Alcazar has been stretched by a notable 150mm. And when you look at its closest rivals, the Alcazar has a wheelbase of 10mm more than XUV700 and Hector Plus and almost 20mm over the Tata Safari. Starting with the front-row seats, they are large, extremely comfortable, and the super-convenient electrically adjustable feature only means that longer tours will be relaxed and insouciant.
The increased wheelbase translates to acres of space for the middle-row passengers. The one that we sampled is the six-seater version with captain seats. With the sliding and recline operation coupled with the fancy retractable tray on the front seatbacks, the second-row seats will definitely have high dibs each time the family plans a detour.
The ingress and egress to the third-row seats are effortless, thanks to the electric one-touch tumble function. Having said that, while accessing the last-row seats might be relatively easy, the space isn’t roomy enough. Although Hyundai has attempted to persuade the occupants with aircon blowers, USB charging ports, and cupholders, the lack of legroom and under-thigh support might result in irked fellow passengers.
If you plan on travelling with all seats occupied, the Alcazar doesn’t have much luggage space to offer, and you might just be able to fit in a couple of small duffel bags or backpacks. However, with the 50:50 split third-row seats that can be folded completed flat, the Alcazar can gobble up the entire family’s baggage and all the accoutrements that you shop on your weekend getaway.
What’s on the feature list?
Hyundai has festooned all the three-rows with modern and pampering features. The first-row passengers are adorned with cooled seats, a wireless charger, and the massive 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Jump to the second row and there’s a dedicated centre console between the captain seats that again gets equipped with a smartphone wireless charger, an armrest with storage, and stowage spaces.
Another notable addition is the fully-digital instrument cluster that throws up tons of data and is well-lit, legible, and intuitive to use. Other inclusions on the Alcazar are the 64-colour ambient lighting, a tyre pressure monitoring system, six airbags, Bose sound system, an air purifier, and an electronic parking brake with auto-hold function. And of course, don’t we Indians love the massive panoramic sunroof in our SUVs?
What’s the fuel efficiency like?
The Hyundai Alcazar that we drove was propelled by a 1.5-litre CRDi diesel engine tuned to put out 113bhp and 250Nm. The engine is mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The same motor can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox as well.
As per our test cycle, the Alcazar diesel AT clocked 12.16kmpl in the city and an impressive 15.44kmpl on the highway. The other powertrain option available on the Alcazar is a 2.0-litre petrol engine that generates 157bhp and 191Nm of peak torque. This motor is paired with a six-speed manual and a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.
How does it perform on daily commute?
The 1.5-litre diesel that powers the Alcazar is already a proven mill and is one of the frugal engines in the segment. Being an oil-burner, the motor is torquey and the mid-range gives you all the meat to amble around the city traffic and cruise at three-digit speeds on the highway.
And while at it, the Alcazar does not feel unusually big and colossal. In fact, it wraps around you and the low set dashboard gives good visibility while manoeuvring in the traffic. However, the steering, although tweaked, feels lightly off-centred and is not the best in the business. Nonetheless, the ride quality on the Alcazar with a full load feels pliant and is never unsettling over undulations and varied road conditions.
Another very useful feature that comes in handy is the blind-spot detection monitor that uses a camera mounted under the ORVMs to display the approaching vehicles. Additionally, the front and rear parking sensors work in tandem with the 360-degree camera to make parking in the tightest places a no sweat. And should you choose to work your way, the raised driver position allows for good visibility all around the edges.
How is it for the weekend?
We have quite a few heavy packers in our team. And the Alcazar was just the right choice for all such outings. The massive boot (after folding the third-row seats) could swallow large and medium suitcases, a couple of duffle bags, and backpacks of all the commuters. And oh, did we say that the Alcazar has eight cupholders, a cooled glovebox, bottle holders in all four doors, and lots of cubby places to put away the knick-knacks.
The fuel tank capacity of 50-litres means that visits to the petrol station will be fewer and with the ease of cruise control and paddle shifters, the highway runabouts should be smooth and cosy. We also liked Alcazar’s relatively car-like seating but it may not bode well with buyers wanting that commanding driving position as offered by Safari and XUV700.
What’s the deal with the warranty?
Let’s face it, the Hyundai Alcazar faces some serious challenge from other league players that have a bigger footprint and a fairly usable third-row space. However, the Alcazar makes a viable purchase for those looking to upgrade from a five-seat SUV that can ferry the molecular family and their belongings cocooned in a well-equipped cabin that feels upmarket, practical, is brimmed with modern features and is easy to live with.
The Hyundai Alcazar is retailed exclusively through the brand’s Signature outlets and can be had with a six or seven-seat layout. There are three variants to choose from with prices starting at Rs 16.34 lakh and going all the way up to Rs 20.15 lakh, (both prices, ex-showroom). In the battle of the family SUVs, the Hyundai Alcazar rivals the likes of the Tata Safari, MG Hector Plus, and the Mahindra XUV700.
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi