SUVs are currently the most discussed and also the most sought-after class of vehicles in India. However, we have also seen a new form of SUV being successful with 7-seater versions. Buyers want more space, luxury, and features but along with that, like the SUV look and feel plus the ground clearance that comes with one.
Hence we have seen MG Hector Plus and Tata Safari being more spacious versions of their 5-seater counterparts. Now, how can Hyundai be left behind? Hence they have just revealed their three-row version based on the Creta called Hyundai Alcazar. There is no Creta mentioned in the name because it is different in many ways as we will point out shortly.
It is a new SUV based on the Creta but gets many design changes plus of course having more luxury with either a 6-seater or 7-seater layout. The Alcazar is named after a fortress and is certainly a premium SUV going by the list of changes. In design terms, the Alcazar is longer than a Creta with a longer wheelbase too at 2760mm.
We drove a camouflaged car which hid the design but you can make out the Creta-like headlamp set-up but their bumper and grille design is tweaked. The side of course gets a new look courtesy, a flatter roof-line and a rear quarter-glass addition. There are bigger shoes for the Alcazar as well with 18-inch wheels. The rear gets wrap-around tail lamps and it looks completely different from a Creta. It would also get a different color to make it further stand out.
We drove a car with the inside covered up but Hyundai has claimed several changes and a more luxurious interior. The basic dashboard layout is the same with a 10.25-inch touch-screen and a fully digital instrument cluster, but their dial set-up gets more customization options. The interior color scheme is a more premium dual-tone brown/black affair. The features list would also be increased and most of it is concentrated at the second row.
The standard would be a 7-seater but the 6-seater has captain seats that have a floor-mounted console which gets cup-holders along with arm-rests. There are rear AC vents and a panoramic sunroof which add to the luxury bit too. With a longer wheelbase, the space is increased in the second row and you can recline too. The third row has easy access with a one-touch tumble operation. Boot space with the third row up is also claimed to be the best in class.
Yes, the main bit since we drove the petrol version for some time. The Alcazar gets two engine options with no turbo petrol, unlike the Creta. The Alcazar comes with a 2.0l petrol which is reworked from the Tucson/Elantra engine. It makes 159 bhp and 191Nm while gearbox options include a 6-speed manual/automatic. The diesel is shared with Creta being a 1.5l unit but has also been revised.
Anyway, back to the petrol and the 2.0l unit means more power and more refinement. Start the car and the refinement is impressive while on the go, the car is smooth with a relaxed nature. At low speeds, the torque is enough to pull the car without needing downshifts. Despite being a naturally aspirated engine, power delivery is linear. What is also impressive is the 6-speed manual with a light clutch and the steering which goes lighter at low speeds but brings the right amount of control at high speeds. Speaking of which, the engine comes alive once driven hard. Sure, there is no massive spike but there is a gradual build-up of power and feels quick all right. You can spend long hours behind the wheel and not work the engine.
Hyundai has also worked on the suspension, which means it actually rides better than Creta. Over bad roads, the Alcazar felt composed and it is softer in a way its passengers will appreciate the ride. There is no 4WD though, but the ground clearance is decent and it feels lighter to drive than its rivals. There are also different drive modes that alter the steering and throttle – again useful.
There is a lot to like about Alcazar, especially with the power, ride quality, and features. It is also the most spacious with the longest wheelbase. We will test that again when we drive the production version soon but as things stand, Alcazar meets the hype.
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