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Hyundai Alcazar first drive impressions

S Muralidhar | Updated on April 09, 2021

Despite the Creta resemblance at the front, the new 7-seater SUV has enough differentiators to justify its unique name and positioning

Hyundai’s much-anticipated 3-row SUV — the Alcazar — is likely to be officially unveiled later this month. But at a special media preview this week, journalists were allowed to get a sneak peak of the vehicle and also get behind the wheel of the camouflaged pre-production version to get an initial impression. The drive itself was only a short stretch in the outskirts of Jaipur. So, I must stress that the driving impression is based only on the little time spent in the Alcazar. A full test drive review will have to wait till I can spend some quality time with the final production road test mule. Folks at Hyundai pointed out that the fit and finish of the cabin, for example, will be better in the production version. Though, since the company has enforced an embargo on details about the Alcazar’s interior, I can’t offer much information about the same.

Design

The most striking element of the Alcazar’s design is really its large SUV size and the increased wheelbase (150mm) that makes it significantly bigger than the Creta. There is still likely to be a steady stream of potential buyers that will call it the long wheelbase version of Hyundai’s popular 5-seater SUV; and that would be because of the resemblances at the front. The grille and the headlamps do remind me of the Creta.

The grille is different and the chrome multiple cell configuration goes well with the Sensuous Sportiness theme of the Alcazar’s design language. But the rear is almost entirely different. With the new tail-lamp design and configuration, the thick chrome connecting bar with the Alcazar branding embossed on it and the different C-pillar treatment giving this vehicle a unique identity.

 

The roofline has been straightened compared to the Creta and the rear doors are wider to improve the entry-exit points. With the wheelbase being lengthened, the overhangs are proportionate, and the Alcazar’s stance is still elegant and not ungainly. Bigger DLO from larger windows and the panoramic sunroof brings a lot of light into the cabin.

The wheel arches and the crease line highlighting the same have been carried forward from the Creta with some changes. But the body sidelines are different and there is also the addition of a running floorboard in the trim I test dove. The cabin of the Alcazar feels substantially more spacious than the Creta. The second row of seats also get track mounts to enable forward-backward adjustments and so finding enough legroom shouldn’t be a problem. The 6-seater version gets captain seats and a separate centre console for the second row. The third row features two seats with the option of increasing legroom by moving the second row seat forward. This is also expected to be the first 7-seater SUV with connected car features. Can’t mention much more about the cabin due to the embargo.

Powertrain options

The Alcazar will be offered by one petrol and a diesel engine option. The new power unit is the 3rd Gen Nu 2.0-litre petrol BS6 engine that will deliver 159PS of peak power and 19.5KgM of torque. There will also be a diesel engine option in the U2 1.5-litre unit, from the Creta and in the same state of tune, delivering 115 PS of peak power and a max torque of 25.5KgM. Both the engines are offered with 6AT (auto) and 6MT transmission options.

The Nu 2-litre petrol engine feels peppy and quick off the block. This engine’s previous generation is also offered by Hyundai in the Tucson currently. The 6-Speed Automatic gearbox features a super flat torque converter that reduces losses during acceleration.

I did not get to test the diesel engine versions, but Hyundai claims that the gear ratios have been optimised for the Alcazar for handling the slightly higher weight. The U2 diesel engine is also said to offer best in segment fuel efficiency with both 6MT and 6AT.

Ride quality

I can’t qualify the ride quality of the Alcazar without driving it over more diverse terrain. But the short drive near Jaipur was over a mix of concretised tarmac, single carriageway state highway and broken village roads. The initial impression is good and even though the longer wheelbase leads to more roll, the Alcazar still holds steady on the straights and into turns. Hydraulic rebound stoppers in the front struts are meant to improve the ride feel. My prototype test mule sported 18-inch rims and the spare wheel is mounted under the boot floor.

The expectation is that there will only be three trim variants for both the engine options and prices could range from ₹16 lakh to ₹20 lakh.

Published on April 09, 2021

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