Hyundai Alcazar: Mini palace on wheels

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Updated: June 28, 2021 7:45 AM

The comfort features you’d find in a Rs 50 lakh luxury car are also available in the top-end variant of the Alcazar

I drove the new Hyundai Alcazar last Thursday, right after driving a high-end Audi SUV. To my surprise, in the Alcazar (which costs maybe one-fourth the price of the Audi I drove), I found features that weren’t available in that Audi, including ventilated seats, side-indicator cameras, rear-seat head-pillows and rear-seat laptop stand, among others.
Agreed, the Audi was far, far more advanced in terms of driving technologies, and fit-and-finish and comfort, but it must be appreciated that, over the years, Hyundai to have brought to the Rs 15-25 lakh segment the features that were earlier available only in high-end luxury cars.

Design

The Alcazar has a love-me-or-hate-me design; while it has a lot of muscular design lines and an extended hood, it doesn’t have the kind of road presence a seven-seater SUV should have. From a distance, it looks like the Creta, even though the rear design is impressive.

Cabin

I drove the top-end diesel automatic Signature variant (Rs 19.99 lakh, ex-showroom) and it’s loaded to the brim, including features such as powered driver’s seat, electric parking brake, wireless charger, ventilated seats, rear-seat head-pillows, remote engine and AC start (to cool the cabin even before you step in), and so on. The overall fit-and-finish is also first-rate. Like many other Hyundai cars, the Alcazar is also a ‘connected car’, with 60-plus connectivity features (the most for a Hyundai vehicle).
While space in the first and second rows is very good, the third-row space is limited (best for kids or short-heighted adults). But a nice touch is that entering the third row is extremely easy—the one-touch tip-and-tumble function of the second row ensures you don’t have to struggle making way into the third row.

Ride and handling

There are two engine and two gearbox options on offer—the 1,999cc petrol and 1,493cc diesel, and 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic. The diesel I drove is surprisingly quiet; in fact, so good is the cabin insulation that neither the sound nor vibrations enter the cabin. The diesel is powerful, too. While 115 PS may not sound enough, the 250 Nm torque kicks in early at about 1,500 rpm and, at the full press of the accelerator pedal, the Alcazar just shoots ahead like an electric car. The 6-speed automatic gearbox is smooth—you won’t really feel when the gears are being changed. While the claimed fuel efficiency of this engine and trim is 18.1 km/litre, I got 16 km/litre in a mix of highway and city driving.

Verdict

A two-day drive only on one variant isn’t enough to judge a car, and yet what I can say is that the Alcazar comes across as good value for money—the variant I drove will cost less than Rs 25 lakh on-road, and it has features found in cars Rs 50 lakh and above. At the same time, why would anyone want to buy the Alcazar when similar features are available in the Creta that is priced a few lakh rupees less (variant-to-variant)? Yes, those two extra seats are an advantage, but a buyer must do a cost-benefit analysis whenever thinking of buying a 5-seater SUV and a 7-seater SUV.

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