Ever since the Creta, Hyundai has been having a good run with their SUVs and the Alcazar is their latest to cement their position as India's number one SUV maker. The six and seven seat SUV segment is becoming the next focus area for manufacturers, after almost everyone has got their foot in the compact SUV segments door. With a solid product like the Creta in their portfolio, it was only logical for Hyundai to rely on it heavily while coming up with a bigger SUV. So is the Alcazar just a bigger Creta?
Well, it does share a lot with the Creta mechanically and visually. The family look is undeniable up front and you will need a keen eye to distinguish the Alcazar from the Creta. There are design elements like the studded pattern grille, an updated bumper and a decently prominent rear quarter glass but require a second to confirm it is not the Creta. The rear is a completely different than the Creta, which is a good thing I feel, with wraparound tail lamps and faux brushed aluminum skid plate. The 18-inch wheels are an upgrade from the Creta is 17-inchers, adding to the SUV look. Hyundai could have done more to distinguish it from the Creta but all in all the Alcazar has road presence and looks modern.
What is a definite upgrade over the Creta is the 2.0 litre petrol engine, borrowed from the Tucson and Elantra but tuned for the Alcazar, which makes 159 bhp and 19.1 kgm. We got to drive it for a really short time, but it did leave us wanting for more. The engine feels sufficient for the Alcazar, is rev happy and might be the pick of the lot for most buyers. The clutch on the six-speed manual, that we drove, is light and easy. Hyundai has managed to hide the size and weight well, as the Alcazar does not feel like a big and heavy car to drive. There will be a diesel option too, the trusted 1.5L motor with 115 bhp and 25 kgm from the Creta, which seems underpowered for the Alcazar on paper but well reserve our comments till we drive it. Both engines will get a six-speed manual and six-speed AT gearbox options.
The space inside however will be the deciding factor for someone considering the Alcazar, we think. Despite using the same platform, Hyundai has managed to get an extra 150mm for the wheelbase which means more legroom for second and third row passengers, and gives the Alcazar an edge over the Tata Safari, MG Hector Plus and the current generation XUV 5OO. The Alcazar will have both a six-seat and seven-seat configuration, captain seats and bench seats in the second row respectively. In the six-seat configuration, there is a fixed arm rest console between the captain seats, which we think is a good touch. The second row will feature a single touch tumble mechanism for easy access to the third row. Third row passengers get dedicated AC vents and with the third row up, there is best in segment 180 litres of boot space available.
Since we drove pre-production cars, it will not be fair to talk much about the interiors and features but expect a more premium space than the Creta with the usual bells and whistles one has come to expect of Hyundai ventilated seats, dual tone interiors, panoramic sunroof, connected car tech, 360-degree camera, you know what we mean.
The Alcazar is expected to be unveiled by the end of April and Hyundai is aiming for deliveries to start by May, 2021. From whatever we have seen till now, it is a true blue Hyundai. It looks good, it has all the features its buyers will want, and it will be easy to maintain. Hyundai will price it competitively we expect, with prices being in the 12-22 lakh (ex-showroom) range. Given their success in the SUV space, Hyundai will leave no stone unturned to make the Alcazar a success. Time will tell whether the success will eat into the competitions share or the Cretas.