In India, the MPV industry, which includes vehicles that can seat more than five people, is a sizable one. Despite this, there are just a few matches. For budget-conscious customers, Maruti, Renault, and Nissan sell 6- and 7-seat cars, while Ford, MG, Toyota, and Kia have offerings in both SUV and MPV models at the middle and top of the range. Each appeals to the traditional Indian family, which consists of more than four members and lives in larger households. The Alcazar, Hyundai Motor India’s newest offering, is aimed at this family, though it opts for an SUV to provide a more complete experience, as an SUV can do a little more than a regular multi-purpose vehicle.
The Alcazar is built on the bestselling Creta, an SUV that is widely regarded as one of the best in its class and has been in production for more than six years. It was altered to accommodate an extra row of seats, and then revised more in the suspension and engine areas to handle the added weight. What it doesn’t miss is the Creta’s stance, which means you’ll still get higher ground clearance, a more durable build, and drive modes that can lead you on a journey.
The Alcazar’s three rows of seats are located in the centre of the building without much fanfare. The cabin has been redesigned to not only fit the three rows of seats, but also to provide each passenger with the convenience and elegance that most premium Hyundais provide. There are a few cosmetic differences between the Alcazar and the Creta at the front end of the cabin. The two-tone dashboard is the first, and the ambience created by the mood lighting is the second. The latter has had a lot of work done on it; you can adjust the interior lighting colours and even the show look of the high-definition electronic instrument panel, going from a sporty look to a more subtle luxurious look. Colors, iconography, and details can all be changed to suit the mood.
Second, there’s the room for travellers in the second and third rows. Your Alcazar can be configured as a 6- or 7-seater SUV. Captain seats for the second row are available in the 6-seater, while a bench is available in the 7-seater. The 50:50 split-bench seat in the last row of either configuration can be folded fully flat to maximise boot space. The second row is on an adjustable track, meaning it can be moved farther back if second-row passengers want more knee space to spread out, or pulled forward to provide more legroom for those in the third row. If you want to snooze safely on a long journey, the second row can even be reclined significantly. In the 6-seat setup, there are air-conditioning vents for the second row passengers, as well as foldable working tables in the back of the front seats. Air-conditioning ventilation with variable blower rates, cup holders, and USB docking ports are also available to third-row passengers.
To offer the Hyundai Alcazar its distinct character and to support the three rows of passengers, three areas have been critically reworked. The first is purely cosmetic: the front grille has been redesigned to give it a new look. It’s a small improvement, but it creates such a striking visual difference that the general consensus seems to be that Hyundai should extend this procedure to the Creta as well.
The third and most significant alteration is the chassis expansion to accommodate the third row of seats. As a result, the wheelbase has grown, resulting in a vehicle that is longer overall. The Creta’s wheelbase was increased from 2610mm to 2760mm in the Alcazar, a 150mm increase. Though Hyundai hasn’t revealed the Alcazar’s measurements, it’s fair to assume it’ll be about 150mm longer than the Creta. However, simply lengthening the frame would cause all manner of problems with its dynamics and structural power, so it was improved and the suspension was tweaked to improve stability.
The frame is stiffer and stronger thanks to the use of advanced high strength and high quality steels, as well as more weld points. The suspension has been reworked to make it a more supple ride, minimise roll, and accommodate the extra load to accommodate the rise in weight with the track staying the same as the Creta. A rebound stopper on the suspension strut decreases pitch at the front end, while a more vertical position for the rear dampers keeps the tail end under control. The Alcazar is also equipped with 18-inch wheels and 255/65 segment tyres, which contributes to the ride’s volume.
The powertrain was the third topic. The addition of two additional passengers raises the pressure on the engine, so a new third-generation 2.0-litre direct injection naturally aspirated petrol with variable valve timing has been launched exclusively for the Alcazar to alleviate the burden. This gasoline is from the Nu engine family, which also drives the Tuscon. It has been tweaked in the Alcazar to produce more power, 159PS, with comparable quantities of torque, 191Nm.
Hyundai also says that the Alcazar’s engine is 4.4 percent more powerful and has class-leading acceleration, allowing it to reach a 0-100kmph time of less than ten seconds. There’s also a diesel, the 1.5 U2 VGT from the Creta, which has been taken over. It produces 115 horsepower and a maximum torque of 250 Nm. Both engines are available with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, though the Alcazar lacks the Creta’s dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. The automatic transmission version, on the other hand, comes with a drive selector.
Although the ride style, reliability, and efficiency were satisfactory, we were only able to drive the car as many times as we wanted on a 5-kilometer stretch of mostly smooth tarmac with two corners. That’s hardly enough space for a detailed opinion, so I’ll leave it there before we do a more thorough drive later this month. The manual transmission on the prototype I driven had some issues; at about 4000rpm, it just wouldn’t change into a higher or lower speed. And every time I sped hard, the engine sounded like it had struck a wall about 2000rpm. And that is one of my concerns about driving pre-production prototypes: they are never fully functional vehicles that can provide us with a straightforward and succinct image.
Nonetheless, the Alcazar appears to make a good and strong case for a 7-seat SUV on the surface. It has all of the right characteristics to cater to the market, and I’m excited to test a proper production-ready model.