Hyundai Motor India has expanded its SUV portfolio with the launch of the new Alcazar, its fifth SUV. The six- and seven-seater SUV was launched today with introductory prices of Rs 16.30 lakh for the petrol version, while the diesel version is priced from Rs 16.53 lakh (ex-showroom, India).
The Korean carmaker had begun accepting bookings for the Alcazar online and at dealerships from June 9, with the booking amount set at Rs 25,000. Hyundai claims it has already received 4,000 bookings for the Alcazar, with a 50:50 split between the automatic and manual gearbox versions. Additionally, 60 percent of the models booked are with the six-seat layout and the remaining 40 percent are with the seven-seat layout.
The Creta-based Alcazar gets subtle design changes to help differentiate it from India’s best-selling SUV. These include a new grille, an updated front bumper, a prominent rear quarter glass, new wraparound tail-lights, a slightly more upright tailgate, faux dual exhaust tips and a larger set of 18-inch alloy wheels (compared to the Creta’s 17-inchers). Another prominent difference when compared to the Creta, is that the Alcazar looks noticeably longer, owing to its 150mm longer wheelbase (2,760mm).
The Alcazar SUV is available in three trim levels – Prestige, Platinum, and Signature. The Alcazar is also available in six exterior paint shades comprising Taiga Brown, Typhoon Silver, Polar White, Titan Grey, Phantom Black and Starry Night. Of these, two colours (white and grey) will be offered in a dual-tone scheme.
The Alcazar bristles with a number of features including a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster (a segment first), a 10.25-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Hyundai’s connected car tech, a lane change camera (visible in the instrument cluster when you use the indicator), a 360-degree camera, in-built middle-row sun shades, a panoramic sunroof, ISOFIX child seats mounts, wireless phone charging and automatic climate control.
It is worth noting that, unlike the i20 and Verna which use a low-cost backlit LCD digital instrument panel, the Alcazar uses a full-fledged colour screen (similar to the one seen on Hyundai models abroad).
The Alcazar will get an added row of seats, with either a six-seat (with captain’s chairs in the second row) or seven-seat (with bench seating in the second row) configuration. The interior will also be offered in a black-and-brown dual-tone colour scheme, and the version with captain's chairs gets a unique floor-mounted central armrest with cupholders, a wireless phone charger and extra storage space.
Petrol and diesel engines
The Alcazar comes with a petrol and a diesel engine option. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine is an updated and more powerful version of the one in the Elantra and Tucson. In the Alcazar it develops 159hp and 192Nm (7hp more than the Elantra). The diesel engine on the other hand, is the same 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged unit from the Creta – producing 115hp and 250Nm – though it has been tuned differently.
Gearbox options for both engines include a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. Hyundai also claims that the Alcazar, in the petrol-manual configuration, can do the 0-100kph sprint in 9.5sec. Additionally, the three-row SUV is available with multiple drive modes – Comfort, Eco and Sport – as well as multiple traction control modes – Sand, Snow and Mud.
On the fuel efficiency front, the petrol manual returns 14.5kpl while the automatic version returns 14.2kpl. The diesel engine is even more frugal, as with the manual gearbox it returns 20.4kpl and with the automatic, it returns 18.1kpl. Hyundai claims, this makes the Alcazar the most fuel-efficient SUV in the segment.
At present, the Hyundai Alcazar competes with the other three-row SUVs like the MG Hector Plus, Tata Safari and the Mahindra XUV500. Though, this segment is set to become even more competitive with the arrival of the new Mahindra XUV700 (that replaces the current XUV500) later this year.
Ready for Signature drive
To ensure its 522 dealer showrooms across the country are ready and stocked with the latest Hyundai SUV, in May 2021, the carmaker produced a total of 1,460 Alcazars at its plant in Chennai and despatched 1,360 units.
Meanwhile, the company has kicked off a project of enhancing customer experience by the virtue of its internal classification of showrooms as ‘Signature Outlets’. These dealerships in some of the bigger cities will see executives who have been specially trained to handle customers who are more tech-savvy to carry out a part of the purchase journey online and value soft skills as well.
“It is a big step to improve the overall buying experience of a customer. Going forward, we expect that more of our dealer partners will join this internal initiative of Hyundai Motor India to enhance the customer’s experience,” said Tarun Garg, Director (Marketing, Sales & Service).
In a pandemic-impacted FY2021, Hyundai sold a total of 214,167 UVs for a market share of 20.19%. The Creta with 120,035 units accounted for 56% of UV sales, with sibling Venue contributing 43% to total numbers. Will the Alcazar, Hyundai's fifth SUV for India, lend more market firepower to the Korean carmaker? We'll have a wait a few months to find out.