Why I decided to buy a Hyundai Alcazar: Will replace my 2014 Verna
Test drove a lot of SUVs, including the Kia Seltos, Mahindra XUV700, Jeep Compass and even the Hyundai Tucson.
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I currently drive a 2014 Hyundai Verna CRDI SX MT with 1,25,000 km on the ODO. With a 56kms daily commute, was looking for an upgrade since last year. Actually, was smitten by the ADAS tech on offer in the MG Astor and that’s when the new car quest started.
The short version of the story: Tried out almost all vehicles in 25L to 40L OTR Bangalore and then settled for the Hyundai Alcazar by chance. Booked it this week and expect delivery in the next few days.
The long version of the story – My basic requirements:
- Must be an AT.
- A torque converter.
- Must be an upgrade (space-wise from my current Verna).
- Love tech. More the better.
- Preferred budget of about 25L. Stretchable to 35L for the right vehicle.
- Need a big boot space. We carry our house when we travel to our home town. Usable space should be at least as big as our Verna. The Verna really spoilt us with the boot.
- Initially, wanted to switch to petrol due to the DEF and BS6 issues with Diesel.
- We are a family of 2 adults + 1 10-year-old. It is just the 3 of us for 95% of the drives. Very rarely, we may have 1 or 2 added in.
- Panoramic sunroof (this was added as a requirement after we test drove the Astor).
- Should have a nice premium dash (again added after test driving the Astor).
- Captain seats at the rear would be nice to have (added after checking out the Hector).
- As many safety features as possible. Minimum six airbags.
The quest started after the launch of MG Astor. Here are the cars we checked out:
Somehow loved the Mazda-ish looks of this car. Loved the videos and was impressed with the tech. After launch, visited the MG showroom in Coimbatore. I should say, the MG showrooms look much more premium than the rest of the showrooms we visited. The car’s dash was the first thing that impressed us. The tech on offer was amazing. The soft-touch all around was great to feel. But the interiors felt a little smaller than the Verna, especially the shoulder room. And the boot, the less said the better. They have really made it too small. I feel it is in the range of 350 litres.
When checking out the Astor, my wife and son wandered over to Hector. My wife loved the captain seats at the back in the Hector Plus. I had always felt Hector looked nice, but the tallish stance was a bit of an eyesore. But felt I could live with it. Pretty much ticked most of the boxes. The only issues I had that prevented me from booking were – Chinese origins, CVT gearbox, no diesel automatic, and laggy touchscreen. So decided to check out the rest before taking a call.
Checked this out. Loved the exteriors. But again the interiors and boots were smaller than the Verna. Staff in the Kia showroom weren’t really interested in selling the car. The small panoramic sunroof was a downer for my son and wife.
Now, this was a vehicle I loved. The new dash is superb. Loved the fit and finish. The Model S at 38L did not feel value for money. We did not feel like we are getting enough cars for the moolah. Also, I understand what everyone meant by a confused automatic gearbox. It did not seem to shift when we expected it to. And the rear seat was definitely smaller than what we wanted. Put this on hold.
Visited the Hyundai showroom right after we checked out the Jeep Compass. It was more of a cursory visit to make sure we are not leaving anything out. Somehow, did not like the car, as the one on display was the 7 seater. (Note: if you are getting the Alcazar, check out the 6 seater – looks way more premium). Did not even sit in the car and just walked out.
By this time, I was sure I was not ready to spend 30L on a car that I did not like. I have always wanted the Hyundai Tucson and decided to wait for the new-gen release with all the fancy grill, ADAS and more. So the car buying plan was put on hold for 4+ months.
I frankly did not like the demo vehicles I saw on the road (especially that purple shade looked horrible). But in March 2022, started seeing some on the road and thought, it was not bad. And in fact, looked good from some angles. Walked into the Mahindra showroom on Hosur road in Bangalore on a weekend. It was crowded. But was attended to by a salesperson quickly and got to test drive both the Petrol and the Diesel top end automatics. The engine and gearbox combo was superb. The car just doesn’t seem to run out of breath. Even my hardest driving seemed to need only about 50% of the car’s capability. It was that good. This had the most power among all vehicles I test drove. I was always wary of the niggles in TATAs and Mahindras. During the test drive, the SA tried to show something on the touch screen and the screen did not respond. Strike One. The front dash though was filled with gizmos and did not seem as well put together/designed as the Jeep Compass or some of the other cars. The driver and co-passenger door pads have this weird protrusion on the inside that you won’t find on the outside. It is tough to explain in words. Another design flaw. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Strike Two. After the test drive, my wife noticed that the paint on the boot door of the test drive vehicle had completely faded. When asked, the SA gave a vague response about the vehicles getting washed daily resulted in this. Was not convinced one bit. This is a major concern. Owners watch out. After all this, I still liked the power and space the vehicle provided. But wanted to wait a few days before I booked.
Hyundai Tucson (current-gen)
Decided to check out the Diesel current-gen Tucson, as there was news of some big discounts on offer. Called up 5 different dealers in BLR. Advaith and Trident did not have test-drive vehicles readily available last weekend. Only Blue Hyundai had it and went down to test drive the Tucson last Sunday post-lunch. The agreement with my wife was – that it is a generation old vehicle, if she doesn’t like it, we will drop the plans and wait for the new Tucson. Tested the diesel Tucson 4WD. The engine is great. The gearbox is great. But the car has nothing else to offer. It is an old model and it shows. Especially after checking out the above vehicles, this one seemed out of place. The wife was clear she did not like it. So dropped it.
Back to Alcazar: At Blue Hyundai, after the Tucson test drive, my wife casually walked over to check the Alcazar. They had starry night and grey colours on display. Plus they were the 6 seater versions on display. My wife liked the car and called me. I actually did not mind the Alcazar this time around. Especially in the Starry Night. Last time I had seen the Alcazar in 7 seat config in white and did not like it one bit. Can even say I hated it last time. This time, I was OK with it.
Asked the SA for a test drive. They did not have the Diesel AT available, so test drove the Petrol AT. I knew the car was not all I expected from an upgrade but had 95% of what I needed at a cost I was very comfortable with. Especially when compared to the Jeep Compass at Rs 38L (and rumoured Tucson next-gen at 40L+), this seemed like great value for money.
The team-BHP review on the Alcazar is very mixed. The 3rd-row seats are not very usable. But for me, I will have the 3rd row folded and will only use it as a 4 seater. My wife is 5’6″ and found the 2nd row very comfortable. I am 5’10” and found the driving seat very comfortable. The tech on offer – the list is endless, do not want to repeat what everyone has already said. I liked that the camera views are crisp and clear – unlike Hector. Something I would have liked – a powered tailgate, powered co-driver seat, little more soft plastics/leather on the dashboard. Hey, there is no perfect car.
I booked the Hyundai Alcazar Signature Diesel AT on April 25 and did the PDI on the same day. Expecting delivery in the next few days.
Note: Some rumours on the Hyundai Tucson I heard from different dealers:
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