The Hyundai Alcazar gets a new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine
The Hyundai Alcazar gets a new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engineAbhishek Benny for evo India

2023 Hyundai Alcazar Turbo first drive review

With a new turbo-petrol heart and a few tweaks inside out, has the Hyundai Alcazar become more desirable than before?

As we know, Hyundai now has a brand new 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine in its portfolio, and it sets performance benchmarks in the C-segment sedan space under the hood of the all-new Verna. We recently got the opportunity to drive the updated Alcazar that benefits from an engine swap. The 2-litre nat-asp engine makes way for this new turbo-petrol unit, and we are glad that the Alcazar petrol now makes considerably more torque than before. Because if there’s one thing that the 2-litre engine needed, it was more grunt. The new 1.5-litre turbocharged engine produces 158bhp and 253Nm of peak torque. That’s an increase of 1bhp and 62Nm over its predecessor. This engine also does duty in Kia’s lineup including the Seltos and the Carens. And it is also RDE and E20 compliant. So what difference does a 25 per cent increase in the torque figure make to the way the Alcazar drives? Let’s find out.

1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine is silent
1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine is silentAbhishek Benny for evo India

The Alcazar’s older 2-litre nat-asp petrol mill lacked mid-range and struggled to pick up pace when driven on the boil. It had a respectable amount of low-end grunt and that was about it. The engine was refined, and when driven leisurely did deliver over 16kmpl, fully loaded out on the open road, but it scuffled with quick overtakes, something which is needed every now and then on the Indian highways. Well, that problem has now been solved with the 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine. This powerplant naturally gets better mid-range courtesy the turbocharger. The turn of pace is impressive once the turbo spools, and the overall performance feels far stronger than before. The transmission doesn’t need to drop a gear for an overtake between 80-100kmph now as the torque reserve gives the Alcazar just the right amount of grunt to make the move. What surprised me though, was its refinement. It’s quiet at city speeds and only becomes slightly vocal at the other end of the tacho.

Two-tone interior looks classy
Two-tone interior looks classyAbhishek Benny for evo India

You can have either a 6-speed manual or the 7-speed DCT with this engine and what I sampled was the latter. The 7-speed DCT is quick and smooth, but only on the move. In bumper-to-bumper traffic it does feel a little jerky and not as refined as the older 6-speed torque converter unit. The Alcazar continues to get three drive modes — Eco, Normal and Sport. In the first two, it feels laidback with slow throttle response. In Sport mode though, it feels much more energetic due to the sharper throttle response and as the DCT holds gears longer, it revs until the redline. The Alcazar feels more agile due to the responsive turbo-petrol engine, however its handling characteristics don’t change. It still rolls a fair bit around corners, but at no point does it feel dangerous. The roll is predictable and grip levels aren’t too bad. The soft damping gives it a nice ride, especially on our monsoon ravaged roads. Hyundai claims that they also shifted to the turbo-petrol engine to improve the fuel economy of the Alcazar, which is now rated at 18kmpl. I managed to eke out 10kmpl combined with 70 per cent highway and 30 per cent city driving. The Alcazar now gets an auto start/stop function, and that should help in increasing fuel efficiency in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The Alcazar does have a fair bit of body roll
The Alcazar does have a fair bit of body rollAbhishek Benny for evo India

On the outside there are just two minor cosmetic changes on the new Alcazar. A smaller grille up front and extra badging. To signify its new powertrain, the Alcazar gets a ‘Turbo’ badge on the tailgate and a DCT badge on the front right fender. Other than that, you won’t be able to differentiate this car from its previous version if you’re looking at it from the side or the back. On the inside, the Alcazar continues to boast intuitive digital real estate with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch central infotainment touchscreen. It also continues to be just as comfy and feature loaded as before with snug seats, an 8-speaker Bose surround sound system, a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting and an air purifier, among other kit.

10.25-inch digital cluster is easy to read
10.25-inch digital cluster is easy to readAbhishek Benny for evo India

Depending on the variant you choose, the Hyundai Alcazar is now Rs 40,000-50,000 more expensive than before. But it still makes a good case for itself because of its highly competitive pricing. It is more affordable than all its rivals, save for the Kia Carens. Yes, it does miss out on a few features such as ADAS, but it has all the things that you’ll ever need. It is spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and now with that turbo-petrol plus DCT combo, it is also quite fun to drive.

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