Kia Carens vs Hyundai Alcazar: Space and Practicality Comparison Review

Published On Feb 10, 2022 By Arun for Kia Carens

Shared platforms, but very different ideas. Which seven-seater offers a more holistic experience? 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

Experiencing the Hyundai Alcazar and the new Kia Carens reaffirms a simple thought: similar ingredients can lead to unique experiences. On paper, there’s too much in common -- the underpinnings, engines, as well as their core premise: a feel-good 7-seater for the family. However, their fundamental differences come up almost immediately in the real world. 

What makes an SUV? 

Many eyebrows were raised when Kia claimed the Carens WASN’T an SUV. It seemed practically illogical, considering even small hatchbacks ride on the SUV bandwagon to garner some extra attention. The Carens could also pass off as an SUV with a confident stance, 195mm ground clearance, and size. In fact, in every measurable way, the Carens is larger than the Alcazar.

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

While the Alcazar chooses to stretch the concept of a Creta (and literally so), the Carens hides its Seltos roots effortlessly. Kia has also cleverly played around with core aspects of the design -- a lower nose, a larger glass house, smaller 16-inch alloy wheels -- to give the Carens a persona that isn’t a wannabe SUV. It seems a little more purposeful than your run-of-the-mill MPVs like the Ertiga or the Marazzo, and a little more desirable too. 

The Alcazar will likely appeal more to those who want a near-traditional SUV design. Straighter lines, larger 18-inch alloy wheels, and a squared-off bonnet mean the Alcazar’s design isn’t as much of an acquired taste as the Carens. Both grab attention and seem equally polarising at first -- the Kia, a little more than the Hyundai.

Boot Space Test

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • The difference on paper seems insignificant: 216 litres in the Carens vs 180 litres in the Alcazar, with all three rows in place. 

  • The Hyundai is comfortable swallowing up either two small trolley bags or a small trolley bag and a duffle bag. While this isn’t nearly enough for a weekend trip with seven occupants, it should suffice for a quick day trip. 

  • The Kia has space for a medium-size trolley bag and a small trolley bag/duffle bag. There’s a little more space towards the edges if you want to stuff in some water bottles or footwear. 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • Both vehicles offer underfloor storage space. Here too, the Kia is a little more generous.

  • Fold the third row of seats down, and the Carens gives you 645 litres of space versus the Alcazar's 579 litres. You can use either to move houses by folding the second row that gets you 1164 litres in the Kia and 1051 litres in the Hyundai. 

Third Row Space and Experience

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • The Alcazar and the Carens both have large rear doors compared to their 5-seater counterparts. While both doors open nice and wide, the Carens aces the ingress/egress game. You get more width and height, enabling you to comfortably make your way to the third row. 

  • Both vehicles get a one-touch tumble function for the second row. The Kia one-ups the Hyundai by offering an electric-release feature, which is particularly helpful when you want to exit the third row. 

  • In terms of space, the Carens has the Alcazar beat quite convincingly. There’s more knee-room, under-thigh support and headroom on offer here. An average-sized adult should have no problems here, even for inter-city trips. A larger quarter glass means you don’t feel boxed in as much. 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • The Alcazar’s third row is a squeeze for adults but works well for children. You’re surrounded by a lot of black, which might make the space seem smaller than it actually is. 

  • A blower speed control is provided for the third-row occupants of the Alcazar, but the AC vents are placed at chest level. They don’t cool as well as the Carens’ overhead AC vents. 

  • There’s adequate storage space for cups and knick-knacks. The Carens gets a USB C charger, whereas the Alcazar has a USB A output here. 

Second Row Space and Experience 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • Getting in and out of the Carens and Alcazar’s second row is effortless. Even elders will have no issues with either.

  • The Kia offers a better experience on crucial fronts. 

    • It offers more knee-room (despite the rather large air purifier on the right) and better headroom since there’s no panoramic sunroof. The seat base is angled upwards, supporting the thighs better.

    • Second-row occupants get fan speed control that controls flow for the second and third row. The overhead AC vents and not having a large glass overhead means the Carens can cool the cabin down quicker.

    • The captain seats seem to have better bolstering, and the lack of a central tower like the Alcazar means occupants can ‘walk’ between rows. 

  • In comparison, the Hyundai has slightly flatter seats. Space is adequate but does not seem extravagant in any manner. 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • Seating three abreast is possible in both; width seems more or less similar. It is a bit of a squeeze if occupants are plus-sized, though.

  • A common complaint about both: the seat back height has been limited to ensure third-row occupants get a good frontal view. This sadly takes away shoulder support for 6 footers. 

  • The Alcazar offers two tray tables; the Carens has one. In terms of storage, the Kia offers more usable space in the door pads and cooled bottle holders, whereas the 6-seater version of the Alcazar gets a central armrest with some extra storage space. 

First Row Space and Experience 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • Between the two, the Alcazar offers the more upright and commanding driving position. The seat is set higher, and the flat and upright hood means you see the edge of the bonnet. Seat support is adequate, and the space is ergonomically proper too. 

  • Kia’s attempt at squeezing more space from the cabin led them to push the dashboard a fair bit towards the windscreen. The wraparound effect on the slightly taller dash gets you a typically MPV driving position. 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • The slender dashboard on the Kia also means some crucial few inches of space for the front occupants. This cascades into more room for second and third-row occupants, too, since space can be adjusted by sliding the seats. 

  • In terms of storage space, the Alcazar offers a cubby under the armrest, a chilled glovebox, and adequate storage in the door pads. 

  • The Carens betters this with a pop-out ticket/cardholder, pop-out cupholder, chilled cup holders in the centre and more storage in the door pads, including an umbrella holder. There’s a storage box under the passenger seat too. 

Cabin Quality and Features

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • Cabin quality, for the most part, seems on par. However, we prefer the quality and texture of the Carens’ dashboard compared to the Alcazar. Bear in mind the gloss black panels are known to be dust-magnets and eventually pick up quite a lot of scratches too. 

  • That’s not to say that the Carens doesn’t have cheap-feeling bits and bobs. It could do with better-quality wiper/headlamp stalks and better-quality buttons for the ventilated seats, drive modes etc. 

  • On the features front, the Alcazar has the Carens pinned down. Exclusive to the Hyundai are feel-good features such as a powered driver’s seat, a 360° camera, a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster, and a panoramic sunroof. The Alcazar also gets wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and an additional wireless charger for the second-row occupants.

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

  • There’s no feature that the Carens gets and the Alcazar doesn’t, save for the electric seat release. Here’s a list of what’s common: 

Keyless Entry

Front Ventilated Seats

64 Colour Ambient Lighting

Push-button Start

10.25-inch Touchscreen

Automatic Climate Control

Tilt/Telescopic Steering Adjust

Bose Sound System

Cruise Control

Ride Comfort 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar
Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

Thanks to healthy ground clearance, both vehicles are adept at tackling less-than-ideal roads. Both cars deal with potholes and rough surfaces without a sweat. However, the Carens has a slight edge in this department too.

The small wheel size-and-large side wall combination works in the Carens’ favour as it goes about absorbing bumps and undulations. In the Alcazar, you tend to feel more of the surface while experiencing some vertical movement as you make your way over level changes in the road surface.

Safety

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar
Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

Kia is offering a solid safety suite right from the base variant. Six airbags, ABS with EBD, vehicle stability management (ESC) and all-wheel disc brakes are offered as standard. The Alcazar gets dual airbags in the base variant and offers identical safety features in all other variants. Notably, neither the Alcazar nor the Carens has been crash-tested by an independent authority.

Verdict

The Kia Carens and the Hyundai Alcazar exhibit two different yet popular approaches to making a 7-seater. One elevates the concept of an SUV, whereas the other puts the spotlight on practicality. 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

Consider the Alcazar for two reasons:

  • You like the way the Alcazar looks and want a handsome, modern ‘SUV’ parked in your garage. 

  • You see value in the additional feel-good features the Alcazar offers over the Carens. 

Goes without saying that the Alcazar is better off being treated as a 5+2 than a proper 7-seater. 

Kia Carens Vs Hyundai Alcazar

The Carens presents a solid case for itself:

  • It offers more room -- for all occupants, knick-knacks, and any luggage in the boot. 

  • It rides better than the Hyundai and feels quieter and more confident on bad roads. 

With the Kia Carens,there’s a trade-off on some features for an experience centered around space and comfort.

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