Walk up to the car with the key in your pocket and the outside mirrors unfold automatically – a cool touch. Getting inside the cabin requires you to take a huge step; after all, the lowest point of the vehicle is 244mm (unladen) and one needs to clear a few more inches of the high-set floor. Our test car was fitted with a side-step (available as an aftermarket accessory), which made ingress a bit easier. Most owners will have to opt for this accessory for the sake of elderly folk or children in their family. At the front, the electric driver’s seat automatically slides all the way back, like on some Lexus models in India, to make entry and exit convenient.
Sunroof feels too small on this large SUV. Sunshade is manual too.
What impressed us the most is the superbly appointed cabin and its genuine luxury feel. The dash is neatly laid out and the clever use of leather, piano black and some metallic bits is very tasteful. The tan and black theme on the 4x4 variant, the quilting on the dash fascia, the metallic highlights on the buttons and the overall touch and feel of the materials used is exemplary, almost from a class above. The steering’s shape is rather unconventional; it gets thinner in the 9-3 position and thicker in the 12-6 position.
3 memory settings for driver’s seat and outside mirrors.
The seats are draped in fine Nappa leather and are extremely comfy – the cushioning is right, support is great, and the front pair even get a very useful seat-cooling feature. And because these are high-set seats, the driving position is almost throne-like, with the driver getting a commanding view of the road ahead, towering above all other cars on the road. However, driving through narrow, crowded lanes will require special attention as the SUV’s high bonnet and rounded edges could obstruct the view. It’s at such times that the front parking sensors come in handy and so does the 360-degree camera.
Independent blower controls are located in third row.
The Alturas G4 has the longest wheelbase in its segment, but cabin space, at least visually, doesn’t appear to be as generous because of the darker colours used. What further robs that sense of space is that, unlike the Ford Endeavour, which gets a massive panoramic sunroof that floods the cabin with light, the Alturas G4 gets a much smaller window. Pull out the measuring tape and the Alturas’ middle row scores well. Leg-, head-and knee room are ample and the seat is very comfortable in terms of cushioning and support. Unlike in the Endeavour, the seats don’t slide fore-aft, but they do recline to very comfortable angles. The kerbside seat has the 60 percent split, so passengers who sit diagonal to the driver will appreciate how the position of the armrest changes along with the backrest angle.
W (Winter mode) prevents wheelspin; useful in low-traction conditions.
A surprising omission on such a premium car is that the middle passenger gets only a two-point lap belt and not a three-point restraint. Also, strangely, the middle row makes do with just air-con vents whereas the third row gets a dedicated blower with an independent control unit.
Tasteful mix of wood, quilted leather and metallic bits. Ambient lights add a premium touch at night.
Unfortunately, the third row hasn’t been given the same priority and will prove to be uncomfortable for anyone who has to spend long hours there. Firstly, to get into the third row, the middle row seats need to be folded and then tumbled – it’s a two-step process. The rearmost seat itself is placed almost on the floor, which means adults will be sitting in a knees-up position. There’s insufficient legroom all round and what makes matters worse is the extremely tiny quarter glass that cuts your view out. The nicely angled backrest, however, does add a degree of comfort.
Switching from 2WD to 4WD as simple as twisting a knob. Gets low ratio for trickier terrain.