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Beijing show: Hyundai ix25 concept previews baby SUV

What's in a name: Since 2011 Hyundai has dictated cars primarily designed for the European market come with an i-prefix in their name – contradicting the brand's claim the ix25 is exclusively for China.

Badge provides clues to global intentions for Hyundai ix25 SUV concept

22 Apr 2014

THERE are clues to Hyundai's global plans for a production baby SUV based on the ix25 concept that made its world debut during the Beijing motor show at the weekend.

Despite Hyundai's assertion that the concept foreshadows a model that will launch exclusively in China in the second half of this year, the brand's global naming strategy since 2011 has dictated that models primarily designed for Europe receive the i-prefix.

That said, the official media release says in this case the i “represents the ‘inspiring, intelligent and innovative’ characteristics of the young generation” this vehicle is aimed at.

Official photos of the ix25 concept reveal a resolved and mature design with broad appeal and none of the usual show-car follies like oversized wheels or door mirrors replaced with camera pods.

The front end resembles a scaled-down Santa Fe while the glasshouse is seemingly borrowed from the Kia Soul – with which the ix25 is mechanically similar.

This is all good news for Hyundai's Australian operation, which is keen to add a rival for the Holden Trax and Ford EcoSport to its line-up, providing an entry level model beneath the popular ix35.

Hyundai Australia public relations general manager Bill Thomas told GoAuto the company is “very keen to sell it if we get our hands on it,” and that it would be a strong contender in what is viewed as an important segment.

There is a chance a version of the ix25 for global markets could lose the Soul-like upright stance in favour of a swoopier roof line inspired by the Intrado concept unveiled at last month's Geneva show.

Stablemate Kia could well follow suit with a production crossover inspired by the Niro concept that debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt show.

Hyundai has form in this respect, with models such as the tiny i10 adopting a more utilitarian look in developing markets like India compared with its more premium appearance for the version sold in Europe.

As reported from the New York show earlier this month, Hyundai Group president and chief design officer for Hyundai and Kia, Peter Schreyer described the emerging category of baby SUVs as “not just for emerging markets and also for the European and American markets, as a lifestyle statement”.

The ix25 concept is a fraction shorter and narrower than a Trax at 4270mm long and 1780mm wide, while its roof height is 44mm lower than the Holden at 1630mm, while its 2590mm wheelbase is 20mm longer than that of a Kia Soul, with which is shares a 2.0-litre 'Nu' petrol engine.

Hyundai Motor President Sung Kee Choi said the ix25 was “strategically developed for China,” and forms part of its preparations for “another successful decade in China through the launch of high-quality models”.

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