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Future models - Hyundai - ix25

Hyundai ix25 crossover ‘years away’

Waiting game: Hyundai’s global market compact SUV is likely to take styling cues from the Intrado concept (below), but Australia won’t get the Indian-built ix25.

Long wait for Hyundai crossover as ix25 won’t meet local safety requirements

Hyundai logo14 Apr 2015

HYUNDAI admits it will not be able to offer a compact SUV alternative to the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Holden Trax after stocks of the ageing ix35 run out before the end of the year.

Ruling out the ix25, unveiled at last year’s Beijing motor show, for lacking the essential safety gear to achieve a five-star ANCAP crash-test rating, Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief operating officer John Elsworth said that it will take up to three years before a suitable crossover vehicle will be ready for Australian consumers.

The ix35 will be replaced in August by the third-generation Tucson, which moves up a class to the medium SUV segment due to its larger size and specification.

Brandishing an all-new 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol engine to go with modified versions of the existing 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol and turbo-diesel units, prices are expected to shadow those of the segment-leading Mazda CX-5, which stretches from just over $27,000 to about $50,000, plus on-road costs. Front and all-wheel drive variants will be offered.

“We’d love a small SUV but we don’t have one,” Mr Elsworth told GoAuto at the launch of the facelifted i30 in Sydney last week. “And we won’t have one for a number of years – two to three years at least.

“Originally the ix25 was launched in China as left-hand drive only. It is also built in India in right-hand drive, but it does not meet our local baseline safety requirements.” According to HMCA general manager of public relations Bill Thomas, the successor to the ix35 in the compact SUV sphere is likely to share some styling cues with the Intrado concept vehicle first shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

“We’re waiting for the global SUV,” he said. “And the Intrado concept from Geneva last year is the first concept car designed by (Hyundai president and chief design officer) Peter Schreyer, and he said it provides hints as to what that SUV will look like.”

The result of the compact-SUV shortfall puts added pressure on Hyundai’s Accent light car and i30 small car range, with the latter gaining a new lower-priced SR semi-performance model starting from $25,590, to help fill the gap that will be left by the similarly priced ix35.

However, pointing to the loss of the ix35 in the compact-SUV segment, these are not enough to help elevate Hyundai past Mazda and Holden to the number two position in Australia in the near future, according to Mr Elsworth.

“We don’t have a big enough footprint with SUVs,” he said.

The sub-$40,000 small-SUV segment is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Australian new-car market, with sales up 27 per cent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year, thanks largely to the instantly popular HR-V and CX-3.

Another recent entry to the crossover fray is the Renault Captur, while Holden’s Trax, the Mitsubishi ASX and the Nissan Qasqhqai are all selling strongly this year.

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