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First pictures: Hyundai heralds new Tucson

New Korea: The European-designed Hyundai ix-onic concept is set to replace the Tucson.

Hyundai reveals a brash new design for its small SUV replacement

24 Feb 2009

WE SAW the teaser sketch of a small SUV show car dubbed the HED-6 two weeks ago, and now Hyundai has revealed the first images of the actual vehicle – now called the ix-onic concept – that will make its world debut at the Geneva motor show on March 3.

Hyundai sources who have seen the replacement for the South Korean brand’s current compact SUV, the Tucson, say the ix-onic faithfully presents many of its design elements but is not identical to the all-new model that is already undergoing public-road validation testing.

So while it remains to be seen just how much of the ix-onic’s chunky, funky exterior sheetmetal is lost in the translation from concept to reality, there is no question the Tucson’s replacement will be the most daring Hyundai SUV yet seen.

Being larger than the Tucson, which opens at $25,490 in base 2WD guise, it will also represent Hyundai’s best opportunity to provide a serious alternative to the likes of Japanese compact SUV top-sellers like the Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail and Dualis, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Suzuki Grand Vitara. The ix-onic measures 4400mm long, 1850mm wide and 1650mm high.

Furthermore, design highlights like the coupe-style roofline, Audi-esque daytime running lights and a concave (Lexan plastic, in this case) rear screen could in some eyes even position the smallest Hyundai crossover alongside similarly stylish small SUVs such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-7 and Ford’s upcoming Kuga.

1 center imageFrom top: Hyundai ix-onic Hyundai i20.

Either way, the ix-onic, which was developed at Hyundai’s Rüsselsheim design centre in Germany, will introduce Hyundai’s new “ix” SUV model naming convention, with the i30 small hatch-sized Tucson replacement expected to carry the ix35 nameplate into showrooms next year.

Expected to morph into the production version before the Frankfurt motor show in September, the Geneva show car will also feature 21-inch alloy wheels, heavily flared wheel-arches in a mass of body-side sculpting, an aggressive front bumper and magnesium-alloy interior highlights.

The Tucson soft-roader’s successor is expected to continue to be offered in both front-drive and all-wheel drive formats, but the biggest technical highlight is Hyundai’s all-new turbocharged 125kW 1.6-litre GDi four-cylinder petrol engine with a double-clutch automated manual transmission and idle-stop, which Hyundai calls Idle Stop and Go (ISG).

ISG is Hyundai’s proprietary system, which will first appear in the i30 ‘Blue’. The latter is under consideration for Australia and will appear at this Friday’s Melbourne International Motor Show opening alongside the i10 Blue, Genesis Coupe and i30cw.

Mated to an “intelligent” all-wheel drive system in the ix-onic, the GDi turbo-four is claimed to produce just 149g/km of CO2 emissions, but it could easily also be offered with either of Hyundai’s new R-Engine turbo-diesels - the 135kW/392Nm 2.0-litre or 147kW/436Nm 2.2-litre.

Also revealed by Hyundai last week ahead of its Geneva debut was the three-door version of the i20 hatch, which will join the more expensive i20 five-door on sale in Europe in the second quarter of this year.

The i20 will replace the Getz in Europe but run alongside it as a more upmarket alternative from the third quarter of this year in Australia, although Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is yet to reveal which i20 body style(s) it will launch here.

The three-door i20 also features six airbags as standard in Europe and rides on the same 2525mm wheelbase as the five-door, but weighs 10kg less and offers improved ingress/egress via larger doors.

In Europe, the i20’s entry-level engine is the 1.2-litre ‘Kappa’ four-cylinder, which develops 58kW and 119Nm of torque.

Read more:

First look: Hyundai previews its Geneva wares

Hyundai shines its i20 light at Paris

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