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Official: Hyundai ix35 to replace Tucson

X marks the spot: Hyundai's Tucson replacement, the ix35, will take a bow at Frankfurt.

Teaser images of Hyundai’s Tucson replacement, the ix35, released ahead of Frankfurt

19 Aug 2009

HYUNDAI has come clean on its plan to replace the compact Tucson SUV next year with an all-new model to be badged as the ix35, the first official teaser images of which have now been revealed.

Designed and engineered by the Korean car-maker’s technical centre at Frankfurt in Germany, where it will make it global public debut on September 15 before going on sale in Australia in the first half of next year.

The ix35 introduces Hyundai’s new ‘ix’ model prefix for crossover models and follows pioneering ‘i’ models in the iMax and iLoad commercials and the i30 small car.

The ix35 was revealed in sketch form before this year’s Geneva motor show, with Hyundai referring to its latest concept as the HED-6. It then appeared at the Swiss event as ix-onic, complete with aggressively pumped-out haunches, heavily creased bonnet, beefy bodyside cladding and boomerang-shaped LED foglights.

As evidenced by official sketches of the ix35, two detail images of which have now also been released, showing its headlight and rear badging, the production version will lose those features when it goes on sale globally in 2010.

1 center imageFrom top: The Hyundai ix35 teaser image, the Hyundai ix-onic concept car, Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Tucson.

But the LM-series compact five-door wagon will still be far more stylish than the Tucson, which went on sale in Australia in 2004, thanks to a new hexagonal corporate grille, wedge-shaped side profile, bold character lines and chunky lower ‘bash plates’ front and rear.

“The ix35 joins the C-segment to replace the successful Tucson,” confirmed Hyundai in a press release yesterday. “The newcomer embodies Hyundai’s new design language and carries over much of the confident, sweeping styling of the ix-onic concept car which starred at the Geneva motor show earlier this year.”

The ix35, which was spied being shot for a television commercial in the Sydney CBD earlier this month, will be joined in Frankfurt by the debut of Hyundai’s facelifted Santa Fe mid-sized seven-seat SUV, which Hyundai has confirmed will be released in Australia later this year.

“Alongside it will be the significantly-revised Santa Fe, which benefits from a wide range of engineering and cosmetic changes to fine-tune the driving experience and make it even more competitive versus rival 4x4s,” said Hyundai.

“The Santa Fe too has styling revisions, but the big news is under the skin, with new powertrain, steering and suspension. Mated to the recently-launched diesel engine, codenamed ‘R’, these modifications have created a balanced and refined model, well suited to on-road and off-road driving.”

Hyundai says it will reveal further information for both new models closer to Frankfurt but, apart from a 135kW/329Nm 2.0-litre version of the company’s new ‘R’ diesel engine, it will also come with petrol engines and, perhaps, the first application of Hyundai’s new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as fitted to the ix-onic.

Linked with a six-speed automatic transmission, a 147kW/436Nm 2.2-litre version of the R engine has also been developed by Hyundai, and could appear in the upgraded Santa Fe.

Following the discontinuation of the flagship 180kW/309Nm 3.3-litre petrol V6 engine option, the Santa Fe currently is available with a 114kW/343Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and a 138kW/248Nm 2.7-litre petrol V6. The same engine produces 129kW and 241Nm in the Tucson AWD, while the Tucson 2WD is powered by a 104kW/184Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

Like the Tucson (as well as Kia’s Sportage, Renault’s Koleos and now the Nissan Dualis), the ix35 will be available in both front and all-wheel drive configurations, making it a formidable new rival for top-selling compact SUVs such as Subaru’s Forester and the Toyota RAV4.

The Tucson has attracted some 960 sales in Australia to July this year, giving it a 15 per cent market share and making it the nation’s third most popular model in its class behind the Forester and RAV. At its peak in Europe, the Tucson attracted 20 per cent of sales in its class, for a best annual sales figure of about 63,000.

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