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Future models - Hyundai - LaVita

Hyundai's family affair

Depth charge: The FC compact people-mover (front) and Terracan off-roader will add depth to Hyundai's line-up later this year.

Hyundai's lineup will gain some key additions this year

Hyundai logo20 Feb 2001

By GAUTAM SHARMA

HYUNDAI has provided the first glimpse of its all-new mini-MPV - known for now only as the FC (Family Car).

The newcomer is aimed primarily at the European market, where it will compete against the hot-selling Renault Scenic and Opel/Vauxhall Zafira.

Hyundai Australia spokesman Richard Power suggests the newcomer will make its local debut around August - but it will not be badged "Tall Boy", as suggested by some sections of the motoring media.

"It (FC) will do well here," Mr Power said. "It will fill the 'one-box' application, seeing as we no longer have the Lantra Sportswagon. But we don't know enough to price it or size it yet." Although there is no official word on pricing, logic suggests it will compete against the likes of the Daewoo Tacuma and Kia Carens, which means a starting price around $24,000.

It is believed the FC is based on the same platform as the Elantra, but Hyundai Australia could not confirm this.

Although measuring a compact 4025mm in length, the FC's tall-boy stance and long wheelbase - 2740mm - means it should deliver generous levels of interior space.

It features a five-seater layout with the 60/40 split-fold rear seat able to slide backwards or forwards to optimise boot space or passenger room.

Engine choices in Europe comprise 1.6 and 1.8-litre units, but we are likely to get either the latter or a 2.0-litre powerplant.

The 1.8-litre engine produces 97kW and 165Nm, while the 2.0-litre cranks out 104kW and 182Nm.

The FC was penned by Italian styling house Pininfarina but some engineering work was carried out at Hyundai's new technical base in Frankfurt.

The launch of the FC will add strength to the mini-MPV segment, which currently comprises only the Daewoo Tacuma, Kia Carens and just launched Mazda Premacy.

Other contenders due this year are the Renault Scenic and Holden Zafira.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Australia is hoping to use its new Terracan off-roader as the centrepiece of its stand at the Melbourne motor show.

Hyundai originally hoped to bring in the wild-looking Neo open-wheeler concept revealed at last September's Paris motor show, but it was too late in lodging its request.

"We missed the boat on that one, which means we will probably never see that car here," Mr Power said.

Nevertheless, the oddly-named Terracan may be a more relevant showpiece, given the strength of the local off-roader segment.

The Prado-sized off-roader is due to make its local debut around November, with pricing expected to start just under $40,000.

Hyundai's other key debutant this year will be the all-new Coupe, expected to be its star attraction at the Sydney motor show in October.

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