Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Hyundai ix35 may lift image

The company is closely guarding images of the new ix35 — the replacement for the Tucson compact SUV — until its official unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month but it will owe much of its styling to the sexy ix-onic Concept displayed at the Geneva show earlier this year.

"It is really attractive and it is closer in reality to its concept than a lot of others I have seen," Hyundai Australia's director for sales and marketing, Kevin McCann says. "I think, in that segment, people are starting to look for aesthetics. "They no longer want the chunky styling anymore but are looking for something that is sleek and fluid and slim-lined. This car certainly offers that."

The ix35 will also be the launch platform for a range of new technologies to Hyundai including stop and go engine management, a family of double-clutch gearboxes for the two- and four-wheel drive platform and at least one new 1.6-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine with an impressive 130kW output.

"They are all things that we are looking at, although not everything is available to us," McCann says. "For example, ISG (idle engine stop/start) is only made in the Eastern European factory for the European market. "We would have to guarantee the factory in Korea sufficient demand for those items to justify them being made there, but that is something we are working on."

While McCann would not be specific about which engine, gearbox and drivetrain combinations would be offered in Australia he did confirm that the new generation engines were part of the planning along with the new generation of transmissions.

The Tucson is the company's third-best selling model behind the Getz and the i30 and McCann knows there can be no mistakes with its replacement when it arrives towards the middle of next year.

"The compact SUV segment is an important part of our volume base," McCann says. "We do very well there right now because we are at the lower end of the price band for those SUVs. I think there is a natural ceiling at which you can price a Tucson, but with the new ix35 we will be able to have a very solid entry-level competitor and the design of the car will enable us to offer a wider range across the price band. We will be able to richen our mix considerably with it."

That is likely to mean upward pressure on the larger Santa Fe, a heavily revised version of which will also be unveiled at the Frankfurt show. "This (the Santa Fe upgrade) is quite significant," McCann says. "We are respecifying some aspects of the car but I can't really give you the details of that right now."

If the highly-specified ix35 is moved up-market into a price-range currently occupied by an entry-level Santa Fe the outcome is likely to be an opportunity for Hyundai to offer the new Santa Fe in less models but with a higher level of standard inclusions.

The ix35 styling comes from the same team at the company's European design centre near Frankfurt which penned the i30. Speaking of the ix-onic concept in Geneva, design boss Thomas Buerkle said: "This is a dynamic sculpture ... it is an urban nomad. It is the new generation of SUV; a car of contrasts for a world of contrasts." Slightly larger than the Tucson at 4.4m long, the ix-onic was designed specifically for the European market with the target of younger buyers.


View cars for sale