27 October 2003

Hyundai is signalling its intention to enter the mini-SUV market with this Tokyo show concept, taking on the likes of VW’s Polo Trek, Fiat’s Panda SUV and the Rover Streetwise.

The Neos II is based on the supermini Getz platform, and is deceptively small at 3835mm, just 35mm longer than the Getz, and 695mm shorter than the Honda CR-V, which appears to have inspired the styling. The four-seater sits on 20in alloys and was designed at the firm’s Chiba studio in Japan.

Hyundai claims the Neos II styling exercise is a ‘Crossover Utility Vehicle’ and could be powered by a 1.5-litre in-line four if it reaches production.

The Neos also introduces Hyundai’s Adaptive Forward Lighting System, its version of headlights that swivel with the angle of the front wheels. Inside the car, the Korean company has developed a new touch-screen system and a ‘haptic interface’, which it claims ‘explores new directions in tactile/force feedback controls’ in the cockpit.

Neos stands for Neologism of Style; neologism meaning a newly invented word or phrase. According to Hyundai, the concept ‘reawakens the sense of wonder and discovery in motoring.’

MG Rover was first to recognise this new market when it launched the Streetwise last month. VW follows next year with the Polo Trek, which will be known as Fun in other European markets. Fiat’s offering, the Panda SUV, was revealed in last week’s Autocar (14 Oct) and goes on sale in the UK next summer.

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