Hyundai has shown off its ix-metro 2+2 hybrid concept car at the Frankfurt motor show.
The concept is of B-segment size and is described by the firm as a compact utility vehicle (CUV). It is set to influence the styling and layout of a new baby SUV to be launched within the next two years.
European design chief, Thomas Buerkle, said the paint was still wet on the “out of this world” concept and the finishing touches were now being undertaken ahead of its launch.
The space travel-inspired ix-metro shows the future of Hyundai’s design as it aims to become a more luxurious and upmarket car manufacturer.
Buerkle says the design takes the firm’s “fluidic sculpture” design language further and it also features an evolution of Hyundai’s new hexagonal front grille, which it describes as its family face.
At the front, an aggressively styled grille with incorporated fog lights feature, as does LED lights similar in a style similar to those seen on Geneva’s ix-onic concept. A raised ride height and driving position, 20-inch alloy wheels and heavily sculpted body panels also feature.
Conventional doors feature at the front, but there is no B pillar. The rear doors are not conventionally hinged and instead slide out backwards to allow for easier access and make for a roomier glasshouse with improved visibility.
The idea of a protective capsule inspired the interior, which features a wraparound effect connecting the dashboard, center console, door panels and front seats. Sci-fi films also inspired the interior, and this is seen in the ice-blue illumination and white semi-transparent silicon-like material, which covers the dashboard. Digital side view cameras are fitted and the rear seats are able to fold flat to allow a more spacious rear loading area.
Power comes from a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 5kw electric motor and 12V battery. The hybrid powertrain produces 123bhp at 6000rpm and 116lb ft of torque between 1750 and 4500rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed dual clutch box, technology that should start appearing on future Hyundai models.
Hyundai Europe’s vice president Allan Rushforth confirmed the firm would be launching nine new models in 13 months starting from October 2010 and the ix-metro hinted at its next B-segment baby SUV, as a rival to the Nissan Qazana.
“We want to be competing in all market segments,” said Rushforth. “And we will be embarking on a series of new product launches in the coming months as we aim to continue our strong European sales progress when scrappage schemes end.”
When asked if the ix-metro would form the basis of a new baby SUV, Rushforth said elements of the concept would be likely to feature on a production car and it was “the way we want to go” with the styling of future Hyundais.