Hyundai has released the first official pictures of its new ix35 in production form.
The ix35 was first unveiled as the ix-onic concept at the Geneva motor show in March and it will replace the outgoing Tucson. It will be officially launched at the Frankfurt motor show.
Hyundai says the car has its new ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language, and a source told Autocar it is being pitched as a stylish and spacious C-segment alternative to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, as well as larger rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai.
The European-spec ix35 has different styling to the Korean model. Changes include new front fog lights, more dramatic headlights and higher levels of chrome detailing. LED lights are also expected to feature on the rear.
The ix35 offers a glimpse of the styling of future Hyundai models, too. The hexagonal grille and more striking front end will be used on future models and will form part of the firm’s new design language.
Hyundai has described the car as having “markedly better fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions than rival SUVs” and it will “compete head on in terms of running costs with mainstream hatchbacks”.
The European ix35 has been conceived and engineered in Europe at the company’s Frankfurt design and technical centre. It will be offered in both front and four wheel drive, but Hyundai expects around 95 per cent of sales to be front wheel drive.
A source said it will come with higher levels of equipment and a more affordable price than key rivals. “We’ll be pricing it at much less than the Ford Kuga and want to offer lots of equipment to tempt people away from buying a Nissan Qashqai,” said the source.
“The ix35 will have similar emissions and running costs to rivals like the Focus, but we think people will opt for an ix35 because they’re getting more equipment and interior space than our rivals.”
The Hyundai ix-onic showcased a new 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection 168bhp petrol unit that's capable of a tax-friendly 149g/km of CO2 emissions, and a naturally-aspirated version of that engine is likely to make the production car. A new “low emissions, high-powered” 2.0-litre diesel engine will also be available.
The European version will be built at Kia’s Slovakia plant in Zilina. It will share its platform with the new Kia Sportage, which is also expected to go on-sale next year, but the two cars are expected to have remarkably different charcteristics.
UK sales kick off in spring 2010 and prices are likely to start at around £16,000.