Hyundai gave Geneva showgoers a taste of what to expect of the replacement for the Tucson with the Hyundai ix-onic concept, a compact four-door family 4x4. The Hyundai ix-onic is a much more sophisticated design than we’ve seen from Hyundai before, and gets a richer, more upmarket cabin.
According to Hyundai Europe’s head of design, Thomas Buerkle, the ix-onic is a 90 per cent match for the finished Tucson replacement, which, as we reported last month, will be called the ‘ix35’.
“The ix-onic concept has a much stronger design identity than the Tucson, as well as a much more mature evolution of our ‘dynamic sculpture’ form and surface language,” said Buerkle. “It has the hexagonal front grille that appeared on our Hygenius concept of 2006, which will become a common design feature of many of our models, and pronounced feature lines on its body side that, for me, give the car great attractiveness and dynamism.”
Inside, the material richness of the ix-onic concept suggests that Hyundai is ready to take another big step forward towards the standards of major European players such as Ford and VW. Swathes of soft leather give its cabin a tangible upmarket feel, and swish combinations of colour and trim add to the effect.
Under the bonnet the Hyundai ix-onic has a new 168bhp, 1.6-litre turbocharged four-pot petrol engine, complete with stop-start technology, a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox and ‘intelligent’ four-wheel drive. A similar powertrain is expected to be offered on the production Hyundai ix35, alongside a family of advanced diesel engines with class-leading emissions.
Most noteworthy of all, though, is the Hyundai ix-onic’s unexpectedly mature and expensive look. “We feel that we’ve convinced people that we can make solid and reliable cars,” said Buerkle. “Now is the time for us to add some genuine desirability into the mix.”