Hyundai will roll out a major redesign of its popular Tucson sport-utility vehicle at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. But it’s already offering a hint of what’s to come thanks to a sketch and a video that focuses in on the development process.
The updated Tucson will pick up on some of the latest Hyundai design cues, such as the signature hexagonal grille, refined by recent offering such as the second-generation Genesis luxury sedan.
“Our new compact SUV will be a big step forward for the Hyundai brand globally,” said Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer of Hyundai Motor Group, in a statement accompanying the Tucson sketch.
The Tucson was first introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model. The current version was redesigned for the 2010 model-year.
The fact that Hyundai plans a major remake for 2016 underscores the increasing competitiveness of the compact crossover market which has been flooded by new offerings from both mainstream and luxury brands over the last several years. These small CUVs have become one of the world’s fastest-growing segments and are forecast to grow significantly faster than the rest of global automotive market into the next decade.
Key competitors for the Hyundai Tucson currently include Japanese models like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, the domestic Ford Escape – and even sibling brand Kia’s Sportage. Despite being one of the segment’s older products, Tucson U.S. sales increased last year to 47,306.
Beyond offering these images, Hyundai isn’t saying much about the new Tucson, but it is likely to retain the two new direct-injected engines added for the 2014 model-year: a 2.0-liter inline four making 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, and a larger 2.4-liter four producing 182 hp and 177 lb-ft.
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Other options will likely be offered outside the U.S., including a couple of diesels.
Hyundai last year also added a hydrogen fuel-cell option to the Tucson line. But the zero-emissions package is only available in the U.S. through dealers in Southern California, reflecting the currently limited availability of what proponents call the “fuel of the future.”
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Hyundai says the new 2016 Tucson will adopt “a bold and athletic presence and a proud stance, (with) flowing surfaces, bold proportions, (and) sharp lines.”
Whether Hyundai will make more than just cosmetic changes to the new Tucson remains to be seen but the maker has been putting a premium on improving ride and handling dynamics in its new products. It may also try to squeeze out a few pounds from the ute’s platform, helping deliver at least some improvement in Tucson’s fuel economy. The 2.0-liter engine currently delivers 23 mpg City, 29 Highway.
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Outside the U.S., most buyers know the Tucson as the Hyundai iX35.
Whatever name one prefers, the new version of the compact ute will make its public debut at Geneva’s PALExpo center on March 3.