While Hyundai presented the car as a concept at Geneva, in reality, the ix-onic is an almost definitive preview of the model due to replace the Tucson in 2010. The compact SUV measuring 4.40 metres long, 1.85 wide and 1.65 tall is more than just a new model, it is a new step towards the future of the Korean brand.

The project for the car began in Germany in spring 2008, at the Rüsshelsheim style centre, while the model was fabricated last November by Vercarmodel in Turin. This remarkably short timeframe demonstrates just how seriously Hyundai is looking to the future, with a renewed image and environmental awareness its key objectives.

Under the original, dynamic and sculpted skin of the ix-onic lies an environmentally friendly (just 149 g/Km of CO2) 175 bhp 1.6 litre turbo petrol with stop & go technology, mated to an intelligent all wheel drive system.

“This vehicle”, says Rüsselsheim design centre chief Thomas Bürkle, “was conceived for Europe and inspired by the multicultural character of some of the continent’s main cities, which is why we call it an ‘urban nomad’. A key aspect of the car’s development was design, which is destined to become Hyundai’s future signature attribute.”

“We began”, explains design director for the ix-onic project, Eduardo Ramirez, “with a specific platform with the goal of creating a multipurpose product that exudes personality and transmits a heightened sense of driving pleasure. In defining the aesthetics, we went for a three-dimensional, muscular approach never applied before to the Hyundai brand, although nuances of it can be seen on the i20. The sturdy and well-planted lower section is set off by a more fluid and dynamic upper section that seems to have been modelled by flowing air.”

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 176

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