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Hyundai ix-onic concept car (2009) first photos

Published: 19 February 2009

Hyundai has just issued these first pictures of its new ix-onic concept car due to be shown at the 2009 Geneva motor show in two weeks' time. It's a good indication of where the Korean brand is headed for its new mid-sized SUVs and shows that they're continuing to narrow the gap with Europe's best designs.

Hyundai ix-onic: another wacky concept car name!

Hold your horses. Hyundai says you pronounce it ik-sonnik and it was designed in Europe for European tastes. You're basically looking at a thinly veiled vision of the replacement for today's Tucson, which will be badge ix35.

It's roughly the same size as a VW Golf, measuring 4400mm long, 1850mm wide and 1650mm high. Message? Compact SUVs are no more unfriendly than a family hatchback.

It's a message repeated in the engine room. The Hyundai ix-onic concept car is the first model to showcase the group's new 1.6-litre GDi four-cylinder, an example of Hyundai-Kia downsizing. It's turbocharged to provide the go necessary for bulkier 4x4s, but that smaller capacity brings CO2 down to a reasonable 149g/km. It's bound for the production ix35.

Looks pretty neat. What of the design?

It's said to use the hexagnoal grille first introduced on the 2006 Genus concept car. As a whole the five-seater ix-onic meets the crossover-norm – in fact, it reminds us strangely of the Ford Kuga. Remove the exaggerated 21-inch polished alloys, some of the more flamboyant LED detailing and the like, and it seems very production achievable to us. We'll see the real Tucson replacing ix35 at the Frankfurt show in autumn 2009.

And that engine?

The new 168bhp 1.6 is bristling with the group's latest tech. The transmission includes stop-start tech and a double-clutch six-speed gearbox, sending power to all four corners. Despite the car's girth and 4wd, the CO2 emissions of 149g/km sound pretty competitive for the class.

A diesel Kuga churns out 159g/km, Fiat's Panda 4x4 156g/km and today's cleanest Tucson 184g/km. Hyundai has cottoned on that cleaner emissions are the only way the SUV breed will survive in this new carbon-obsessed climate.

>> Click here for our guide to all the cars at Geneva

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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