Ever heard of a Ford Kuga? What about a Toyota Kluger? Or the Hyundai ix35? If those names sound foreign, the vehicles themselves are very familiar to Americans as the Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander, and Hyundai Tucson. The European-spec Hyundai ix35 crossover model was revealed at this year's Geneva Motor Show, giving the popular compact crossover some updates in content and hardware for the 2014 model year. Since the ix35 is so closely related to the U.S. market Tucson, the Euro-market ix35 may preview some changes coming to the 2014 Tucson.
The changes on the Euro-spec ix35 are not radical at first glance. LED lighting is added in the form of front driving lights and rear taillights, and the ix35 gets a more fuel-efficient direct-injected 2.0-liter engine, and for the first time, the diesel model (which almost certainly is NOT coming to the U.S.) gets an optional six-speed automatic.
Only the base-model Tucson has a 2.0-liter engine in the U.S. market, leaving the door open for either an engine downsizing for the U.S. Tucson, or the availability of Hyundai's 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder as used in the Santa Fe Sport and Sonata.
On the inside, the ix35 gets a new 4.2 TFT display in the instrument cluster, and features Hyundai's adjustable-assist Flex Steer system. Other upgrades include a heated steering wheel, chrome-ringed climate-control system vents, illuminated cupholders, available 7-inch touchscreen audio and navigation system, and front parking sensors. The Euro ix35 also offers optional bi-xenon HID headlights.
While it's unlikely the U.S.-spec 2014 Tucson will get all the bells & whistles of its European cousin, it will probably get a few of them. What features do you expect (or hope) to see on the 2014 Tucson?