Report: Hyundai Focuses on Crossovers, Hybrids; RWD Sport Sedan Likely
Hyundai's future plans include increased attention on its crossover models along with a new plug-in hybrid Hyundai Sonata and a possible compact, rear-wheel-drive sports sedan, according to a report from Automotive News.
The next big product launch for Hyundai will be the redesigned Hyundai Tucson compact crossover, which will debut sometime next spring as a 2016 model. This new SUV will ride on the same platform as the current Tucson, but will feature a reworked suspension and increased use of high-strength steel. Hyundai is expecting big numbers from this new model, as the company is reportedly looking to grow annual sales to around 90,000 units in the U.S., a big jump from the 41,906 sold in the U.S. in 2013.
The current 2.0- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines are expected to carry over, although the small, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder from the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco could be in the cards as well. The current Tucson is slightly smaller than class best-sellers like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, so expect the new model to grow slightly to better compete with these CUVs.
As the Tucson grows, a subcompact crossover is also a possibility from Hyundai. Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski reportedly expressed that the company is interested in the segment, but said that no decision about this model has been made. A Hyundai ix25 crossover concept was recently shown at the Beijing auto show this year, possibly previewing this B-segment SUV that would compete with the upcoming Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V.
Although the redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata lineup did not include a reworked hybrid model from the get-go, Hyundai will roll out an all-new Sonata Hybrid sometime next year as a 2016 model. Expect it to use a similar version of the current Sonata Hybrid's powertrain that mates a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a 35-kilowatt electric motor. Higher fuel economy ratings than the outgoing hybrid's 36/40 mpg city/highway should be in the cards though, considering that the standard 2015 Sonata improved on the old car's ratings slightly.
Joining the conventional Sonata Hybrid will be Hyundai's first plug-in hybrid model that will also be based on the Sonata. This new model will presumably use a beefed-up battery pack to increase the Sonata Hybrid's electric-only driving range, and is expected to arrive at the beginning of 2016. Another plug-in model with this same drivetrain could follow in 2017, possibly based on one of the company's crossover models.
Compact Sport Sedan
While the ultra-luxury Hyundai Equus and the Hyundai Genesis sedan and coupe models are the company's only current rear-wheel-drive offerings, a smaller sport sedan meant to do battle with the BMW 3 Series is likely to join the Hyundai lineup in 2017. This car will reportedly use a new platform that could also underpin the next Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Hyundai is still in the early stages of planning this model, so we don't know much about how it would fit into the already crowded sedan lineup consisting of the midsize Sonata, the full-size Azera, and the premium Genesis. Presumably this Hyundai sport sedan, codenamed IK, would start around $30,000 and offer both turbocharged four-cylinder and naturally aspirated V-6 engine options.
Finally, Automotive News says a new version of the Hyundai Accent could arrive in 2016 as a 2017 model, while a new Elantra is scheduled for late 2015 but could be delayed until early 2016.
Stay tuned for more news about Hyundai's future product plans that aim to continue the automaker's growth in the U.S. market.