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Hyundai product onslaught revealed

Date: 15 January 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Hyundai's "relentless" model renewal programme is set to continue with the upper medium Mondeo-sized i40 with a choice of three diesel engines plus a small coupe, described by company insiders as a "latter-day Ford Puma."

The intensity of the Hyundai product onslaught is underlined by a tiny city car, along the lines of Toyota's IQ, which should join the i40 and coupe next year.

Tony Whitehorn, managing director of Hyundai Motors UK, praised the Korean development team for "responding rapidly to market dynamics with its city car project".

Replacing the slow-selling Sonata, the i40 will benefit from "European styling, driving dynamics and practicality with particular fleet relevance" when it arrives early next year, said Whitehorn.

Hyundai is expected to bring the estate version of the i40 in ahead of saloon and hatchback variants.

The trio of diesel engines covers the 126PS 1.6-litre unit used in the i30 and the upcoming 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre plants generating 184PS and 200PS respectively. A new six-speed automatic gearbox is also planned.

Despite the higher power outputs of the 2.0 and 2.2 diesels Hyundai claims fuel consumption and CO2 ratings superior to those of German premium brands like BMW and Audi.

Hyundai's product portfolio will extend to the ix35 replacement for the Tucson small 4x4, due towards the end of this year. Described internally as "a soft roader akin to Nissan's Qashqai and Ford's Kuga with two and four wheel drive powertrains".

The un-named coupe, using a combination of i20 and i30 technologies, draws heavily on the styling of the Velostar concept shown at the Seoul show in 2007.

No decision has been taken on whether or not to import the larger Genesis coupe, which along with the smaller car would fill the vacuum left by the current Coupe.