Hyundai seems to be making a cottage industry out of cranking out new concept variations on the scaled-down SUV theme. The latest to surface just in time for Geneva is this little number, the ix-onic (pronounced "ik-sonic"). Considerably less radical than the HED-5 i-Mode that was shown at last-year's Swiss salon, the compact ix-onic -- which was dubbed the HED-6 in the original corporate releases -- "gives a clear indication of the direction Hyundai will take with its next generation of 4x4 SUVs." Based on the LM platform that underpins the Tucson, the five-passenger ix-onic is rumored to be a close cousin of the next-generation production Tucson (known in other markets as the ix35), a vehicle that's due to appear at the Frankfurt Motor Show this fall prior and debut here in America shortly thereafter.
Styled by Hyundai's design team in Russelsheim, Germany, the ix-onic's highly sculpted bodywork was penned to be "assertive but not aggressive," creating a distinctive presence that matches bold visual elements with people-oriented packaging. Accenting its prominent hexagonal grille and dramatically contoured Lexan back glass are prominent headlamps that incorporate LED running lights, which Hyundai also plans to work into its future brand identity matrix. Finishing the look is a trick Ice Blue paint that uses an advanced pigment that creates a semi-luminescent character.
The ix-onic's powertrain also reflects Hyundai's next-gen thinking, being the first use of the firm's 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 175 horsepower but emits significantly less CO2 than its conventional 2.0-liter counterpart. It's also fitted with Hyundai's new ISG (Idle Stop & Go) system to further boost fuel efficiency and matched with a dual-clutch six-speed transmission. While the ix-onic's suspension tuning and "intelligent" all-wheel drive package are geared towards delivering an optimum balance of comfort and control on road, Hyundai claims that the vehicle also has significant off-road capabilities. Whether those custom 21-inch alloy wheels figure into the production equation remains to be seen.