Hyundai Planning a Top-to-Bottom Shakeup of Crossover Lineup, With Two Babies on the Way
You won’t recognize Hyundai’s crossover lineup after the automaker’s potentially lucrative product revamp.
Giving crossover-hungry buyers more of what they want, Hyundai plans to add two new models and re-position three existing models to better battle rivals in red-hot segments. Expect a name change for one well-known model and growth spurts for others.
Speaking to Automotive News at last week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski spelled out the automaker’s plan to cover all of its crossover bases by 2020.
“It’s not just adding new vehicles, it’s doing a better job of positioning a family of CUVs,” said Zuchowski.
The first new addition to the family — a subcompact crossover — arrives in early 2018. That model joins a fast growing segment populated by the likes of the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax and upcoming Ford EcoSport. An A-segment crossover arrives some time after that, though there isn’t much detail to go on. Hyundai doesn’t sell an A-segment vehicle in North America, though it does overseas. We’ll wait to see if the automaker taps the i10 city car as a platform.
Big changes are in store for the brand’s existing crossovers. The compact Tucson will grow slightly while retaining its styling direction, but the Santa Fe Sport and its bigger brother will both emerge from the operation with new identities. The Santa Fe Sport is due to grow in size and take on a more rugged look — a move clearly targeting Jeep — while the Santa Fe grows into an eight-passenger model and ditches its name.
Zuchowski said that too much confusion exists around those two models. He didn’t say if the Santa Fe Sport would drop the “Sport” or what moniker we can expect from its range-topping stablemate.
“As we’ve said, product is the lifeblood of any brand,” Zuchowski said. “If that’s true and I believe it’s true, we feel pretty good about what we’ve got in the pipeline.”
[Image: Hyundai Motor America]
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As a multi-Hyundai CUV family, this is interesting to me. My mom has a Tuscon, and we have a Santa Fe. I can see the benefit in most everything they're doing here. I haven't been in a 16+ Tuscon, but the prior generation is too small compared to the Rav/CR-V/CX-5 both in interior and cargo space. As far as the Santa Fe goes, the Sport sounds like the right direction since up-sizing the Tuscon makes the SFS irrelevant. That is, assuming the changeover includes better 4x4 running gear rather than just a body kit. I'm also a fan of more space in the 3-row, since our trunk is laughable, even if it's not appreciably worse than anything else in the segment. moving to 8 passengers is an interesting proposition, though I don't see the value in it over a minivan. The third row is still only going to be usable for kids and short trips; anyone with a 4+ kid family is going to be in a van of some sort already if they're smart. Heck, we've realized that ours already loses its usefulness if a 3rd kid comes into the picture. I guess my only concern is with the Santa Fe name. It has been a generic medium/large CUV for almost 15 years now. Moving it into some niche jeep-fighter will just confuse customers and turn off repeat buyers, potentially pushing them to look elsewhere. Rule #1 of branding is that if you have something that's working, you don't mess with it.