By on November 22, 2016

2017 Santa Fe

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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21 Comments on “Hyundai Planning a Top-to-Bottom Shakeup of Crossover Lineup, with Two Babies on the Way...”

  • avatar

    “product is the lifeblood of any brand”

    That’s why he makes the big money.

    • 0 avatar

      He’s like our dearly departed info bot, Nancy.

      “When you run a business you must sell product so that people who are looking for a product can purchase it. They will then give you money. When a car maker has items for sale, they are more likely than not to get a sale, and to get the money from the sale. Often times there are different types of vehicles available from every car maker, as more vehicle choices appeals to more customers. It’s important.”

  • avatar

    How many will that be now, five? Where’s the KIA Xerox?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I would guess that in this rare case, the upcoming Kia Niro will serve as the basis for Hyundai’s new subcompact crossover.

      As for the “Kia Xerox” comment:

      1. I suspect Kia’s usual 6-12-month lag of Hyundai has resulted in less troublesome vehicles:

      2. Kia and Hyundai share much less than you might think. Comparing the Sonata and Optima: they don’t share a single body panel or interior piece that I know of, and the same is true of the Tucson and Sportage.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, the Niro shares its platform with the Ioniq and the upcoming new B-segment crossover from Kia and Hyundai will share platforms.

        As for the “xerox” comment – sure, H/K both compete in the biggest segments (Sonata/Optima, etc.), but they don’t always mirror each other.

        For instance, Kia has the box Soul, whereas Hyundai went with a 4-door hatch in the Veloster.

        Hyundai has the Santa Fe Sport and the 3-row version Santa Fe, but Kia split the difference in size with the Sorento.

        Hyundai opted for a liftback for its dedicated hybrid/PHEV/EV, whereas Kia (more wisely) opted for a cross-over body-style in the Niro.

        The K900 splits the difference in size btwn the G80 and G90 and the upcoming GT will split the difference in size btwn the new G70 and G80.

        Kia is the one with the minivan (which doesn’t really fit what Kia is trying to be – a sportier brand than Hyundai).

        And in other markets, Kia doesn’t have the equivalent to the Hyundai i20 or i40.

  • avatar

    Can we finally stop calling it a subcompact crossover and call it what it really is…a hatchback? No? Oh, yeah…because “marketing!”

    • 0 avatar

      No, because there actually is a difference. Compared to a hatchback, a CUV has a taller body, more ground clearance, and/or available AWD. As long as the new B-segment Hyundai CUV has at least one of those things over an Accent hatch, it’s enough to be called a different vehicle.

  • avatar

    I hope that they (and others) do something to differentiate their crossovers in the future, or we’re going to have a sea of me-too CUVs that are trying to emulate the best sellers (same goes for all categories).

  • avatar

    Tuscon growing in size would be nice. Hopefully they could make a “Tuscon Sport” with the 2.0L + DCT.

  • avatar

    Could we see the return of the Veracruz name on a new size?

  • avatar

    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 4×4 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.

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