By on November 15, 2017

After being caught off guard by the American public’s thirst for high-riding, commodious, all-weather vehicles, Hyundai’s planning to make up for lost time.

As part of an effort we’ve known about for a year, Hyundai laid its “build more crossovers” strategy bare on Wednesday. Including the subcompact 2018 Kona, which lands on U.S. shores early next year, the automaker will “debut” eight new or redesigned CUVs over the next two years. Unfortunately, details are threadbare.

Going from Hyundai’s product timeline, the future lineup includes (among others) a new A-segment crossover, a diesel model, and an electric. Already burned, Hyundai’s now covering its bases.

“Very soon we are going to have the most diverse CUV powertrain lineup in the industry,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of product, corporate and digital planning at Hyundai Motor America, in a statement.

Hyundai crossover timeline, Image: Hyundai

The automaker no doubt wishes it could push the current timeline into the past, as that’s when a lack of new models began cutting into sales growth. Even though the automaker just recorded its best month for crossover sales in the U.S., it wasn’t enough to prevent an overall sales decline. In October, Hyundai brand sales sank over 15 percent, year-over-year, with sales over the first 10 months of 2017 now 13 percent lower than last year.

We’ve heard about a potential A-segment offering before, but the company’s new promise sets it in stone. It’s hard to imagine something smaller than a Kona rounding out the bottom of the lineup, as the Kona shaves four inches off the length of Mazda’s diminutive CX-3.

Speaking to Wards Auto earlier this month, O’Brien said any A-segment vehicle would likely be all-wheel drive and pricier than the redesigned 2018 Accent. Hyundai apparently envisions something similar to Kia’s boxy Soul for this segment.

We know from last year’s plans that a redesigned, slightly larger Tucson is on the way, as well as a butchier Santa Fe Sport and a wholly new midsize, three-row crossover to replace the Santa Fe. Both the A-segment and midsize CUVs should appear in mid- to late-2019. The two unidentified models appearing in 2018 should be the next Tucson and Santa Fe Sport. Joining those models next year is an electric version of the Kona and a fuel cell-powered SUV destined for (somewhat) hydrogen-friendly California.

This leaves the mysterious diesel CUV to ponder. With all crossover segments (minus full-size) now covered, it’s possible the unnamed oil-burning model in Hyundai’s timeline, due to debut in 2019, is the unibody pickup previewed by the Santa Cruz concept. That concept carried a 2.0-liter diesel powerplant. We learned earlier this fall that public reaction compelled Hyundai brass to green-light a model similar to the Santa Cruz.

[Images: Hyundai]

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24 Comments on “Hyundai Lays Out Its Crossover Plan; Eight CUVs on the Way...”

  • avatar

    Only eight??? Why not sixteen?

    • 0 avatar

      We should start brainstorming vaguely Southwestern-Californian-Spanish Missionary Period names for Hyundai to save them the trouble!

    • 0 avatar

      Buy the time they hit the market…..sedans will be hot again
      Good planning Hyundai

    • 0 avatar

      Well, BMW has the…

      X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6 with the X7 coming and the X8 just announced and that’s not counting 1-2 EV crossovers likely under the “i” moniker.

      Toyota has the C-HR, RAV4, Highlander, 4Runner, Sequoia and Land Cruiser with the FJ Cruiser and Venza discontinued not that long ago with the FJ Cruiser likely to return in some form and the Prius family getting a crossover (with Toyota likely to add an EV or fuel cell CUV to the mix).

      Plus, it’s not really 8 separate CUVs for Hyundai as the diesel is likely just a powertrain option.

      The A-segment wouldn’t be much smaller than the Kona which probably means that the Kona will grow in its next iteration.

  • avatar

    What we will see is this generations Fuel Cell Tucson making an appearance as the `16 that was on sale was the previous generation’s platform.

    Hopefully Hyundai will ditch the Dual-Clutch. Looking at the NHTSA complaint database there’s a ton of unhappy customers–myself included.

    • 0 avatar

      Hyundai just has to continually refine their DCT.

      CR reports that complaints on ’17MY Tucsons regarding the DCT is down a good bit from the ’16MY.

      Also, Hyundai is working on a new wet DCT, but it remains to be seen if it will be reserved for performance-oriented trims (the i30N will be the first to get it and hence, likely will see it when Hyundai does the N version of the Tucson).

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, they should forget about the diesel and the fuel cell variants.

  • avatar

    So many SUVs that I can ignore. Makes my car shopping list short and easy.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    How about a Sonata Fred?

  • avatar

    I recently had a Sante Fe Sport (2.4L from what I could tell) as a rental for a several hour highway jaunt and back. The standout attribute for me was the ride/handling balance, especially surprising given the Koreans’ historic weakness in this area. My rental was a pretty basic trim with 16 inch alloys with a nice fat 65 aspect ratio sidewall. It really smothered road imperfections but still cornered fairly flat. The rest of the car was decent enough but suffered the standard modern CUV maladies: poor rear visibility, cheap seat cloth, dead steering, and a gruff direct injected motor (which had adequate power and fuel economy). I think I got an indicated 27mpg going 75mph most of the way. So not a standout product, but a decent one, depending on the deals they’re throwing at these things it could be a reasonable option. In general, classes of vehicles have become so competitive they are really homogenized. It’s getting to the point of really nitpicking things.

    • 0 avatar

      I was behind a very aggressively-driven Sonata yesterday. Every time she stomped on it (every red light, and as she swerved from lane to lane to get a whole car length ahead of where she was), it sent out a decent puff of black smoke.

      I had to laugh. I stayed in my lane the whole time, didn’t drive aggressive or excessively speed, and I often ended up right next to her or behind her. All her effort (not to mention higher fuel consumption and increased wear on the car) for virtually nothing gained.

      “Why does this car need new brakes every 20k miles?!”
      Who am I kidding? I’m sure she would type “breaks” instead.

      • 0 avatar

        The black smoke puff of not-fully burned fuel is pretty characteristic of direct injected engines given a burst of WOT, although regular port injected engines at full throttle will momentarily go “open loop” as well.

        • 0 avatar

          The puff is especially fun when there’s a bit of gunk in the intake. If I give my (direct + port dual injection) LS460 an Italian tuneup after a few weeks of tooling around city streets at or near idle, it lays down a nice gray smokescreen. Subsequent misbehavior results in no smoke.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    Santa Cruz diesel in 2019? Speculation at its best. I am starting to think the Santa Cruz will never appear.

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