2010 Korean-market Hyundai Tucson ix – Click above for high-res image gallery

Although U.S. consumers aren't slated to clap eyes on the new Hyundai Tucson until the Los Angeles Auto Show, the next-generation model has just been revealed in its home market, and it's a much more upscale looking effort. Dubbed 'Tucson ix' in Korea and ix35 in Europe, the compact crossover will likely just be called 'Tucson' when it reaches North American shores.

And while we don't yet have U.S. specifications, we can tell you that the Korean market car will be available with a buyer's choice of a 2.0-liter diesel or gasoline powerplants, both paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. The so-called 'R' diesel puts out 184 horsepower and meets Euro-5 emissions requirements while achieving 15.4 km per liter fuel economy (36 mpg). Conversely, the Theta-II gas engine brings 166-hp to the table, as well as fuel economy of 11.7 km per liter (28 mpg), with both figures presumably arrived at using Korea's fuel economy calculation methodologies and not that of the EPA. Interestingly, only the diesel engine is available with all-wheel drive traction, but as we aren't expecting to see that engine Stateside, we would assume that the USDM Tucson will continue to be offered with both front- or all-wheel drive.

The new Tucson looks markedly more grown-up (and, it must be said, Lexus RX-like) than its somewhat roly-poly cute-ute predecessor and equipment levels for the KDM model appear to have matured as well. Over there, the new model is fitted with available luxury features like a panoramic sunroof and a rearview mirror mounted backup camera, as well as safety equipment like Downhill Brake Control and Hill-Start Assist Control.

KDM pricing starts at 21 million won (about $23,700 USD) for a front-drive gas model, though we suspect that when it arrives in the States as a 2011 model, the Tucson will probably carry pricing closer to that of the current model, which starts at $18,095. While we wait for further information on the U.S. model, Hyundai is promising further details on the ix35 will be revealed on Sept 3 ahead of the vehicle's European debut in Frankfurt. Official press release after the jump, high-res images below.


Hyundai Tucson ix Launched in Korea

(Seoul, Korea) Hyundai Motor Company's all-new Tucson ix* was officially unveiled today. The compact sports utility vehicle has sweeping coupe-like lines, a premium vehicle feel and comes with features unavailable on its predecessor. With the start of Tucson ix sales in the Korean market today, Hyundai aims to set the trend for the segment and regain sales leadership in the small SUV market.

Its revolutionary features begin with the exterior styling which is based on the bold ix-onic concept shown at Geneva Motor Show in March. The power output, fuel-efficiency, comfort and safety features have been all upgraded. Known by the project name LM, it took 36 months and 280 billion won (approx. US$225 million) to develop.

It comes with a 2-litre engine: either the all-new diesel R or gasoline Theta-II and is fitted with Hyundai's all-new six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel engine meets the Euro-5 emissions standards and achieves 15.4 kilometers per liter fuel economy with maximum power output of 184 horsepower. The gasoline engine has a fuel economy of 11.7 kilometers per liter with a 166 horsepower. The diesel engine is offered in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel drive configurations, while gasoline engine is available only in front-wheel-drive.

Named after a city in the U.S. state of Arizona, Tucson has been one of the most popular Hyundai models with more than 1 million units sold worldwide since its launch in 2004.

Some of the notable features of Tucson are as follows:

* Vehicle Dynamic Control: improves the safety of a vehicle's stability by detecting and minimizing skids

* Downhill Brake Control and Hill-Start Assist Control: DBC allows the vehicle to maintain a safe speed on steep declines without having to use the brake while the hill-start assist helps a driver move up a steep or slippery hill without rolling backwards.

* Emergency Stop Signal: In the event of a panic stop, this feature automatically triggers the emergency hazard lights whose flashing alerts the driver behind thus reducing the risk of rear-end crashes.

* Panoramic Sunroof

* Safety Rear-View Mirror: Shifting into reverse gear automatically turns on the rear-view camera which provides a wide-angle view of the rear on a 3.5-inch color LCD built into the rear-view mirror thus reducing the risk of accidents.

Korean retail prices of the diesel edition (2WD) fitted with automatic transmission will begin at 21 million won with the top-of-the-line model costing 27 million won inclusive of taxes. Gasoline versions will start at about 19 million won and will top out at 24 million won.

The Korean domestic market Tucson ix is built in the Ulsan plant while the European edition (to be badged as the ix35) will be built in Europe with production and sales commencing in Europe early next year. Full details about European powertrains, trim levels and option packages will be announced September 3rd on the eve of the 2009 IAA in Frankfurt. North American specifications will be announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this year.

Hyundai is aiming for sales of 16,000 units of the new Tucson ix this year in the Korean market and 40,000 units annually starting next year. From the year 2011, Hyundai predicts its sales to reach 300,000 units globally, with 260,000 units sold in the overseas market.

* Korean domestic naming only

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group which was ranked as the world's fifth-largest automaker since 2007 and includes over two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Employing over 75,000 people worldwide, Hyundai Motor sold approximately 2.8 million vehicles globally in 2008, posting sales of US$25.6 billion on a non-consolidated basis (using the average currency exchange of 1257.5 won per US dollar). Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 6,000 dealerships and showrooms. Further information about Hyundai Motor and its products are available at http://www.hyundai.com

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