2011 Hyundai ix20 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Hyundai's fluidic design language makes a little car quite handsome, and the ix20 MPV at the Paris Motor Show is the latest to benefit from the rhinoplasty. To our American eyes, it's a tiny piece of kit to be called an MPV, but the market for European B-segment people-carriers is robust.

Aimed at Continental families, the wheels pushed out to the corners provides a pleasantly roomy interior for a car with its dimensions. Four powerplants can be placed under the hood, two gas engines and two oil-burners ranging from 75 to 122 horsepower. Hyundai has also found room for plenty of safety features, with ESP, ABS, and Hill Start Assist making the list of standard kit.

Hyundai is hoping any further worries will be allayed by the five-year, unlimited mile warranty, and wants to sell 55,000 units of the ix20 annually. There's a press release on Hyundai's European charge after the jump, and a high-res gallery of photos below.

Photos copyright ©2010 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL
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Hyundai is set to shake up the MPV market this autumn with the new, modern and dynamic ix20, unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show by the company's Vice Chairman, Euisun Chung.

The car combines unique looks and great drivability with key MPV attributes to form an unprecedented package, promising to be the benchmark for future B-segment offerings.

The ix20 is the latest Hyundai model to join the company's hugely popular 'i-range' line-up of vehicles offering European consumers unparalleled levels of quality, style, and comfort. The all-new B-segment MPV is also the latest Hyundai model to come with the company's groundbreaking Five Year Triple Care package, which includes a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty; five years of roadside assistance; and five years of free vehicle health checks.

"The ix20 is a modern mini-MPV which has its own personality, offering the right balance of dynamic style and functionality," said Allan Rushforth, Vice President of Hyundai Motor Europe. "With ix20 we are giving young European families a vehicle that not only suits their lifestyle, but also appeals to their sense of adventure."

Overall, the MPV segment in Europe has experienced a downturn in fortunes during recent years, with sales declining by 34% since 2005. The B-segment of the MPV market however, has increased its share from 23,3% to 29,2% over the same period.

"We are optimistic about the future of our new B-segment MPV and have set an ambitious but achievable sales target of 55,000 units annually for the ix20," continued Mr. Rushforth. "The MPV segment has been experiencing a tough time of late, but we are confident that the launch of the ix20 will help to increase Hyundai's overall sales volume and market share in Europe. Taking into account the current trend for European motorists to downsize, we expect many C-segment MPV owners will be tempted by the ix20."

Production of the ix20 is under way at Hyundai's newest European plant in Nošovice, Czech Republic. The 4.1 metre-long car features an unusually long wheelbase for its class (2.615mm) and a 1.600mm high roofline. These dimensions, as well as developments in the field of interior packaging, ensure that the ix20 offers cabin space typical of many larger C-segment vehicles.

Designed and developed at Hyundai's R&D centre in Russelsheim, the ix20 is the second European car to adopt Hyundai's new 'fluidic sculpture' form language. This concept brings together three key qualities in a pleasing design: refinement, dynamism, and confidence.

These qualities are accentuated in the ix20 package by a design feature that has become unmistakably Hyundai: the hexagonal front grille, a key visual element of the brand's new European family 'look'. This grille is designed to give the MPV a 'friendly' face, inviting potential buyers to explore the car further.

The fluidic design theme continues inside, with neat styling touches reflecting the dynamic flow of the exterior. Hyundai's European designers have also sculpted the interior space to provide extra legroom and headroom for superior comfort, while accommodating ample luggage and raising equipment specifications.

The all-new ix20 will be available with a choice of four Euro V-compliant engines: two petrol and two diesel, covering a power spread from 77ps to 125ps. Manual and automatic transmissions will also be offered. Every engine in the ix20 range (except 1.6 with automatic transmission) will also be available in Blue Drive™ form, which includes Integrated Stop & Go (ISG) technology, low rolling-resistance tyres and an alternator management system (AMS). Blue Drive™ versions of the ix20 give class-leading CO2 emissions levels from just 114 g/km (1,4-litre U2 diesel engine), highlighting Hyundai's desire to lead the way on the road to long-term environmental sustainability.

The modern ix20 uses the latest active and passive safety technologies to ensure maximum protection for its occupants. Active safety features, fitted as standard in several countries, include ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ABS (anti-lock braking system) and Hillstart Assist Control (to prevent roll-back when starting on an incline). Hyundai anticipates the ix20 will continue the company's excellent safety record and become the first B-segment MPV to attain the maximum 5-Star result under Euro NCAP's impact assessment.

"The ix20 is an integral part of Hyundai's overall business strategy," added Rushforth. "Its launch will help to increase our sales performance before the end of the year, keeping us on target for our 2010 market share goal of 2.75%."

"With its dynamic design, economical powertrains, unique versatility, and uncompromising safety, the ix20 builds upon what European consumers have come to expect from the Hyundai brand. The arrival of ix20 kicks off our intensive model launch period, and it is sure to set a high standard for our future models. In the next couple of years Hyundai will introduce another 12 new models and derivatives," he concluded.

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