Geneva motor show 2015: Hyundai replaces iX35 name with Tucson

Korean will drop plans to call its SUVs iX names and instead return to the Santa Fe and Tucson model names after US buyers indicated they didn’t like the letter format

Hyundai is using the Geneva motor show to have a peer into the future of in-car electrics and electronics. While it's showing off new versions of the existing i40, i30 and ix20 (as well as a three-door coupe version of the new i20 supermini) the futuristic stuff is based more around electrons and volts than sheet metal.

But it also took the chance to change the name of its popular mid-range crossover. Originally called the Tucson and sitting below the Santa Fe, the Korean brand undertook a major renaming policy towards the end of the last decade. In came hatchback and saloons starting with the letter i and for the SUVs the plan was ix. However given the strength of the Santa Fe brand no one was brave - or mad - enough to kill of a model name that was arguably as well known as the brand itself.

Now the naming plan is in reverse with the smaller SUV going back to its original Tucson name.

Back in the land of the electons, first up is the plugin hybrid version of the Tuscon crossover. The Tuscon in its standard form will use Hyundai's 115hp 1.7-litre CRDI diesel engine. For the show car, to that engine Hyundai has added a plugin hybrid module, which has a 68hp electric motor and a 10.7kWh lithium-ion battery stack. The combined system has 183hp and a massive 474Nm of torque, and Hyundai claims 48g/km of Co2 emissions on the combined cycle. No word on how far it'll go on a single battery charge, but 50-odd-km appears to be the industry standard.


Elsewhere on the stand is the Tuscon 48v concept, which doubles up the power of a conventional car 24-volt electrical system to 48-volts. Why is this important? Simply because of the increasing power demands of high-end electronic and hybrid systems. Just as heaters, better headlights and so forth caused a change from six-volt to 12-volt to 24-volt, this represents a background, but hugely important, step in vehicle architecture.

The 48v Tuscon is also a mild-hyrbid, with a small electric motor sandwiched in the gearbox, allowing its 2.0-litre 136hp petrol engine to achieve just 109g/km of Co2, but also boosting torque and power a little. The whole system weighs just an extra 20kg too, which makes for an neat installation. A hybrid starter-generator (which replaces the old-fashioned alternator) can also seamlessly restart the engine from a stop-start cycle with, Hyundai claims, no vibration or impact on refinement.

The Connectivity Cockpit Concept meanwhile is a look at infotainment and smartphone (and smartwatch) connections. By connecting the in-car systems to a watch or phone, the car can monitor the drivers' health (via a heartbeat monitor) and also send warnings such a blind-spot information or fuel status. The in-car systems also log the daily habits of the car and driver and then make useful suggestions such as refuelling stops or shopping tips.

There's also a gesture control device, which allows the driver, hopefully, to control such things as the stereo and heating systems on the move with a simple (or, indeed, complicated) wave of the hand. The system frees itself up for more complex gesture controls when the car is stopped.

There are also other features such as a camera-bases rear-seat monitor for those carrying long children and a setup that allows the passengers to more easily interact with and control the infotainment system. Hope there’s a big, red ‘lock-out’ button for that one…

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring