UPDATED 13/11/19 - Hyundai has revealed that the replacement for its stalwart Tucson will be on the ground in less than two years, with a worldwide reveal expected next year.
In the meantime, the company has released a pair of images of something it's calling the SUV Concept, which will be unveiled in the metal at the Los Angeles Motor Show next week.
Precious little info has been offered up - other than the fact that the concept will feature a hybrid powertrain - but we've tweaked the teaser image to reveal a bit more of the design.
It looks as if the Tucson will take a step towards a more bold and brash visage, with Hyundai calling the new design language Sensuous Sportiness.
“We pursue innovative solutions in design and add emotional value to our product experience through sensuous sportiness design language,” said the senior vice president and head of Hyundai Global Design Centre, SangYup Lee.
The mid-sized Tucson SUV is currently the fourth-best seller in its category, only a handful of sales behind the Nissan X-Trail, which itself trails the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5, but Hyundai’s product planning manager Andrew Tuatahi believes the next Tucson will move the game forward for the company.
“Yeah, we’re definitely working on it,” he said. “We would typically see a final design including all trims, paints, and interior colours about two years before production starts, so we've definitely done the final design reviews for Tucson.”
Tuatahi is excited for the new Tucson, with the current car not quite living up to Hyundai’s sales expectations.
“ It can't come soon enough,” he said. “It's very interesting visually, it's going to appeal to a very broad audience, I think. Probably the biggest shift for the car is going to be style and design.
"Expect to see materials more in line with the Santa Fe [below] across the Tucson range. We'll introduce some new elements with our material design in terms of layout and configuration, things like entertainment and [instrument] clusters will be quite different in that vehicle.”
The surge of the SUV has shifted slightly away from the ‘everyday’ mid-sized SUV in favour of more compact crossovers and premium-brand products, but Tuatahi reckons Hyundai has the right answers.
“So much has happened since we launched the current generation,” he said. “I think right now it feels like it's the oldest car in the segment, but it's only three and half/four years old. It's amazing. But yeah, there have been some shifts in terms of expectations.”
Safety basics have moved a long way in three years and Tuatahi confirmed that the new Tucson will reflect those change.
“There have been two fundamental NCAP changes in terms of scoring criteria since we've launched that car and we've gone from your minimum requirement being stability, control and a couple of safety technologies through to compulsory autonomous emergency braking,” he said.
“For the next year, you're going to need a centre bag and cross junction and collision avoidance.”
Though Tuatahi wouldn’t be drawn on which platform the Tucson would be based upon, it’s almost certain that the company’s new Third Generation Platform will underpin the new car, which opens the possibility for the addition of a variety of hybrid-assisted drivetrains, as well as front- and all-wheel-drive options.