By Marc Lachapelle
Korea’s leading carmaker has shown great concept vehicles over the years, but the ix-ionic concept (pronounced ““ik-sonic” and yes, written in lower case letters only) appears to be anything but far-fetched. In fact, it looks everything like the production-ready evolution of the i-mode concept (small letters again) that was unveiled in Geneva only last year.
The hexagonal front grille is quite similar but the profile and rear are definitely more realistic. Designed by Hyundai’s studio in Rüsselsheim, Germany, this stylish compact crossover is 4,400 mm long, 1,850 mm wide and stands 1,650 mm off the ground. All measures within a few whiskers of a BMW X3, a likely target and benchmark. The ix-ionic concept also splits the difference between Hyundai’s current Tucson and Sante Fe models in length and width. It is fashionably lower than the former by 8 cm, which is fine for a vehicle described by its makers as an “Urban Nomad”.
The ix-ionic seats five: save for the snazzy blue rear-lighting in the gauges, navi screen and radio display, as well as some bright magnesium accents, the interior is production grade too. Worthy of notice are speakers mounted much higher than usual in the doors for better sound quality. There’s also a ‘blind spot’ warning light in the rear-view mirror. And under the hood is a 1.6-litre, 168-horsepower, direct-injected four-cylinder gasoline engine with ‘stop-start’ mode, coupled to a dual automated clutch, six-speed gearbox and four-wheel-drive. Look for additional muscle if this one makes the trip over.