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Hyundai will go all-in on crossover SUVs

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2018 Hyundai Kona (Image courtesy of Hyundai Motor America)

Hyundai will expand its range of crossover SUVs from today’s three to five, within a couple of years.

Today’s lineup includes the Tucson compact and the Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe mid-size SUVs.

The next SUV arrives in March 2018, in the form of the small Hyundai Kona. The fourth Hyundai crossover SUV will slot beneath the Tucson in the brand’s lineup.

Yet to come: a small SUV that won’t be sold in the U.S., and a large three-row SUV upsized to combat today’s best-sellers.


Those figures don’t include a range of Genesis crossover SUVs brewing now, and previewed in the form of the Genesis GV80 concept from this year’s New York auto show.

Here’s how the future Hyundai crossover SUV lineup breaks down:

A-sized SUV: This new crossover will be the smallest Hyundai sells. Based on a new platform, it should emerge by the end of the decade, but Hyundai officials say it will not be sold in the U.S.

2018 Hyundai Kona: Next year Hyundai jumps into the niche made popular by the Nissan Juke, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, and others. We’ve driven the new 2018 Kona briefly, in turbo form. An electric version could come to the U.S. to join the Ioniq, with a battery range of more than 200 miles.


Hyundai Tucson: Currently the smallest SUV Hyundai sells, the Tucson was new in the 2016 model year. It’s built in South Korea, but it’s possible that it soon may be built in the U.S.-if not as the Tucson, then as the long-awaited Santa Cruz pickup derivative due in 2020. The next-generation Tucson may grow larger as Hyundai adds more SUVs to the lineup. It will also adopt the split running light/headlight arrangement of the new Kona, but Hyundai designers say each vehicle’s interpretation will be different.

Hyundai Santa Fe: Today Hyundai splits the Santa Fe lineup into two models, the five-seat Sport and the seven-seat Santa Fe. Looking ahead to redesigns coming in the next two years, the Santa Fe name likely will be applied only to the five-seat model, and will continue to be built in the U.S. in Alabama and Georgia.

Three-row SUV: The long-wheelbase Santa Fe is coming in for a redesign in 2019, and it’s likely to adopt a different name as it grows to become a more direct competitor to the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. The most likely name: Veracruz, a name Hyundai applied to its large SUV in the 2000s, and one for which it still holds a trademark (while other trademarks it held, like Taos and Ventana and Montecito, have lapsed.) The new three-row SUV will also tackle the likes of the Volkswagen Atlas and Subaru Ascent.

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