Hyundai will be launching a new European-inspired vehicle in the U.S. market in the spring of ’08 that is named the “Elantra Touring.” The vehicle, a compact five-door hatch, will be available in Europe as the i30. According to John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America’s vp of Product Development and Strategic Planning, it will be built in both Korea and in a forthcoming plant (planned for ’08) in the Czech Republic.
The vehicle will be fitted with a 2.0-liter in-line four presently used in the Elantra sedan. (Speaking of four cylinder engines, Krafcik says that the vehicle manufacturer is going to be producing more fours, discovering that customers are interested in the more fuel-efficient engines. One indicator of this interest: the ’08 Sonata is available in all trim levels with the four; generally, the upper-end trims are limited to the vehicles that have the V6 box checked.) Although it is part of the Elantra series, it not only has unique sheet metal and windshield, it is also on a platform named “FD,” while the Elantra in the U.S. is on the “HD” platform. Krafcik says that the “image target” for the Elantra Touring is the Mazda3.
Also coming is the production version of Project Genesis, a 300-hp V8, rear-wheel drive luxury car from Hyundai, which Krafcik describes as having the “potential impact of the [original] Lexus LS. . .without the trapping of a luxury division.” The vehicle will also be available with a V6. Two transmissions will be available, one from Aisin and one from ZF. Just as the original Lexus sedan provided, in Krafcik’s words, “a value advantage versus the Germans,” the Hyundai sedan will do the same as regards Lexus.—GSV