Special Coverage

Geneva
Auto Show

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. is giving European buyers the first look at its new i30 Blue model that hits the European market midyear.

The South Korean auto maker is unveiling the new model, along with a new “Blue Drive” logo that will adorn all upcoming fuel-efficient Hyundais, at the Geneva auto show today.

The i30 Blue comes equipped with the auto maker’s Idle Stop & Go stop-start technology that automatically turns off the engine when the car comes to a standstill, such as in stop-and-go traffic, and then restarts it when the driver presses the accelerator.

The i30 Blue’s electronic control unit constantly monitors the car’s status and when at a full stop analyzes information from sensors placed around the vehicle.

“A new technology of alternator control suppresses electric power demand during acceleration and recharges the car’s battery during deceleration,” Hyundai says. “If ever there is insufficient energy available in the car’s battery for the next engine start-up, the system will abort its ‘ISG’ program.”

The Europe-built i30 Blue is available in 5-door hatchback and wagon body styles and with 1.4L and 1.6L 4-cyl. gas engines.

The model debuting in Geneva has the 1.6L mill, making 126 hp and mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

Compared with the standard i30, the 1.6L i30 Blue cuts fuel usage 7% and reduces carbon-dioxide emissions from 152 g/km to 142 g/km. Equipped with the 1.4L mill, i30 Blue CO2 emissions are reduced to 135 g/km, the auto maker says.

Others models to wear the Blue Drive logo include flex-fuel vehicles, clean diesels and gas-electric hybrids.

Hyundai’s first hybrid-electric vehicle, the Elantra LPI, goes on sale this summer in Korea and uses liquid-petroleum gas for fuel, as well as lithium ion polymer batteries.

Hyundai says the Blue Drive logo “displays imagery befitting eco-awareness,” with a green leaf symbolizing Gaia, Greek mythology’s “life force of Mother Earth.” The blue coloring is meant to convey “the image of purity of our blue oceans and blue skies.”

Meanwhile, the auto maker also unveils its new 3-door i20 subcompact and a concept vehicle, the ix-onic.

The i20 replaces the Getz/Accent, with the 5-door i20 having been unveiled at last year’s Paris auto show.

With introduction of the new 3-door, Hyundai expects to “broaden the i20’s appeal to the fastest-growing automotive customer base in Europe.”

The car is targeted at young professionals without children and offers a lower entry price point for the i20 lineup.

Seven gas and diesel engines are available in the 3-door, including Hyundai’s Kappa 1.2L, 78-hp gas mill, which it says has class-leading torque of 88 lb.-ft. (119 Nm) and fuel economy of 45 mpg (5.2L/100 km), emitting just 124 g/km of CO2.

Hyundai expects the all-aluminum 1.2L, which it developed over a 48-month period, to be the i20 3-door’s best-selling engine.

The i20 3-door rides on the same 100-in. (253-cm) wheelbase as the 5-door i20 but weighs 22 lbs. (10 kg) less. The smaller i20 will share the 5-door’s three trims, classic, comfort and style, and offer high-end features such as climate control, multi-function steering wheel, keyless entry and power windows and side mirrors.

Electronic stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, active head restraints and antilock brakes, as well as six airbags, are standard safety features of the i20 3-door.

Meanwhile, the ix-onic concept hints at the future styling of compact, 4x4 SUVs, Hyundai says.

Created with the European market in mind, the ix-onic is described as “assertive, but not aggressive” and “tough and compact for life in the city, but sleek and agile for out-of-town travel.”

Dimensionally the ix-onic is 173 ins. (440 cm) long, 73 ins. (185 cm) wide and 65 ins. (165 cm) high, and wears a new, shiny advanced-effect pigment.

Hyundai calls the concept’s design language athletic, with “dynamic graphic elements” such as a hexagonal-shaped front grille, swept-back headlamps, split beltline and a “third side window kick-up.”

Light-emitting diodes are used for the ix-onic’s daytime running lights and door-mirror lights.

The car’s rear window is made of Lexan high-performance plastics from SABIC Innovative Plastics, which Hyundai also partnered with in creating the QarmaQ concept from the 2007 Geneva auto show.

The ix-onic’s interior is described as “sporty, light and fresh,” with cream-white leather, white light-alloy magnesium accents and ice blue seams that echo a ribbed ice blue floor composed of a high percentage of natural cashmere wool.

The ix-onic is powered by a 175-hp, 1.6L turbocharged 4-cyl. gas engine with Hyundai’s ISG system. The engine is mated to a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com