Now that Hyundai’s flagship cars (Genesis and Sonata) have move on from their fluidic sculpture designs toward a more traditional look, Hyundai is turning its attention to a more classic Elantra compact sedan, while evolving the Kia Sportage into a sportier compact crossover.
The South Korean auto giant has released sketches of its redesigned vehicles that are slated to be introduced later in 2015 – the 2016 Sportage is slated for a global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in about a month’s time, while the 2017 Elantra is due for its close up at the Los Angeles Auto Show come November.
Although sketches are sometimes deceiving in their proportions, we can see the look of the fourth-generation Sportage is very similar to that of the current model, with muscular shoulders and haunches creating a more powerful look.
At the front, there seems to be a definite Porsche Cayenne look to the presentation with a bolder, more upright and less shark-nosed tab grille, now visually separated from the headlights that hint at LEDs. The rear also features LED treatments in a stripped array similar to those of Audi. All of this isn’t unexpected, mind you, since Kia President and Chief Designer Peter Schreyer worked at the Volkswagen Group (which includes Audi and Porsche) prior to coming to Kia. And, there has been a definite European luxury car bias to his Kia designs since he joined the company in 2006.
Schreyer is now also the Chief Designer for Hyundai vehicles. The first design under his tutelage is the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, which shares the Sportage architecture and pushes the more classic Hyundai look that is evident in the upcoming Elantra
“The all-new Elantra captures the car’s unique design characteristics that really place this model in a class of its own,” said Schreyer of the Elantra sketch. “The subtle and innovative appearance enhancements reflect Hyundai Motor’s vision for design. Furthermore, this car indicates a move from traditional to modern styling by communicating the new model’s comfort, fashion and sporty feel.”
The Elantra design looks less fanciful than the Sportage, with the large, upright hexagonal grille that has become prominent on recent Hyundai cars. A release accompanying the photo said that designers identified a series of innovative design aspects to give the new car a unique presence, including “active” character lines.
The design’s long wheelbase and gently sloping C pillar suggest a sedan, as does a perceived quarter rear window, but the lack of a rear door line suggests this could also be a coupe, which indicates that Hyundai is likely going to continue with the two Elantra bodystyles.