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Five Things We Learned About Hyundai's Future Plans

Automobile logo Automobile 2015-07-28 Conner Golden

Five Things We Learned About Hyundai's Future Plans

While we drove the 2016 Hyundai Tucson earlier this month in Minneapolis, we had another chance to sample Hyundai’s latest and greatest crossover at the company's technical center near Ann Arbor, Michigan. While we were there, we learned a few things about the future of Hyundai and the big plans they have for future models and segments.

Hyundai Creta© Provided by Automobile Hyundai Creta

Prepare for the Hyundai subcompact crossover

While the new Hyundai Creta is set to make a big splash overseas, Hyundai's U.S. planners weren't convinced about selling the model Stateside. Instead of bringing the Creta here, Hyundai officials said they plan to launch a totally redesigned small crossover model in the future.

If you expect the new crossover will look similar to other Hyundais, think again. “We think in that segment, it is very important to have dramatic styling,” said Dave Zuchowski, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “It’s going to be a millennial-type vehicle, along the lines of when you think [Nissan] Juke or something like that, with a little edgier styling.”

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept© Provided by Automobile Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is still a possibility

Hyundai captured headlines back in January when it pulled the covers off the cool Santa Cruz concept, and there's a small possibility the company will sell a production version. The tiny trucklet looks to capture the corner of the market which has sat vacant since the Subaru Baja vanished after a short tenure in dealerships. The Santa Cruz was a hard sell for the higher-ups at Hyundai, with the initial debut at the 2015 Detroit auto show a tool for gauging the public and media reaction toward the concept. Now, with plenty of positive impressions, Hyundai will take another look at the Santa Cruz this November as the company examines all of its future production plans.

2016 Hyundai Tucson Front Three Quarter In Motion 14© Provided by Automobile 2016 Hyundai Tucson Front Three Quarter In Motion 14

The 2016 Hyundai Tucson's base engine is still impressive

Because we had already driven the 2016 Hyundai Tucson's 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, we spent our time behind the wheel of the base Tucson motivated by the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Fitted only to the entry-level SE trim, it produces 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, compared to 175 hp and 195 lb-ft in the turbo engine. In the 2.0-liter, torque peaks right at 4,000 rpm, while the engine continues to push up through the rev range, with peak power arriving at a lofty 6,200 rpm.

While the 2.0-liter Tucson was not as smooth or as refined as its 1.6-liter brother, the base engine was more than adequate for use in the 3,325-3,602-lb crossover, whether comfortably cruising at highway speeds or navigating winding backroads.

Hyundai Audio Display infotainment screen Apple© Provided by Automobile Hyundai Audio Display infotainment screen Apple

Apple Car Play is coming… eventually

While the current batch of Hyundai vehicles support Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Hyundai claims Apple CarPlay will reach Hyundai vehicles by the end of the year. The reason for the delay? Hyundai claims Apple keeps changing its plans for rolling out the in-car technology. In any case, don’t despair if you own an iPhone and recently picked up a Hyundai that's equipped only with Android Auto. Once the software is finalized, Hyundai’s infotainment system will be able to seamlessly switch between either Apple or Android depending on which type of phone is tethered.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept© Provided by Automobile Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hyundai looks at more U.S. manufacturing

Hyundai is still looking into extending its manufacturing presence in the U.S. No official information was given, but one of the major factors limiting Hyundai’s continued growth is production. According to Zuchowski, “We sell every Hyundai we produce.” More production would allow for more sales.

The Hyundai Sonata and Elantra are currently built at the company's Montgomery, Alabama, plant, which has a rated capacity of 399,500 vehicles annually. In 2014, Hyundai sold a total of 438,959 Elantras and Sonatas in the U.S. combined (including some Elantras imported from South Korea), so the sales volume is definitely there to support more U.S. manufacturing.

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