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First look: Hyundai previews small car plans

Small stuff: Hyundai 's European studio is showing off its plans for the next Accent ... or is it the next Elantra?

The Hyundai E3 Concept revealed at Geneva points to a 2005 production car

2 Mar 2004

HYUNDAI is using this week’s Geneva motor show to show off its new E3 small car concept.

Designed at the firm’s German design studio in Russelsheim, the E3 is the clearest indication yet of what the next generation MC-series Accent will look like when it is launched in the second half of 2005.

Eschewing the current LC-series car’s long bonnet and hatchback profile for a near-monobox design, the E3 takes the European flavour of the B-segment Getz one step further.

That’s also seen in the deep glass area, wide rear pillars, large doors, pronounced wheel arches and the wheel-at-each-corner stance To satiate European tastes, the E3 Concept’s cabin is a departure from the Hyundai norm, with coloured leather trim, an LCD screen and multi-function speedometer.

Meanwhile the E3’s glass roof, bicycle carrier and mirror-replacing rear-view cameras are pure show car whimsy.

The E3’s 2650mm wheelbase and 4150mm total length should also reflect the new production model’s more Euro-centric dimensions. Today’s Accent’s figures are 2440mm and 4215mm respectively.

In the E3 Concept, power comes courtesy of a 103kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine.

This suggests that the next Accent may eclipse the ageing Elantra in size and space. It also raises the issue of whether the E3 is really a next-generation C-segment small car (Elantra replacement).

Both the current Accent and Elantra were launched locally in 2000, although the former is older by a few months, and is first in line for a replacement.

Hyundai has made it clear that it intends to reassume its rally car onslaught with the MC Accent.

The competition car is slated for a mid-’06 unveil, in time for its first full year on the rally circuit in 2007.

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