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First look: Hyundai shows its Accent hand

Future Accent: German-designed SR will evolve into next-gen production car.

Melbourne show's Accent SR concept previews all-new Hyundai small car due this year

17 Feb 2006

HYUNDAI used last week's Melbourne motor show to take the covers off its turbocharged Accent SR concept, which is a strong pointer to the third-generation MC-series Accent due here late this year.

The South Korean maker has admitted that its SR show car was a "flag waving" exercise, but is keen to add a production version of the car to its new Accent line-up.

Hyundai spokesman Richard Power said the SR was "xactly the direction we want to go in the very near future" The sporty SR was designed to gauge public reaction to the concept, he said.

"t’s a modified version of an existing platform so there’s a lot of promise with this car,"he said.

If Hyundai went ahead with a production version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged SR it could arrive here within 18 months.

Mr Power said that if the SR went into production it could be the range-topper to the Accent range.

As more SR models were developed Hyundai could then think about a special vehicles performance division but the company needed "a toe in the water" with the most suitable sized chassis for a sports derivative, he said.

The car was designed at Hyundai’s European design studio in Russelsheim, Germany, and is also tipped to become Hyundai’s world rally car for the 2008 rally season.

It uses a high-performance turbocharged 2.0-litre engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.

The SR’s bulging wheel-arch flares stretch over chromed 18-inch alloys shod with 225/40-series tyres.

The three-door is 180mm shorter than the current Accent and sits on lowered sports suspension, with MacPherson struts up front and a new semi-independent coil-sprung torsion beam rear suspension.

Big chrome exhaust outlets, rear roof shade-spoiler, projector headlights and a matt-black mesh grille complete the exterior look.

The sports theme continues inside with brushed alloy and metallic feature panel finishes, leather seats and blue-hue instrumentation.

The three-door SR is based on the next-generation Accent, one of three new Hyundais to be launched this year, the others being the Santa Fe four-wheel drive and new mid-size Elantra.

Hyundai expects the new Accent to go on sale in the second quarter, and Santa Fe and Elantra in the third quarter.

The new Elantra is tipped to have a longer wheelbase and be wider than the current car with more modern styling, a more rounded roofline and higher shoulderline.

Hyundai Australia’s new chief executive officer, Steve Yeo, said the company was "challenging some people’s perceptions on our designs" with the Sonata and just-launched Grandeur pointed to a new path for Hyundai.

Mr Yeo also flagged the prospect of hybrid Hyundais in the near future. Although he would not confirm if a hybrid Accent was available for Australia, he admitted the company was working on hybrids.

GoAuto understands the first hybrid Accents will be available in North America later this year, using proprietary Hyundai technology.

Known as Super Hybrid, the development Accent hybrids are currently being tested in Korea.

lso on the Hyundai stand were the just-launched Grandeur and dressed-to-impress Getz SXi.

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