Hyundai will be giving the large crossover segment another go, as confirmed by prototypes for the automaker’s latest contender, which was spotted outside its new Nürburgring development center (which is also under construction) located just outside the famous German race track. The new vehicle will serve as the replacement for the slow-selling Veracruz, which at the time of its launch was touted as being more premium than your average Hyundai. This time around it appears Hyundai has even grander ambitions.
The prototype seen here is for a large crossover with third-row seats. It looks nearly complete, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the vehicle launch as early as next year, which would see it billed a 2014 model.
Many of its details are masked by camouflage gear though we can see an imposing slatted grille similar to the one on the Hyundai Equus. At the rear, the exhaust outlet design also matches the one on the Hyundai flagship sedan, with two angular tips integrated into the rear diffuser.
Expect the overall look to be reminiscent of the design of the new 2013 Sante Fe
, a look Hyundai likes to call “Storm Edge” and described as an evolution of the previous “Fluidic Design” theme but with some sharper and more pronounced creases.
Our photographer also managed to scoop a photo of the new vehicle’s interior, which features a premium design including what appears to be piano black trim. This being a prototype, we suspect the interior will be further refined before next year’s expected launch.
It’s too early to determine the engine lineup Hyundai is planning, though if the vehicle is based on the premium rear-wheel drive architecture of the Genesis and Equus models, which we’re expecting, than we’re likely to see a base 3.8-liter V-6 and optional 5.0-liter V-8 offered. An eight-speed automatic will likely be standard, as should a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system.
Hyundai has confirmed the Veracruz nameplate won’t be renewed, so we’re expecting a new name for the vehicle when it finally lands. In other markets it will likely continue with the ix55 badge, which was previously used on versions of the Veracruz. Vehicles Hyundai will be targeting with its new crossover are likely to be the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave, and possibly even the Infiniti JX and Audi Q7.