Why is Hyundai India calling the Ioniq 5 an SUV? | The Financial Express

Why is Hyundai India calling the Ioniq 5 an SUV?

In global markets, the car is called a crossover

hyndai, hyndai india
In the traditional sense, the Ioniq 5 isn’t an SUV, but the definition of the term ‘SUV’ is changing.

Globally, the Ioniq 5 electric car is marketed as a CUV (crossover utility vehicle). But when it was launched last week at the Auto Expo, Hyundai India called it an SUV (sport utility vehicle).

So, what’s in a name?

CUV: Also called a crossover, a CUV blends the styling of an SUV with that of a hatchback car. CUVs are almost always monocoque (chassis is integral with the body), as opposed to SUVs that have traditionally been body-on-frame (body is mounted on a chassis) vehicles.

CUVs borrow certain features from SUVs, such as a larger cabin (compared to a hatchback), and higher seating position and ground clearance. Some of these have a light off-road capability as well.

CUVs also borrow the best from hatchbacks, such as nimble handling, lightweight design and better fuel economy (compared to SUVs).

Also read: Citroen India partners with Jio BP to enhance EV infrastructure

SUV: It’s a rugged vehicle (like Mahindra Thar or Toyota Fortuner) equipped with four-wheel drive, heavy towing capacity and is usually larger in size than most hatchbacks. Some SUVs also have cargo space (like Toyota Hilux). Most SUVs have a rugged, butch appearance.

Is the Ioniq 5 an SUV?

In the traditional sense, the Ioniq 5 isn’t an SUV, but the definition of the term ‘SUV’ is changing. Minchul Koo, head, Asia Pacific, Hyundai Design, told FE that ruggedness need not be displayed. “In many markets, including India, rugged designs are associated with SUVs. There is nothing wrong in that. But I believe the definition of the term ‘SUV’ is changing. The Ioniq 5, for instance, need not look rugged, even though it is as rugged as the most rugged SUVs in the world,” he said. “It’s got a very precise and clean design, and yet it’s an SUV.”

An automotive analyst, who didn’t wish to be named, said that Hyundai India simply wants to ride the SUV wave, and that’s why it’s calling a crossover car as an SUV. “The sales share of SUVs is rising in India. Carmakers are calling even their raised hatchback cars as SUVs,” he said. “Calling the Ioniq 5 an SUV in India—when the company itself calls it as a crossover across the world—is a marketing masterstroke.”

Hyundai look versus family look

Beyond the SUV versus CUV debate, the Ioniq 5 is unique because it doesn’t look like any existing Hyundai vehicle. Most of its cars—from the Verna to the i20—have a very fluidic design, but the Ioniq 5 looks a bit like Hyundai Pony (a car the company sold from 1975-90).

Also read: Innovations in EV Industry in India

Koo said that last decade’s Fluidic Sculpture design language of Hyundai was more about ‘family look’. For instance, a Verna and an Elantra had a lot of design similarities—one could call the Verna younger sister of the Elantra.

But the new design philosophy, called Sensuous Sportiness, focuses on ‘Hyundai look’.

“The focus is on usability, functionality, but also a very beautiful design,” Koo said. “So, going forward, every Hyundai car will look different, and yet people would be able to figure out from a distance that it’s a Hyundai.”

The Ioniq 5, for instance, looks vastly different from the Ioniq 6. And both look vastly different from the forthcoming Ioniq 7. “These three look completely different, and yet all three embody what we called as ‘Hyundai look’,” Koo said.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

First published on: 16-01-2023 at 02:40 IST