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Hyundai targets the Nissan Juke with new baby SUV

New small SUV to be based on the Hyundai i20, and will use engines from the new i30 when it goes on sale in 2017

Hyundai is planning to bolster its SUV line-up by adding a new rival for the Nissan Juke to its range within the next 18 months, Auto Express can reveal - and our spy photographers have already caught it testing on the road.

The Korean manufacturer has enjoyed its strongest sales performance in European history with the Tucson SUV, which has become the company’s fastest-selling model in the region, including the UK, since it was launched a year ago.

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Now senior sources have confirmed that the Tucson is likely to be joined in the line-up by a smaller model that will give Hyundai a proper rival for the big-selling Juke, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008.

The new car is likely to be based on the chassis of the existing i20, which is only two years into its life. It will probably get the latest engines from the new i30, though – a mix of turbocharged 1.0 three-cylinder and 1.4 four-cylinder petrol motors, and a 1.6 diesel offered in at least two states of tune.

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Our exclusive image shows how the new model could take some cues from 2014’s Intrado concept, which Hyundai used to show how it could use its design language on a baby SUV. It could arrive as part of the main i20 range’s facelift, which is likely to adopt the ‘curved hexagon’ grille that has been introduced on the new i30 and the revised i10.

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The i20 SUV is likely to be introduced before the end of 2017. It will slot into the range beside Hyundai’s current small crossover, the ix20 mini-MPV, which was facelifted only last year. However, given the tumbling demand for vehicles with a conventional seating height but a taller roofline, it is conceivable that the ix20 will be dropped altogether from selected markets, including the UK, at the end of the current car’s life.

The naming convention for the new model has yet to be determined, but Hyundai has recently moved to trademark a string of potential badges. It applied earlier this month to register ix45, ix55, ix15, ix25 and ix30.

The move should not be seen as a sign that all of these vehicles are going to appear soon. In any case, Hyundai in the UK has moved towards non-numerical names for its SUVs, such as Tucson.

However, it’s a clear indicator that Hyundai sees plenty of scope for adding additional ‘ix’ models (the prefix used by the firm on crossovers in some regions of the world) in the coming years.

What do you think of Hyundai's new baby SUV? Let us know below...

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