Hyundai is working on a new premium hatchback that will sit above the Santro. It has been codenamed AX1 and is currently on test in South Korea. It uses elements from SUVs because the people want that high seating position. The exterior also has some design elements that are derived from SUVs. It is expected to launch sometime this year. The AX1 will go against the Maruti Suzuki Ignis, Mahindra KUV100 NXT and the upcoming Tata HBX. Here, we have an early rendering of the AX1 that has been based on the spy shots.
The first thing that we notice is that the AX1 has a boxy body shape with a tall boy design. This should mean that there should be enough headroom on offer. Some of the design elements do resemble the Ignis. It also has a clamshell flat bonnet, giving it a SUV look.
Up-front, we have a split headlamp setup. The main headlamp unit is placed below while the turn indicators are placed above. We have seen this type of design language on quite a few cars now. It is used by the Hyundai Venue, Tata Safari and the Tata Harrier also. The upcoming Tata HBX will also be using a similar design language.
The headlamps are huge circular units mounted in the bumper while the LED Daytime Running Lamp is the circular surround of the headlamp itself. The upper strip located beneath the bonnet is a turn indicator. There is a huge grille that sits between both the circular headlamps. The grille will have triangular elements in it.
Coming to the side profile, we can see some newly designed alloy wheels that are dark grey in colour. The new alloy wheels will sit in boxy wheel arches. Hyundai will also use plastic cladding throughout the side profile to give an SUV look to the AX1.
There will also be roof rails and the rear door handles will sit in the C-pillar. This gives a three-door effect to the vehicle. This is not new, we have seen this on the Tata Altroz, Maruti Suzuki Swift and the upcoming Tata HBX will also use a similar design.
At the rear, there will be a split tail lamp. The upper part will be the main brake lights. There will also be circular units in the bumper. These circular lights are expected to house the turn indicators and reversing lights. It will also come with a high mounted stop lamp, shark fin antenna and a rear wiper with a washer.
The AX1 is expected to be offered with a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 83 PS of max power and 113 Nm of peak torque. There will also be a more budget-friendly 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 68 PS of max power and 96 Nm of peak torque. Both the engines will be offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 5-speed AMT. There can also be a CNG powertrain in the future and Hyundai might offer an electric variant of the AX1.