Hyundai’s portfolio of sport utility vehicles has been growing. After its extremely successful Creta and Venue, the Korean brand is now lining up another SUV for market launch, and this time the target buyer is the affordable hatch buyer in the sub-compact segment who is looking for a change in body style. So, the new Exter has its work cut out: bring in a fresh lot of buyers for Hyundai while attempting to decimate competition from the likes of the Citroen C3 and the Tata Punch.

The Hyundai Exter is likely to be about 3.9 metres long and have a wheelbase of about 2.45 metres (the Venue is 2.5 metres). From the official images that were released by Hyundai earlier this week, it is clear that the Exter will attempt to maximise space utilisation both externally and in the cabin. The wheels are pushed out to the extremes, with nearly no overhangs to talk of. The front and rear fenders are extremely tightly wound to the body, giving the impression that the Exter will try to combine the ability to sport a compact footprint and yet offer good leverage in terms of space in the passenger cell. The stance is a shade awkward because of the snub-nosed front design. Yet, that upright SUV flavour is captured by the design.

Unique design

Hyundai says that the Exter will deliver a contemporary and unique take on SUV design. It does incorporate a number of signature design elements that the brand’s other models also feature. Starting from the Exter’s façade, which features a prominent-looking Parametric Front Grille, there is also a waistline crease at the top of the front and rear wheel arches that sort of highlights this SUV stance and lends it a modern appeal; both of these have been featured in other models. The Exter’s SUV design is also amplified with H-Signature LED DRLs, projector headlamps, the thematic rectangular fog-lamp housing, and sporty skid plates. The bold, unique Exter emblem just above the bonnet grille and the new 2D, matt-silver Hyundai logo on the bonnet slab’s edge add more character.The side profile design is even more upright SUV-style, with the A-pillar leading to a sharply rising roofline. The design is accentuated with what look like 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels housed in blacked-out wheel arches and side sill cladding that adds to this SUV’s outdoorsy persona. With blacked-out window frames and A and B pillars, the Exter also sports a floating roof design. This is further enhanced with an interesting extension of the parametric design into the thick C-Pillar garnish. Sporty bridge-type roof rails that start from the edge of the A-pillar and merge into the stubby roof spoiler make them another unique addition.

The rear of the Exter is likely to reflect the overall design language at the front, with tail lamps that sport a similar connected pair theme and have the same H-signature LED configuration. The tailgate will be a fairly vertical unit, with the loading lip at a comfortably low point. The rear fender will also be a compact, tight unit with an off-roader-style skid plate and a chrome-tipped exhaust pipe (for top trim). The rear glass is also likely to be a fairly large unit to ensure good visibility. The large windows, rear quarter glass, and big door mirrors will ensure that the Exter offers good visibility for the driver and lets in enough light into the cabin.

The cabin of this new sub-compact SUV is likely to extend this SUV’s youthful and modern exterior persona. A SUV-style upright dashboard that is also compact, with the gear-selector stick built into the central edge of the dash and the likelihood of a practical, usable centre console. Hyundai’s recent upgrades to its models in the affordable price range have shown a trend towards the use of better-quality materials, and the Exter could benefit from a similar choice of trim. The Hyundai Exter is being offered in five different trim options: EX, S, SX, SX (O), and SX (O) Connect. In the pictures, here is the unique colour ‘Ranger Khaki’ in a dual-tone finish. There are likely to be a range of other colours on offer.

As for powertrain options, the Hyundai Exter is being offered with three powertrains: the 1.2-litre Kappa petrol engine is now ready to handle E20 fuel and is likely to be offered in a similar state of tune as in the Grand i10 Nios and Venue. It will be available with the 5-speed manual transmission (5MT) and the Smart Auto AMT (automated manual transmission). It will also be available with the 1.2-litre bi-fuel Kappa petrol with CNG combustion engine, but will be equipped only with the 5-speed manual transmission.

More details are awaited and will likely be revealed by Hyundai during the official launch of the Exter, which is expected to be by the end of July. The Exter will be positioned just below the Venue, both in terms of size classification and price positioning. This could also mean that the Venue might need to be marginally repositioned to retain fits USP.