The Chinese car market is absolutely fascinating when you take into consideration the sheer number of new models launched each year. One of the many local players is Beijing Hyundai Motor Co, a 50:50 joint venture created by Hyundai and BAIC back in 2002. It sells no fewer than five sedans, a minivan, and several crossovers like the Tucson and the larger Santa Fe. One of the others is the aging ix35, which this new Mufasa is believed to replace.
Ahead of its public appearance at Auto Shanghai 2023 next week, the compact model has been revealed in official images. Beijing Hyundai published the adjacent photos on the Chinese social media network Weibo, revealing an edgy design akin to the Tucson. The intricate vertical headlights and cylindrical taillights set it apart from the widely known compact crossover.
Although technical specifications have yet to be revealed by Hyundai, these were indirectly announced when the Mufasa was homologated by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The MIIT website showed the compact crossover is going to be 176.1 inches (4475 millimeters) long, 72.8 in (1850 mm) wide, and 65.5 in (1665 mm) tall, so similar to the short-wheelbase Tucson sold in Europe. It measures 105.5 in (2680 mm) between the axles and has a curb weight of 3,227 pounds (1,464 kilograms).
The same document revealed Hyundai intends to install an old-school 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine with 160 horsepower channeled exclusively to the front wheels. Local media reports the Mufasa will also be offered with a hybrid setup later on, possibly with a 48V mild-hybrid configuration, but nothing is official at this point.
Following its public appearance at Auto Shanghai, the Mufasa will go on sale in China shortly thereafter. There’s no word about bringing the model to other markets. As far as the model’s name is concerned, it takes after Simba’s father from Disney’s 1994 animated classic, The Lion King.
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