What was shown as the Concept RB at Moscow's International Motor Show has become the Hyundai Solaris, a re-nosed Accent [Verna in South Korea] for our Cold War counterparts. Starting in January, the Solaris will be Hyundai's first model to be assembled at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Rus plant.
The Solaris name comes from a competition held earlier this year. According to Hyundai, "Solaris", derived from the Latin Sol, "implies Hyundai Motor's strong will to expand its business in the Russian Federation".
Major differences deemed necessary for the Russian market include a new front end with boomerang fog lights, less swoopy headlights with bi-color bezels, and a more blunt hexagonal grille area with a less-pronounced chin. Inside, both the Solaris and Accent should be about the same, but differences may include some trim colors/options.
The big South Korean auto monster says it will be making sure that Russian Solares will be prepped and ready to handle the harsh Russian environment, including as standard a rear heating duct, 4.0-liter washer fluid reservoir (with low level sensor), a 60Ah (ampere-hour) battery "for higher cold start performance", front and rear mudguards, and a set of enduro (1,500 hour) headlamps.
Optional add-ons for our deep-north Siberian readers include a wiper de-icer, heated driver/front passenger seats, heated mirrors, and an automatic "Emergency Stop Signal" that turns on should an accident occur.
Hyundai is hoping for 85,000 sales per year in Russia (including a 5-door hatchback that arrives later in 2011) once the Solaris goes on sale in 2011. Russian readers, this one goes out to you: is this a car you'd consider? And does the fact that it's Russian-built play a factor in your decision? Talk at me below.
By Phil Alex