BMW X1 and Hyundai Tucson: Who Copied Who?

Ever since the new Tucson was launched a couple of months ago, I have been drooling over it. In fact, I’ve included it in my Top 10 Geek Stuff of ’09 list. Too bad that currently, it only comes in a 2-liter gas engine variant. A CRDi variant would be more of a winner. I would choose a CRDi Tucson over a CR-V because the former wins over the latter in terms of looks, exclusivity (for now) and economy.

The Tucson is one sexy mofo. In fact, it’s sexy enough to be mistaken for a BMW! You read right, the Korean compact SUV is as hot as the compact SUV from Munich, the X1. That’s because they look oddly similar from the outside.

Here’s proof:

BMW X1 Front Quarter

2010 Hyundai Tucson Front Quarter

Not that convinced? Wait ’til you see the rear end:

BMW X1 Rear Quarter

2010 Hyundai Tucson

Like long lost siblings eh?

So who copied who? Was there any intentional imitation to begin with? Wait, I know most of you would blame the Koreans for being the copycat, but that would be an unfair accusation. Besides, as far as Manila is concerned, the Tucson was launched ahead of the X1.

In any case, we would have to agree on one thing: that the new Tucson and new X1 both have flowing yet aggressive killer looks that’s a revolution apart from their predecessors (the first gen Tucson and the first gen X3 that both look like they came from a monkey’s butt).

Special thanks to for the beautiful photos above (great site to visit for an immense library of automobile beauty shots by the way).


Parting thought: it’s one thing for these 2 cars to look similar, yet another striking thing about them is that they both seem to be losing their identity. Arguably, these next gen models seem to look more and more…Japanese! I think Hyundai can be forgiven for being aspiring, but I must say that for BMW it’s disappointing. Just take a look at all their current models: the kidney grilles are all that’s left of the “euro” identity and heritage, sort of like a German chick who has done major plastic surgery to look Asian, but left her nose unaltered. Kudos to the other European marques that retain their distinct identities up to this day: Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Land-Rover, Audi and Volkswagen, with the last two brands as stand-outs for maintaining their rich Euro look and feel.


One thought on “BMW X1 and Hyundai Tucson: Who Copied Who?

  1. Yo Gerald, this might explain some:

    “The Hyundai Tucson ix carries a lot of the design elements from Hyundai’s ix-onic concept crossover penned by Thomas Burkle, ex-BMW designer and now chief of the Korean brand’s design center in Russelheim, Germany. Burkle said he developed the Tucson ix’s sheet metal to resemble “something natural, something that wasn’t made by engineers,” keeping the Tucson’s shape in line with the Korean car maker’s Fluidic Sculpture design language.”

    Here’s a link to the concept car that inspired the Tucson:

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