► Angular concept celebrates the 1974 Hyundai Pony?
► Lounge-inspired cabin packed with autonomous tech
► Set for production now
Hyundai's 45 concept car proved to be a hit at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, and it's easy to see why. Based on the brand's 1974 Pony Coupe Concept – the car that would go on to become its first-ever volume-produced model – the 45 takes a leaf out of the Honda e playbook. Its design puts it firmly in the retromodern mold we're seeing electric cars in more and more.
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At the time, Hyundai said it was more of styling exercise than a production car – but new spy shots of the EV testing suggest it might make it to the road after all.
Our spy photographers have snapped the EV out and about a few times now – and with minimal camo. The lack of disguise suggests a car just as stylish as the one we saw on the Frankfurt show floor. The shape of the front and rear lights – as well as the crease along the side of the EV – imply all the main cues have made it to the production car intact.
However, we do expect the interior to change. The concept car was a lounge-inspired affair, and one that pointed firmly into an autonomous future. We think Hyundai will be giving drivers a more conventional – but likely techy – cabin, when the 45 does indeed hit the road.
More about the concept…
Though teaser images gave the impression of a hatchback, the Concept 45 is more akin to a crossover with its vast wheels, pronounced wheelarches and high windowline. The fastback shape harks back to the Pony Coupe Concept, as do the car’s sharp angles and quad headlight graphics.
Hyundai says that the 45 name not only harks back to the 45 years since the Pony, but the 45-degree angles at the front and rear, giving it a diamond-shaped profile.
It’s all part of the brand’s vomit-inducingly named ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design language, all aimed at producing a sleek and instantly recognisable set of design details to characterise future Hyundais.
What’s under the skin?
This isn’t a production model so Hyundai’s under no pressure to make realistic claims about its underpinnings. However, as is in vogue, it’s an all-electric powertrain riding on a ‘skateboard’ chassis that positions the batteries low in the body for greater stability.
The real benefit, though, is that it gives a totally flat floor, allowing Hyundai to outfit the interior as a ‘living space’ – as befits the 45’s nature as a fully autonomous vehicle.
Twin sliding doors open opposed to each other to leave plenty of space to clamber in, and once inside there’s an ‘inviting fusion of wood, fabric and leather’ plus a domestic-style carpet. Front seats swivel to face the rear for a more convivial environment, and if the driver wishes to actually drive they’ll be presented with information via an ultra-wide ‘projection beam’ screen setup.
Any other fun features?
The 45 is packed with smart little touches that may make it to production on other Hyundai models in future. The side mirrors have been replaced by cameras, with the lenses rotating past a brush to ensure they’re kept clean at all times.
A light bar on the door sill shows state of charge before the driver even steps into the vehicle, while the car’s seats swivel towards occupants to make ingress and egress easier. Light and space has been considered throughout, with a bright headlining and transparent door bins.
Will it ever see production?
Unlikely. But features of the concept could make their way onto production models, and the design is likely to influence future Hyundais.
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