Hyundai Inster EV: new A-segment EV goes small on price, big on innovation | CAR Magazine

Hyundai Inster EV: new A-segment EV goes small on price, big on innovation

Published: 27 June 2024 Updated: 27 June 2024

► Out later this year, and based on the Casper
► Hyundai targeting around £22k starting price
► Roomy, innovative interior

This is the new Hyundai Inster, just revealed at the 2024 Busan International Mobility Show. And as expected, it’s a (mostly) new A-segment EV designed to sit at the bottom of the brand’s electric offering, just under the Ioniq 5 SUV and Ioniq 6 streamliner. 

As predicted from some of our recent spyshots, we can now confirm it uses the petrol, South Korea-only Hyundai Casper as a base, but stretches the wheelbase before filling it with an EV powertrain and some pretty innovative features. 

Hyundai Inster - front

It’ll be EV only, and Hyundai is going low; CAR understands it’ll sit at around £22 or 23k, making it one of cheapest EVs on sale. Orders books will in July or August time 2024. 

What does Inster mean?

Yes. Hyundai is calling its new A-segment EV the Inster, which isn’t short for Instagram, but is instead a mish-mash of the words ‘intimate’ and ‘innovative.’ It seems the suits in HQ knew the Casper name would not go down well, but chose a slightly more embarrassing moniker to replace it.

Hyundai Inster - rear side

And why no Ioniq? That’s easy, because it according to Hyundai suits that sub-brand is reserved for EVs that use Hyundai’s E-GMP platform. This’ll use something else. 

As a result of Hyundai’s tinkering, the Casper’s transformation to an EV has added an extra 230mm of length with 180mm of that between the rear wheels. The extra space manifests in the rear passenger area – but we’ll get to that later. 

Hyundai Inster - side

What are the specs?

The Inster will be available in a 42 kWh and Long-Range 49 kWh battery as an option. Both models will use a single motor that delivers 95bhp in the base model and 113bhp in the Long-Range car. And both versions offer 108ft lb of torque.

Hyundai is targeting a maximum range of 355km or 221 miles for the Long-Range model. And when using a 120 kW DC charger it’ll can get from 10 to 80 percent in around 30 minutes.

It’s not an E-GMP product but is also V2L capable. 

It looks unusual!

‘The design is all about having a charismatic exterior and a very functional interior, Victor Andrean, Hyundai designer told CAR. ‘Important is this very high nose and the general proportions of the car. It makes you feel like you can take it on an adventure and feels almost like a bit off-roady in a way. So it’s this duality between friendliness and ruggedness.’ 

Hyundai Inster - in the studio

Hyundai’s engineers order to acknowledge its new EV powertrain, Hyundai’s stylists kept the broad strokes of the Casper, but given the Casper the usual smattering of pixels as its other EVs. ‘When you see pixels, it’s Hyundai. It’s EV,’ Andrean tells us. 

‘You can do lots of things with it. I’s not just a nice aesthetic looking pattern, but it’s also very functional. And it also gives you the possibility to make a 3D effects and design.’

It’ll run on 15-inch steel rims with wheel covers, 15-inch alloys or 17-inch alloy wheels for the higher spec cars.

Hyundai Inster - rear

What about inside?

Despite all the style, the Inster looks a little ungainly on the outside – but it all pays off once you get in the cabin. It’s decked out in sustainable materials but almost everywhere you look, Hyundai’s engineers have crammed innovative, practical thinking. The dashboard is symmetrical, even the front row of seats feels airy, and a lack of transmission tunnel means that driver can easily exit the car from the passenger door, or the reverse. ‘You could almost say like a democratic,’ Andrean tells us as we shuffle out for the third time. 

Hyundai Inster - interior

Above you’ll find a sunroof, and elsewhere a wireless charger and 64-colour ambient lighting. All the usual tech is here too, such as ADAS and lane-keeping along with a duo of 10.25-inch screens. There’s also a good amount of open storage for quickly stowing bits and pieces. 

Hyundai Inster - interior studio

However, it’s at the rear where the extra 230mm over the Casper really pays off. Adjustable and reclinable seats make it easy to get comfy, and on the most extreme inclined setting I had more than enough room to relax behind myself. Pretty impressive for an A-segment EV, and moving towards B-segment roominess.

There are other nice touches: the front passenger seat can fold down so the driver can put their bags next to them, and it’ll also act as a footrest for rear passengers with delusions of grandeur. 

The rear door cards and front seats also feature attachments which Hyundai says will be used for a range of accessories. We’ve seen a few prototype in action; from a table to a wallet and photo album. Cool, but not essential.

Anything else? 

CAR understands that a more rugged version called the Inster Cross will follow in a few months. Although it’ll look different, it’ll have the same ride height and dimensions – just expect more adventurous-looking front and rear bumpers. The interior could have a different spin too. 

Hyunda suits hinted that there’ll also be a cheeky N-line version of the Inster to come – and we’re here for it. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes