► Hyundai Prophecy concept car
► New EV points to what's next
► Half Saab, half sci-fi futurefest
The Hyundai Prophecy does what it says on the tin - offers a portentious look at what's in store from the Korean brand, as it rolls out more electric cars across its range. And if they look half as good as this slinky, curvaceous fastback, we can't wait to see what's next.
Don't expect to see anything quite like the Prophecy in showrooms any time soon; it's more of an ideas showcase to give Hyundai's designers carte blanche to express their vision for the future.
It's bristling with fresh thinking, from the latest tech, ultra-compact lighting systems front and rear to new acrylic materials that allow bystanders to see the tech onboard at work.
And that shape! Half retro-Saab, half modern Porsche, it's unlike any Hyundai we've seen before.
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We'll spare you some of the marketing spin - even before the second paragraph of the press pack, taglines include 'Real Progress is in the Air, Optimistic Futurism, Sensuous Sportiness and even Progress for Humanity' - and instead focus on the facts we know about the Prophecy.
It's the latest concept car to be designed under the watch of SangYup Lee, the chief of Hyundai Global Design Center, following from 2019's equally distinctive and fresh 45 concept. There's something in the water in Korea, it seems...
Hyundai Prophecy: an aero streamliner with a difference
No mechanical details are given for the 2020 concept car, but we do know (predictably) that it's an electric car designed as rolling test lab for the future of autonomous driving. So there's no steering wheel in the futuristic cabin - its place is taken by a pair of joysticks either side of the driver's seat (see below).
No word yet on exactly how the controls work, but we know they have integrated buttons for that full on Sega Rally experience and Hyundai claims the lack of a wheel makes the Prophecy safer in the event of an accident. It also means that the interior can be reconfigured in Relax mode, where the cabin morphs into the now-familiar lounge milieu, with the dashboard swivelling to become a giant infotainment screen.
Note also the air intakes at the bottom of each door, feeding purified air into the cabin to better look after occupants' wellbeing in busy urban environments. Ditto the wool-based carpets and nature-inspired interior lighting schemes. A trip in this would be more like a trip down the spa than a drive in a contemporary i30.
What's the car's import? Over to Hyundai: 'The name Prophecy reflects the concept’s purpose, as it signifies a bright future for both Hyundai’s designs as well as innovative mobility solutions for the EV customers of tomorrow.'
Here's hoping a dash of its welcome style could imbue the next generation of Hyundais with some more visual interest. The brand has made huge strides to normalise its designs to the point at which they're effortless Euro clones; if it can now write a new chapter where it imposes its own distinctive design values, with market-leading EV and hybrid powertrain options, it's going to be on to a winner.
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