We really do need to start taking the Koreans seriously (if we weren’t already) when it comes to cars. They are moving very rapidly up the ladder and if European car makers, never mind the Americans, aren’t careful there’s going to be another sea-change to rival the one that Japan made a few decades ago. And one to keep watching is definitely Hyundai.
The warning sign have been there for a long time. The Hyundai Coupe has been a peach of a car; able, fun and very competitively priced. But the current wave of European designed Hyundais like the i20 are really making people sit up and take notice, and the next generation Tucson/i35, as previewed by the Hyundai HED concept recently, should send real warning signs of Hyundai’s intentions and abilities.
But now we have the Hyundai Nuvis Concept, which was unveiled today in New York, which will take Hyundai another step up the ladder in to premium car territory. Looking like a next generation BMW X6, the Nuvis is all swooping lines and synergy. True, the big gullwing doors, big wheels and flowing-water inspired theme will never make it to production, but the overall shape and design cues will. And this is a fully functioning concept, with Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive technology which couples a 2.4 litre petrol engine with an electric motor. It also has regenerative braking and stop/start built in, so it’s not only good looking it has strong eco-credentials too.
Hyundai say this is just a hint of a possible future crossover. Don’t believe a word of it. Those ambitious, and very able Koreans will have this showroom ready by next year, and frighten the pants off a lot of established European car makers.