Hyundai has a new concept for the world--one plugged into the future of gas-electric hybrids.
The Nuvis concept makes its North American debut at the 2009 New York auto show today, though it's leaked all over the Web like an excited puppy. These are the first official photos, along with the surprise shot we got earlier today as Hyundai did a dry run through their press conference.
The Nuvis is a "next-generation crossover" and an expression of a design idea of a "living machine," according to the press release we were sent prior to the concept's unveiling. The large glass areas lend a "floating" feel to the roof, they say, and the details and lighting give the shape a unique flow. Then there are the gullwing doors--impractical for production, but one of those cues design studios use to call out FUTURISTIC without actually using all caps. Inside reside four "business-class seats" and matching Harveys seatbelt-sourced handbags, along with a mobile-techno linkup between the passengers. Hyundai says it's eliminated all mechanical switches in favor of the user interface on the panel. Hyundai design manager John Krsteski spoke breathlessly about it being "taller than a sedan but with rounded lines ... a layered esthetic" and much, much more design-speak that we can barely digest, much less reproduce here.
The drivetrain's the most interesting part of the package, since Hyundai says it wants to best all car manufacturers in fuel economy by 2015. The power for the Nuvis comes from a parallel hybrid system (think Prius, not Volt) coupled to a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic. The engine (think 2010 Kia Forte Koup, which we covered earlier today) teams up with the batteries and can be removed from the equation entirely on the road as the Nuvis has an EV all-electric driving mode, like the 2010 Toyota Prius. Regenerative braking helps recharge the batteries, and fuel-saving measures abound, like electric-driven air conditioning.
Could the Nuvis be a forerunner to the next-generation Hyundai Santa Fe, or something smaller? Or is it just future-think? We'll have more on the Nuvis when the press conference concludes. Stay tuned.