Bride of Chewbacca: Hyundai goes a little crazy trying to make its upcoming people-mover exciting.
Europeans love their MPVs (multipurpose vehicles), which we North Americans would categorize as mini-minivans. Hyundai used the 2008 Geneva auto show in March to debut its take on the segment with the six-passenger i-Mode concept, and is now showing an updated version at the 2008 Los Angeles show.
The HED-5 i-Mode concept showcases advanced materials and construction, some in partnership with suppliers Recaro, LG, and Bayer. The interior is inspired by natural forms and landscapes, as evidenced by the organic shapes on the dash, doors, and seats, as well as the earthy brown, cream, and blue color scheme. Among its more novel features are a passenger seat that swivels and pillarless doors.
The exterior features more surface detail than a wedding cake, and a skunk-stripe body panel surrounded by glass on the roof. We don’t expect most of it to make it to production, which several in attendance think isn’t such a bad thing.
The original i-Mode concept was powered by a 2.2-liter R diesel engine with sequential turbochargers that made a total of 212 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. For its North American debut, Hyundai has fitted a direct-injection version of its Theta 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine. The new powerplant has a maximum output of 286 horsepower and will be used in unnamed future Hyundai products.
Reports out of Europe say the concept rides on a modified version of the platform used for the i30 in Europe, which will be sold as the Elantra Touring in the U.S. Hyundai now says that a vehicle based on the HED-5 concept will make it to the States, though timing is still unknown.
The name HED-5 denotes the fact that it is the fifth in a series of vehicles from Hyundai’s European design studio. The HED-4, also known as the QarmaQ concept, is a crossover made of composites and thermoplastics that first bowed at the 2007 Geneva show. The QarmaQ’s futuristic design is said to telegraph cues for the next-generation Tucson.
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