Concept Cars

These nine concept cars shaped Hyundai's modern lineup

Hyundai, like every other automaker, uses concept cars to showcase what is next for their brand.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Concept cars give their audience a peek at what is to come from a brand, whether it's design, tech, materials, or powertrain innovation. They often push the boundaries between what is seen as allowable for today and what may be possible in the future. A trained eye can look past the glitz and glam to see what the true story of a concept car is.

Hyundai has presented a number of concepts in the last decade, all of which have shaped the automaker's current lineup. Scroll down to see them all.

2012 – i-oniq

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Ioniq just received a major refresh for the 2020 model year, three years after it debuted. But, it was at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show where the car got its first public nod.

There, Hyundai debuted the i-oniq concept, an electric sport hatchback with a range-extending petrol engine. Designed and developed at Hyundai's European R&D Center, it was the first car to feature the company's signature Cascading Grille.

The concept featured dynamic proportions that gave the car a functional shape rather than the looks of the Toyota Prius, which looks to be shaped by a wind tunnel rather than a vehicle sculptor.

2014 – Intrado

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Mobility became a catchy word in the mid-2010s with Ford leading the way. The Intrado Concept, unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, showed that Hyundai was headed toward mobility solutions as well. In their words, the concept, "demonstrated Hyundai's belief that advanced vehicle technologies and intelligent design can combine to engage more effectively with the driver and passengers."

It was this concept that shaped the Hyundai Kona, which has gone on to win accolades and awards worldwide for its numerous features and right-sized design.

2015 - Santa Cruz

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

It's coming! The Hyundai Santa Cruz was the belle of the ball in 2015, introducing a truck-like figure to the Hyundai concept lineup and giving brand enthusiasts something to dream about. Now, five years one, the model is nearly ready for production.

Spy photography of the Santa Cruz, which Hyundai says is a utility vehicle rather than a truck, indicates that it takes design nods from both the Santa Cruz and the "Sensuous Sportiness" aesthetic with triangle-shaped designs on the doors and a nose heavily influenced by the Palisade.

2016 – RN30

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

With the RN30, a nod was given to the notion that Hyundai's future was about to get going - quickly. Revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the concept was race-inspired and based on the i30 (in the U.S. it's the Elantra GT), a collaborative effort between Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center, and Hyundai Motor's Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division.

The model was seen as a precursor to the i30 N and the i30 N TCR but also signaled that models like the Veloster N, Sonata N Line, and Elantra N Line, were possible.

2017 – FE Fuel Cell

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

In the past 18 months, Hyundai has greatly stepped up its messaging regarding the benefits of fuel cell technology, but the company's efforts to show a hydrogen-powered future extend back even further. The FE Fuel Cell Concept was shown at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, reconfirming Hyundai's commitment to the powertrain technology.

The Hyundai Nexo was unveiled a few months after the concept and now Hyundai is saying that future hydrogen-powered models are on their way, including a Genesis SUV.

2018 – Le Fil Rouge

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

At the 2018 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai gave a nod to its past while hinting at the future with the Le Fil Rouge concept. The model's design was influenced by the 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe Concept and showed off a new era of design, which we know today as "Sensuous Sportiness".

This design aesthetic was first fully realized on the redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata and has recently been translated to the 2021 Hyundai Elantra.

2019 – "45"

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Like Le Fil Rouge, the 45 concept was a modern interpretation of the Hyundai Pony Concept, only this time it was focused on powertrain technology.

Hyundai says that the car's diamond silhouette foreshadows the design direction of future electric vehicles the company will produce while holding fast to the "Sensuous Sportiness" design identity.

2019 – Vision T

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

In late 2019, Hyundai committed to adding 13 alternatively fueled products by 2022 including six sedans and seven SUVs. The Vision T Plug-in Hybrid SUV Concept gave a hint at things to come, possibly in the next-generation Tucson.

2020 – Prophecy

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Gone are the harsh edges of the 45, replaced in this EV concept by the bulbous bodied Prophecy concept. The model missed its scheduled debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show due to the coronavirus outbreak but Hyundai went ahead and revealed images of it for the world to see.

Hyundai says that the car's design gives a nod to the large models of the 1920s and 30s but brings forward digital technology of today.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Acura is revealing its next-gen MDX slowly, first with this, the MDX Prototype.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The MDX is the best-selling Acura in the lineup. It's also America's best-selling luxury three-row SUV. But that's not good enough.

Acura is redesigning the MDX and as it prepares to enter a fourth generation, a prototype of the new SUV will be shown on October 14. This looks to follow the same pattern as the TLX launch, which saw a prototype revealed about six months before the true model debut, just after the PMC Edition was put on sale.

Acura says that the next-gen MDX will usher in " new levels of Acura design, performance, technology and craftsmanship, assuming the mantle as the brand's new flagship model". And that's a good thing. The brand revolution that started with the RDX and continued with the TLX looks to go even further in a bid to re-establish Acura on its premium model throne.

The ofirst MDX was the industry's first three-row SUV based on a unibody platform, a design that has since gone mainstream as crossovers and lifestyle SUVs overrun a vehicle type that started as rugged off-roaders and family trucksters. Since it's debut, the MDX has garnered praise from buyers and critics alike including winning the 2001 North American Truck of the Year and 2001 Motor Trend SUV of the Year awards.

Over the past two decades, cumulative sales have surpassed 1 million units, securing MDX's place as the best-selling Acura model, accounting for roughly one-third of the brand's U.S. sales since its launch.

"We're accelerating Acura's commitment to Precision Crafted Performance and this fourth-generation MDX is the most ambitious and consequential redesign of an Acura core model in our history," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. "This all-new MDX will take us into new territory in terms of performance, prestige and emotional appeal."

The teaser image (above) and video (below) that were released today highlight the sharply sculpted beltline running the perimeter of the wider, lower and longer MDX, connecting the Jewel Eye LED headlights at the front to the Chicane LED taillights in the rear.

The MDX Prototype pulls heavily from the RDX and TLX with design nods to each. Still, it's unmistakably a three-row SUV. Though we don't know for sure what's under the hood, expect the MDX to have more a dynamic driving style when it debuts, following in the vein of the RDX and TLX redesigns.

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The material Jaguar Land Rover is adding to its vehicle interiors is called Econyl.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

As automaker work toward more sustainable business practices, Jaguar Land Rover is working with Econyl nylon to develop high-quality interiors made from ocean and landfill waste. The automaker promises that next-generation Jaguar and Land Rover models will feature floor mats and trims made with Econyl fiber from recycled industrial plastic, fabric offcuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as 'ghost nets'.

Econyl nylon was created by Aquafil. It's already been sued in the high-end fashion, sportswear, and luxury watch industries to create handbags, backpacks, swimwear, and watch straps. In one year, the company recycles as much as 40,000 tons of waste, making it in to the nylon. For every 10,000 tonnes of Econyl raw material produced, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved and 65,100 tons of carbon emissions equivalent are avoided.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior Jaguar Land Rover has committed to including more sustainable materials in its interiors.Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Turning to sustainable materials isn't a new idea. For years Ford has been incorporating all manner of materials into its vehicles including tomatoes, soy, and coffee chaff from McDonald's. General Motors recently showcased a breakdown of how recycled materials are used inside their automobiles.

Bentley's facility in Crewe, England is collecting rainwater for use in its office building allowing the company to not have to draw from the local water system.

Each year automakers release their sustainability report, which champions all the ways that the company is moving forward in its resources conservation plans. This year's GM report sets forth numerous goals. Among them, by 2030, 50 percent of the parts used in General Motors vehicles will be made with sustainable materials. Additionally, GM's Spring Hill plant in Tennessee will run solely on solar power by 2022.

FCA made big strides in 2019. Their 2020 sustainability report touted their 40 percent reduction in water use and 27 percent carbon footprint reduction per vehicle.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

This week Polestar announced that its Precept concept vehicle is headed into production. When the Precept debuted a few months ago, the company bragged about its sustainable interior.

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