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

Hyundai i-oniq concept car

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

Hyundai Intrado Concept Car

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

Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept

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

Hyundai RN30 concept car

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

Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept Car SUV

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

Hyundai Le Fil Rouge concept car

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"

Hyundai 45 concept car suv

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

Hyundai Vision T concept car suv

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

Prophecy Hyundai concept car

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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The 2023 Sportage Hybrid starts at around $28,000.

Kia

Kia's moving full steam ahead to an all-electric future, but the automaker's intermediate models should not be overlooked. Kia and Hyundai do hybrids as well as anyone, and the 2023 Sportage Hybrid is coming soon with new tech, updated styling, and a value-forward price. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid goes on sale in spring.

2023 Kia Sportage HybridThe Sportage Hybrid delivers up to 39 mpg.Kia

Kia offers the Sportage hybrid in three trims: The $28,505 LX, $32,205 EX, and $37,405 SX-Prestige. All models come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a 44kW electric motor that combine to produce 226 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission with a rotary shifter is standard, and all-wheel drive become standard at the EX trim. The powertrain is efficient for an SUV, delivering up to 39 mpg when paired with front-wheel drive.

Kia says the Sportage Hybrid's interior features a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for almost 25 inches of display. Standard tech is generous, and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also plenty of safety tech. Kia adds standard gear that includes:

  • Driver attention warning system
  • LED headlights
  • Lane following assist and lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warnings with cyclist detection
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Rearview monitor
  • Reverse parking distance warnings
Several optional features are available, including blind spot warnings, forward parking distance warnings, navigation-based cruise control, and more.

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The 2023 Sportage PHEV will land late this year.

Kia

The Sportage is Kia's longest running nameplate, and is entering its fifth generation with a complete redesign for 2023. With it, a new plug-in hybrid variant is on the way, and today Kia outlined specs for the new electrified SUV. The 2023 Sportage PHEV builds on the standard model with decent all-electric range and a frugal electrified powertrain.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEVThe aggressive X-Line package comes standard with all PHEV models. Kia

Two trims will be available: X-Line PHEV AWD and X-Line Prestige AWD. The Sportage PHEV will look and feel a lot like the standard Sportage, which is also all-new for 2023. The big difference here is that the PHEV comes standard with the X-Line package, which adds blacked-out exterior trim and black wheels. Kia overhauled the Sportage line in general with new boomerang LED running lights, a more prominent grille, and a new, more upscale interior.

Power for the Sportage PHEV comes from a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that makes 177 horsepower. It's paired with a 66.9-kW electric motor and a 13.8-kWh lithium polymer battery. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard, and Kia says the battery pack provides enough juice for a 32-mile all-electric range.

As they are for the standard Sportage, several advanced safety features come standard. They include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, speed limit assist, safe exit warnings, and much more. The top Prestige trim adds a navigation-based cruise control system that uses map data to adjust vehicle speed in response to changing road conditions.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEVThe Sportage PHEV shares many of its features with the standard Sportage. Kia

Kia hasn't elaborated on pricing yet, but we expect the Sportage PHEV to start in the mid-$30,000 range. It's scheduled for release in late 2022, and more information will trickle out close to that time.

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