Should we expect a dramatic change in the way Hyundai cars are designed right now?
Hyundai has showcased the Le Fil Rouge concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. With the new concept the South Korean carmaker has given us a glimpse of its future design philosophy. Called “Sensuous Sportiness”, the new design theme will be embraced by all future Hyundai products ranging from sedans to SUVs. Hyundai says the design is defined by a harmony between four fundamental design elements in a vehicle’s design: proportion, architecture, styling and technology.
Designwise, we find the Le Fil Rouge to be easily amongst the better looking concepts ever to sport the Hyundai insignia. However, it is not dramatically different from current Hyundai designs -- and since the concept is a coupe, we can compare it to some of the current Hyundai sedans to get an idea.
The concept retains the cascading front grille and coupe-like roofline that we see on some of the latest generation Hyundai sedans like the Elantra and the Verna. However, the way the headlamp and tail lamp sections of the concept have been defined, there is certainly going to be a departure in the design of these elements in future. While the headlamps on the Le Fil Rouge concept still stretch backwards, they have sharp ends unlike the current Hyundai sedans. The concept doesn’t get clearly defined tail lamps but the rear design suggests that the tail lights will not be stretched too far on to the sides, like they are on both the Elantra and the Verna.
While it doesn’t stand out, there is a significant difference in the way the front and side character lines are drawn. Up front, on the bonnet, the character lines that extend from the A-pillars in the concept merge around the logo in the centre, which is placed on the bonnet instead of the front grille. These lines currently merge with the two top corners of the hexagonal grille of current-generation Hyundai cars. Going forward, we might see Hyundai repositioning the brand logo from the front grille on to the bonnet, which might make the newer cars look quite different from the existing ones without a massive change in the design of elements like the front grille and bumpers.
At present, Hyundai’s cars are designed to be aggressive in the way they are designed from the side, with the character line starting from the front fender and only moving upwards as it reaches the rear. On the Le Fil Rouge concept, the character line follows a gentle curve as it initially goes up and drops as it goes past the rear door. This could be another big deviation in the how the upcoming Hyundai cars will look in comparison to the cars we see these days.
Other thing that remains similar to the Fluidic design theme is that the dimensional proportions of cars will be based on the golden ratio, a mathematical ratio in design that is naturally attractive to the human eye. And as a result of that the Le Fil Rouge gets a long wheelbase, large wheel arches and short overhangs. These elements can also be found on current Hyundai cars such as the Elantra and the Verna.
Hyundai says the interior and exterior of the car are merged by the ‘Tube Architecture,’ which means the Sensuous Sportiness theme has been carried forward on the inside as well. In the Le Fil Rouge concept, the interior is divided by a central console running from the dashboard to the rear seats, which gives a premium touch to the cabin, but the possibility of it making it to the production model is very slim.
Coming to the technological part of the story, the car gets an aircraft-inspired two-way air ventilation system that blows air over the curved surfaces thanks to the Tube Architecture. While Hyundai doesn’t claim it, it could have been done to improve the air-con effectiveness inside the cabin. Trims are made up of revitalised wood and high-tech fabrics that are sculpted to give an airy feel to the cabin. While such elements are not expected to make it to production cars, it suggests that Hyundai is working to make the upcoming cars feel more spacious on the inside. For infotainment, the concept gets a panoramic display with haptic technology for intuitive controls and other vehicle functions. Hyundai might retain the infotainment system in the production-spec car considering that the carmaker is known to offer segment-above features in its cars.
On the whole, the new design philosophy from Hyundai will involve new design elements that will give the newer cars a different identity while retaining some signature elements from the current theme. We expect the cars to sport bold lines and creases but the overall design will not be loud.
Hyundai has not yet given a timeline as to when a car embodying this ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ philosophy will see the light of production. However, we expect it to happen soon considering that the Fluidic design theme has been around for more than a decade now.
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