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New York show: Hyundai’s SUV future

California dreaming: Hyundai's Nuvis SUV concept was styled in the US.

Hyundai previews next-generation crossover with Nuvis SUV concept at New York

Hyundai logo14 Apr 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

HYUNDAI previewed the design direction of its next-generation of crossover vehicles at last week’s New York Auto Show, via the Nuvis SUV concept.

Providing a stark contrast to the dearth of futuristic concepts from the Big Three US car-makers at the Big Apple’s annual auto extravaganza, the four-seater Nuvis show car – the 11th concept to emerge from Hyundai’s US design centre in California – features massive 22-inch wheels and gullwing doors.

It also takes many of the design cues first seen on the Genesis coupe and – highlighting the South Korean maker’s pledge to lead all brands in US fuel economy by 2015 – employs Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive system.

1 center image Mated to breakthrough lithium polymer battery technology, which is more durable and space-efficient than nickel-metal hydride batteries, Hyundai’s hybrid drive system was first shown at last year’s Los Angeles motor show and is expected to debut in next year’s redesigned Sonata.

Mated to an ‘optimised’ 2.4-litre Theta II petrol engine, the system comprises a 30kW/205Nm electric motor, a regenerative braking system, an integrated starter generator that enables the engine to turn off at stops and restart automatically under acceleration, a lithium polymer battery package with 5.3Ah of capacity at 270 volts, a six-speed automatic transmission with an electric oil pump, an electric air conditioning compressor and a hybrid power control unit.

Rather than featuring traditional switchgear, the Nuvis’ cabin relies almost exclusively on iPhone-style touch-sensitive surfaces, with Methode Electronics TouchSense technology linking the occupants of all four business-class seats. Blue ambient lighting is cast across the exterior, which features a full-length brushed aluminium accent.

“Our goal was to create a living machine, constantly moving, that the driver and passengers could be part of,” said Hyundai design manager, John Krsteski. “There are no lines on or in this car that are standing still.” Senior Hyundai designer Andre Hudson said: “One of the coolest attributes of Nuvis is that the protective roof appears to float on top of the body through the use of hidden pillars and high-contrast glass.

“This effect starts at the headlamps and is carried all the way through to the taillights producing a tall, strong body-side and rear.”

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