Hyundai’s stunning 45, which debuted at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show and pays homage to the brand’s first-ever concept car from 1974, is more than just a concept, Auto Express can reveal. Rather than remain as a super-stylish hatchback, the 45 is set to grow into Hyundai’s next SUV.
The new model is set to be the first car to be based on Hyundai’s new scalable electric car platform, first revealed by Auto Express in March. That platform will be used for a new range of B- and C-segment cars with the 45-based SUV set to be the first. The platform is also set to be used by sister brands Kia and Genesis.
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The 45 concept is rumoured to be around 80 per cent close to the production car, although the proportions will obviously change to reflect the new model’s SUV status. The minimalist lines and crisp surfacing is set to be carried forward, as is some of the thinking for the interior.
Hyundai’s Senior Vice President and head of the Hyundai design centre, SangYup Lee, took us for an exclusive look around the 45 concept and explained some of the thinking behind the look of the car.
“Some people have said that Hyundai doesn’t have much in the way of history, but there is a great story there,” Lee told us. “We wanted to respect our past, while taking the next step to the future.”
Lee also revealed how the Pony concept of 1975, designed by Giugiaro, has inspired the design with its angular shape, minimalist lines and details such as the twin squared headlights. Even the instrument binnacle from the original has influenced the unit featuring the latest flat screen tech in the 45 concept.
“Today’s digital hi-tech approach can alienate some people,” Lee told us, “so we wanted to add in some warmth, a bit of an analogue feeling to make it more approachable.”
“Even the logos on the car and the light patterns give a touch of the 70s, and inside we wanted to produce a living room concept.”
Blinds in the ceiling produce a lined pattern that adds to the warmth of the interior, while Lee explained more about the approach to the interior. “We have a flat floor because of the electric car platform and we wanted to offer meaningful interior space. We’ve used sustainable materials like recycled wood and wool to really show warmth – even the seats are soft on this model.”
The interior is lit by reflecting light off the soft surfaces, while material is used across the dashboard and includes touch sensitive pads for some of the controls, all lit from underneath. And Lee revealed that Hyundai is looking to use this recycled wool in production cars. “We’re working very hard on it,” he said. “There are problems with airbags and the lighting, but we’re seeing if we can make it work.”
Although Lee was coy about where the concept might lead, we understand that the all-electric SUV based around the 45 could be seen as early as next year and go on sale in 2021.
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