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New 2021 electric Hyundai 45 SUV spied for the first time

A pre-production version of Hyundai’s retro-styled all-electric SUV has been spotted undergoing development at the Nurburgring

Our spy photographers have spotted a new new electric SUV from Hyundai undergoing testing at the Nurburgring for the first time, which will be based on the 45 concept car revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The production-ready model is expected to make its debut later this year, before going on sale in 2021 as a rival for upcoming electric SUVs like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyak. 

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The 45 concept was revealed as an homage to the company’s first ever concept – the 1974 Pony Coupe. The production model will be the first car based on the Hyundai Group’s new scalable electric car platform, similar to the Volkswagen Group’s MEB system. In the coming years it will underpin a range of new EVs across the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands.

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From its unveiling, the Hyundai 45 concept was said to be a close representation of the eventual production model – and initial impressions suggest the rumours were accurate.

Naturally, some of the concept’s sharper angles have been toned down in the interest of pedestrian safety – but this mule and Hyundai’s show car share the same basic silhouette, the same tailgate spoiler, a similar radiator grille, comparable front and rear lamps and a near-identical set of alloy wheels.

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Like Kia’s upcoming all-electric coupe-SUV, the production version of the 45 will be based on the Hyundai Group’s scaleable E-GMP platform, giving it access to the same 800-volt charging tech as the Porsche Taycan, as well as IONITY’s 350kW fast-charging network. Kia is targeting a range of around 300 miles for its new EV, as well as sub-20-minute recharge times.

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At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and head of the Hyundai design centre, walked us through the 45 concept’s interior styling. Lee mentioned how the 1974 Pony Coupe inspired details such as the digital instrument binnacle, upholstery and badging, stating:

“Today’s digital hi-tech approach can alienate some people, 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.”

The 45 concept’s interior also sported a range of yesteryear designs and materials, with recycled wool floor mats, a wooden dashboard, heavy cotton upholstery and louvres for the panoramic glass roof. These were blended with modern technology, such as hidden ambient lighting and back-lit touch sensitive pads for some of the controls.

Whether or not these features will make it onto the production model remains to be seen – this early test mule is still undergoing mechanical stress-testing, so its production interior has been swapped for bucket seats and a roll cage. However, peering through the glass, we can make out a broad digital gauge cluster, which should appear on the finished product.

What do you make of the Hyundai 45? Let us know in the comments section below…

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