New Hyundai Prophecy concept review

All-electric Hyundai Prophecy concept car previews a future where Hyundais have a more distinct look. We take a drive...

Ask Hyundai head designer Luc Donckerwolke to show you the company’s future, and he’ll point to this: the Prophecy. The concept introduces a new modular platform that will underpin a whole host of electric vehicles from both Hyundai and its sister brand Kia within the next few years. The platform is as significant to the Koreans as the MEB architecture is to the Volkswagen Group.

The concept’s grand unveiling was due to take place at March’s Geneva Motor Show, which for obvious reasons did not go ahead. But in order to take a closer look and learn more about the Prophecy, and Hyundai’s plans for it, Auto Express has been for an exclusive drive around the Nuremberg Messe, in Germany. 

The ‘suicide’ doors open gracefully, allowing easy access to the cabin, where you can find a comfortable and slightly reclined position in the driver’s seat. Instead of the expected steering wheel, all there is a dashboard that’s littered with digital displays. The dash rotates at the touch of a button, and an additional slim shelf beneath the curved screen turns upright to reveal the fully digital instruments. Yet there’s still no steering wheel. In its place are two joystick-like handles, one mounted on the door, the other on the centre console.

While crawling around the big halls and figuring out how to steer the sleek, five-metre long show car with joysticks – which makes it feel like you’re in a video game rather than a car – we can’t help but be reminded of the handles of a vacuum cleaner. Perhaps it’s one area of the Prophecy that needs a design rethink.

Two things that remain conventional, however, are the pedals for accelerating and braking. Being a priceless concept, there’s little to be gathered from how the Prophecy actually drives at the low speeds we’re limited to; what’s important here is the radical new cabin.

There’s a nice balance between old and new inside; the digital hub of displays contrasts with the lovely blue and green tartan design that features on the doors and seats. One thing you won’t notice are the double-glazed windows, which do not open. Instead the Prophecy uses an air-filtration system, pumping clean air into and around the cabin when it detects increased levels of particulates inside, even when it’s charging. Clever. 

The tartan theme is echoed in the back, where the absence of a B-pillar, the flat floor, and flush dashboard give the Prophecy a wonderfully airy feel inside. 

Distinct designs for future Hyundais

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, SangYup Lee, Hyundai Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. said; “The EV skateboard platform with the short overhang and cowl pulled forward enables us to stretch the cabin to provide more space inside,” Lee told us. “The Prophecy is a future sedan - but not a traditional type of sedan, it will have lots of space inside and more curvature so it means a lot.”

Lee also revealed that the new models would be the start of a new design philosophy in Hyundai that would avoid the ‘Russian Doll’ strategy employed by many other car makers.

“Our cars will be more like a chess board where you have a King, Queen, Bishop, Knight,” Lee told us. “They all look different and function differently but when they’re together they come as one team.This is what the Hyundai look is all about - diversifying our design to fulfil our customer’s lifestyle.

“People say that you have to have to default with the grille looking the same and headlights looking the same, but we want to challenge that consistency in detail. So the cars will look completely different.”

Although future Hyundai models will have different looks, Lee plans to use lighting technology to bring the brand's model family together. The Prophecy concept uses ‘pixel lamp lights’ – a series of tiny, square LED lights that can also be animated. “The family look will come from the lights,” said Lee. “We have consistency in detail - in the pixel graphic. It’s like a hidden charm that brings the consistency. The lamp is a functional part, but now the lamp is a design part - we continue our special story in the lamps."

Lee also spoke about the newly-announced collaboration between Hyundai and Los Angeles-based Canoo in co-developing a small electric vehicle platform for autonomous and urban electric vehicles. “That will be part of our design chess board,” he said.

What do you think of the Hyundai Prophecy? Let us know in the comments section below… 

Recommended

Reborn AC Cobra gets 308bhp pure-electric powertrain
AC Cobra electric S1
AC Cobra

Reborn AC Cobra gets 308bhp pure-electric powertrain

The iconic AC Cobra has gone electric, offering buyers a 0-62mph time of roughly four seconds and a maximum range of 150 miles
23 Jul 2021
New Mercedes Vision EQXX: 620-mile prototype EV teased
Mercedes EQXX
Mercedes

New Mercedes Vision EQXX: 620-mile prototype EV teased

The Mercedes Vision EQXX will be officially unveiled next year, boasting the longest range of any electric vehicle to date
23 Jul 2021
New Skoda Enyaq: the complete guide to Skoda's first bespoke electric car
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 - front static
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq: the complete guide to Skoda's first bespoke electric car

We speak to Skoda’s chief executive officer about the Enyaq and the future of electric cars for the brand
22 Jul 2021
New long-range MG 5 EV on sale now from £26,495
MG 52021 -
Electric cars

New long-range MG 5 EV on sale now from £26,495

The MG 5 EV can now be specified with a larger 61.1kWh battery pack, which boosts the estate’s maximum range to 250 miles
20 Jul 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021
New 2022 Range Rover Sport spotted testing on the road
Range Rover Sport spyshot 1
Land Rover Range Rover Sport

New 2022 Range Rover Sport spotted testing on the road

Land Rover’s replacement for the Range Rover Sport will get racier styling and an all-new electric-ready platform
20 Jul 2021