The 671-HP Hyundai N Vision 74 Is the Coolest Concept Car in Years
Not everything has to look like a blob.
Hyundai is making other automakers look lame, design-wise, with its beautiful restomod concepts and actual road cars that wear sci-fi stylings like the Ioniq 5. The retrofuturist looks borrow heavily from the past, in a way that makes it look like we've got more to look forward to than luxury autonomous biodomes. I mean, just look at the N Vision 74.
There've been a lot of concept cars lately that are about defining brands' visions of the future and they're not positive about it. Audi thinks gigantic land yachts for the super-rich to navigate cities without interaction is the direction cars are going in. Nissan has built a mobile haven because nothing says there's an exciting life ahead of you like hoping you're one of the people who's got a car to shelter in from what's ahead. I loved the plush girliness of BMW's iVision Circular but Peter's got a point that aerodynamic smoothness is turning every EV concept into a perfectly rounded blob.
No one wants to drive a perfectly rounded blob. We've tried this before and Smart went so bankrupt it had to come back as a generic SUV. It's all good having the awareness that the future is going to be, likely, grim as heck but that's exactly the time when people want (and need) edges. This car's got 'em.
I'm a sucker for restomods generally because I love old cars, but no one is nailing the Blade Runner brief like Hyundai is, particularly with this. The future is very likely to be dystopian, but that doesn't mean it has to be uncool.
The N Vision 74 is beautiful, and it makes more than 670 hp from a funky hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. It's interesting, with plenty to talk about in the details of why it is what it is. In a way, it's a semi-restomod revision of the 1974 Hyundai Pony concept designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who went on to craft the iconic Delorean DMC-12 which has been influencing almost all of Hyundai's design choices since 2018.
Kids these days don't know how bad they have it with the world rocketing, hellbound, from worse to worse crises. I'm old enough to remember that there was some optimism (a lot, actually) in the 1980s and 1990s as nuclear threats receded and things, at least temporarily, seemed to be generally moving towards getting better. Dictatorships fell, restrictions were lifted, economies boomed and the Renault Twingo got invented.
Hyundai's concept isn't really talking to that bit. The gun metal grey and black two-door isn't the lurid plastic enthusiasm of cars as a lifestyle item—it's using ideas from just before that.
The car's sci-fi look isn't friendly. The mind-bogglingly gorgeous photoshoot that Hyundai put out with it is in the darkness and mist and pelting rain of noir sci-fi, the glowing neon seductive because it looks threatening enough to handle its surroundings. This is a car that only goes to the wrong side of town because there isn't a right one anymore.
That's dystopian, of course, but it's much more fun-sounding than dying slowly in hermetically sealed spheres. Hyundai's concept says there's a future you could be driving it into that might not completely suck. Yes, it's silly in some ways; we're all complete suckers for those pixel-type tail lights that aren't actually very innovative. But I'm ready to be a sucker if it looks this good.
Concept cars should make you want to sell your soul just to sit in them, to push the limits of cars too cool to really exist and Hyundai's doing it every time.
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