Automotive writers at the North American Concept of the Year Awards have named the Hyundai HCD-14 as the 2013 Concept Car of the Year.
The judges were impressed with the car's size, saying that it was "big, comfortable and luxurious." They were also impressed by the common sentiment of disbelief- they were surprised that the car is a Hyundai.
The Hyundai HCD-14's design is pointing directly to Hyundai's next premium sedan. It reveals clues about the evolution of Hyundai's styling, and the technology that we can expect to see in future production cars from the Korean automaker.
The HCD-14 Genesis retains the same engine as the current model. It's a 5.0-litre Tau V8 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the car's rear wheels. What's new in the concept is a system where once the car acknowledges the driver via an optical recognition system, it fires up the engine immediately.
The car's platform features a rigid multilink front and rear suspension. It's loaded with a stability control system and electric-assist power steering, all of which can be adjusted to the preferences of the driver.
Outside, the design is fluid. As is typical of Hyundai, a brushed aluminum grill sits up front of the car which boasts a long hood, and a coupe-style low roofline. Wide exhaust outlets and sculpted taillights accent the rear. The car's wheels sport carbon fibre accenting.
Other innovations found in the HCD-14 include a system that tracks the driver's eye and hand movements, allowing the driver to perform tasks such as changing the radio station or using the navigation system through hand gestures. These visual feedback optical recognition technologies are called an "eclectic fusion of both analog and digital sources," by Hyundai. These systems allowed the automaker to reduce the bulk of the centre console and eliminate buttons and knobs, replacing many of them with a touch screen.
The end result is a very clean interior, accented with luxury detailing. There is even an iPad storage compartment in the centre console. Other improvements were made to the doors. The front are now hinged at the front, and the rear doors are now rear-hinged. This allows a much wider opening and mimics those found on recent Rolls-Royce sedans. We suspect that this feature won't make it into production models though.
Taking cues from North America's love affair with modern renditions of old muscle cars, the Hyundai HCD-14 roars due to a specially tuned ceramic-lined exhaust system. Not all new cars need to be wimpy hybrids. It seems that Hyndai is angling towards a sporty, performance oriented image.
Hyundai also won the award in 2008, for it's Genesis Coupe concept car. The Korean automaker's second win sends a strong message that the company is aiming for position in automotive design leadership.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca