As Mercedes-Benz has quite clearly demonstrated with the unfortunate new E-Class, automotive design is in a bit of a rut, perhaps only to be salvaged by the new design freedoms of electric and hydrogen cars. And the Hyundai Prophecy concept shows that Hyundai is about to mop the floor with everyone.
Do you remember the ‘90s era of car concepts? When cars were still allowed to be low and wide, not tall and fat, and they were defined by marker sketches of broad lines playing with imaginary alien light? Focus was on hiding intakes, smoothing the front, developing sleek headlights that often looked like they could have also been pop-ups? I see all of it in the Hyundai Prophecy concept, and it warms my heart.
The “theme” for the concept is “Optimistic Futurism,” and given that I’m seeing a lot of the Tesla Roadster in the front, a little bit of Zagato in the back, and something completely new in the details of the rear-end and headlights, I think they’ve nailed it.
And the best news yet is that Hyundai has already promised the pixelated headlight effect—meant to symbolise the energy storage of the car’s batteries—will make it to the product lineup soon. The same effect is carried over into the taillights and spoiler on this car.
As with all modern concept cars, Hyundai is claiming the interior of the Prophecy has become a lifestyle space. It’s more of a lounge than a cockpit, as future autonomous technology takes the wheel out of our hands, and the benefit of the EV platform makes for a roomier space to develop a new interior format.
The interior features dual joysticks, another ‘80s-’90s throwback, removing the steering wheel for an unobstructed view ahead of the driver and opening up the pillar-to-pillar dashboard screen for entertainment when the car is in autonomous mode. The mint colour scheme is a lot to take in, perhaps a bit polarising like when people try to pretend mint-chip ice cream isn’t delicious.
While I’m not sure we’ll ever see the Prophecy go to production in its own form, Hyundai heavily hints that the name shows just how committed to this design direction they are. It prophecies the Hyundais yet to come, and they’re going to be cool as hell.