• Mar 5, 2008
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Hyundai HED-5 i-Mode.

Some automakers consistently trot out well-conceived, beautifully sculpted concepts to the world's auto shows. Others swing for the fences and rarely make it passed the infield. Hyundai seems to do a little of both. The Genesis duo proved that Hyundai could bring impressive ideas to life, but in the case of the i-Mode, the CUV of the future reminds us of too many concepts in the past.

The theory behind HED-5 iMode is sound: schlep four occupants to and fro, with an emphasis on isolation and comfort. However, the design remains the biggest stumbling block for this far-reaching people mover. The front end is an amalgamation of creases, bulges and oddly shaped panels, and while the profile is appealing enough, the D-pillar and rear end err on the side of design for design's sake.

LG Electronics was tapped to provide the entertainment systems, which aims to provide people on the move the digital lifestyle they've become accustomed to at home. Web access, video games, movies and mobile phone integration are all included, as well as a wireless network that allows despondent teens to avoid awkward interactions with their parents during long journeys.

While the iMode is strictly a design exercise, the 2.2-liter diesel powerplant making 212 hp and 340 lb.-ft. of torque, will be equipped on select Hyundai models in 2009. All the details are available in the press release after the jump.


PRESS RELEASE

Hyundai Unveils new concept car HED-5 "i-Mode"

• 6-seater monocab study
• High end materials and advanced eco-dynamics
• World premiere of a unique Swivel Seat concept
• Futuristic communications and entertainment system
• World debut of 2.2-liter R Diesel engine with 2-stage turbocharging

GENEVA - Mar. 6, 2008 - At the Geneva International Motor Show Hyundai Motor Co. will introduce the HED-5 "i-Mode". The focus for this year's concept car is a combination of visionary styling with future technologies and advanced eco-dynamics. It lead to a 6-seater monocab study that incorporates high-tech materials, a world premiere seating concept and state of the art communication solutions into a completely new vehicle impression. The i-Mode is an innovatively styled, eco-friendly and socially adaptive vehicle. The imposing mono-volume architecture provides an invitation to travel, explore and relax within the concept of moving cocoon.

By working together with the partners Bayer MaterialScience AG, Keiper and LG Electronics, Hyundai is continuing a cross-industry co-operation to drive new technologies faster to market. The co-operation with Bayer MaterialScience enabled the complex curvature and radical design departures of the HED-5 innovations to be implemented more quickly. The materials used are lighter and more adaptable than the metal and glass they replace. This, in combination with a light weight body construction, reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emission. Self-healing water based bodywork finishes from Bayer add to the environmentally friendly concept of the vehicle and even let minor scratches magically disappear by themselves. The i-Mode is the first vehicle to feature the new "BayVision" glazing system and Collimator headlight lenses made from Makrolon®.

Through the advanced multimedia and entertainment concept developed by LG electronics, the vehicle becomes an extension of the digital home, allowing passengers to stay connected, communicate and interact in the car and beyond. Access to the web, video games, movies or video calling are all possible through the pop-down touch-screen displays and webcams, located within the overhead console. A wireless network enables a selection of cable-free keyboards, game controllers and headphones to further personalise the entertainment experience. The advanced developments seen on the i-Mode give a dynamic indication of real possibilities for the near future.

Hyundai's engineering partner Keiper supported the i-Mode project with the exclusive world premiere of its new and unique Swivel Seat concept. The first row passenger seat cleverly rotates to face second and third row occupants. When the seat is turned in a flowing movement, the backrest converts into an equally comfortable seat surface. This is made possible by a fully concealed, power-operated kinematic system. The integrated seatbelt system – another technically advanced debut – and the adjustable headrest maximize passive safety for passengers in either sitting position. The second row bench slides rearwards to increase comfort and create a social space for communication. This seat concept intelligently avoids problems of complex or flexible seat mounting weaknesses.

The i-Mode design

Exterior

The sculptural profile is mainly characterised by the wedged body side in combination with a generous, rounded rear, giving the impression of a bow under tension. The vehicle portrays a clever combination of convex and concave surfaces directly inspired from nature. These forms have enabled a powerful, dynamic stance to be achieved devoid of aggressive sentiment. The choice of colour and level of finish provides a rich, warm radiance, with an open and almost translucent appearance.

The shoulder of the car divides the green house from a muscular body side, twisting towards the rear to increase tension and to create an intriguing highlight play. The shape of the wheel arches place emphasis on the door openings as an invitation to access the spacious interior. An innovative mechanism enables the practicability of a sliding door free of conventional inner and outer guide rails. When the doors are opened, the lack of a B post enables a feeling of space and remarkable accessibility to the generous interior.

The arched pillars and the high waist line are underlined by an elegant aluminium garnish reflecting Hyundai's playful and dynamic design language. The finish also emphasizes one of the most unusual features of the exterior, namely the negative B and C posts, combined with almond shaped quarter light windows fore and aft. The front window revives an innovative approach, rotating in a manner typical of historic vehicles of the past.

Nature is one of the key influences for the Hyundai design team and new plastic materials have enabled exploration of unconventional and irregular shapes. The fundamental architecture of the exterior shape is symbolized by an external frame embracing the protected volume within, like a shell. This concept also demonstrates the increasing awareness Hyundai has towards environmental issues. Cooperation with Bayer Material Science has seen use of the innovative glazing alternative 'Makrolon', enabling the car to have extended transparent areas, reducing weight and increasing fuel economy.

A view from above illustrates a compelling negative section running from the bonnet and continuing over the roof, creating an unusual auxiliary brake lamp, before eventually fading out in the tailgate. On the bonnet, the feature line develops through the surface where it visually connects to the dashboard design in a logical manner showing the will of the designers to create a coherent, uniform design.

The flowing form encapsulates the hexagonal shaped grill which symbolizes our new brand identity for Europe. The theme of the grill mesh is a fragmented, irregular structure which is also adopted within the boomerang shaped rear lamp, generating a lasting impression. The boomerang theme is also evident within the small floating wings of the wheel design, mimicking the dynamic whirl of a turbine.

These unique features, previously showcased on earlier Hyundai concept cars including the Genus of 2006, demonstrate the consistency in developing a coherent design language. It is through such characteristics that Hyundai aim to enhance the perceived quality and recognition of our products.


Interior

Through the innovative door opening mechanism, the interior is exposed as an inviting landscape of softly sculpted shapes and advanced technology in the form of a lounge compartment. The interior represents the concept of an encapsulated social space, an intimate environment where all occupants can enjoy safe travel in comfort, surrounded by sophisticated technology and luxurious materials.

The first step into the car reveals the elegant application of selected natural materials wrapping over sculptural seat shells and the wide, floating dashboard. Soft, silky leather in warm and natural brown tones give the interior level of comfort normally experienced in home interiors. In contrast to the natural materials, these components also partially reveal refined gloss surfaces as a modern expression of lightweight precision. The floor consists of blue felt piercing through the precision cut scratch-resistant leather tiles, emphasizing the flowing design concept whilst simulating the refined image of luxury boat deck. The felt textile provides a comfortable climate within the interior, regulating the humidity whilst complementing the first impression of an enticing, relaxing atmosphere.

Attention is immediately drawn to the seats which offer first class comfort for all occupants, combining a modern, floating look with innovative functionality. The Cognac leather cushions embrace the burgundy lacquered seat structure enabling the occupants to experience the lounge atmosphere without the limitations of a conventional automotive interior layout.

The dashboard and door trim panels are designed in a clean, unobtrusive manner to further enhance the feel of space and comfort. The simplicity of shapes and graphic symmetries convey a theme of harmony and relaxation.

The leather wrapped steering wheel invites the driver to focus for a moment on his tactile senses whilst diffused blue illumination, emanating through innovative translucent panels in the doors and dashboard instruments, complete this special atmosphere of serenity. Metallic details display an authentic appearance, highlighted with a special lacquer to echo the brilliance and depth of finish found on grand pianos.

The light beige headliner, which continues through into the pillars, provides the interior with a floodlit, almost roofless panoramic appearance. The horizontal trim colour division, between dark and light tones further emphasizes this impression, maintaining a harmonic contrast.

All-new R Diesel with Two-Stage Turbocharging

i-Mode is powered by an all-new 2.2-liter R diesel engine which, in a novel concept, first passes the intake air through a low-pressure turbocharger from where it is forced into a high-pressure turbocharger for maximum boost: 158kw (215ps) and 47kg.m of peak torque (461 Nm), an astonishing figure which endows the R Engine with a power density in excess of 70kw per liter putting Hyundai diesel technology in the same class as any leading German automaker. When its low-end torque of 30kg.m is compared with the 19kg.m of low-end torque delivered by the standard R Engine, one quickly appreciates the value of dual-stage turbocharging.
The R Engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic gearbox. Even at maximum loads, the engine does not incur fuel consumption penalties thanks to its high capacity for exhaust gas recirculation which also benefits efforts to reduce NOx emissions. The R Engine is assured of meeting future, more stringent EU-5/6 exhaust emission standards. Mass production of the R Engine is scheduled to begin with the standard (single turbocharged) version in 2009 with the dual-stage turbocharged edition arriving in the first half of 2011.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought they killed the Aztek...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Devin: I thought they killed the Aztek...

        You beat me to it! That rear profile shot is smack on in Aztek creaminess. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      It looks as if they designed the front and sides, then let their CAD design program close all the open lines at the rear. The 2.2 Diesel sounds like a good fit for the Soul.
      • 6 Years Ago
      :-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundai's biggest issue in terms of looks is that they don't have a unified design across the different models. There's no brand association with their designs, so their designs end up looking either generic or awkward (as is the case here).

      They're on the right track in terms of focusing on one engineering aspect (that is, isolation and ride comfort), so there's at least that. If they tightened up their designs a bit, added some sort of design language (that wasn't ugly and ill-proportioned), and somehow were able to maintain their current price point, they'd do really well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the sedans of Hyundai (Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Azera) do have some visual similarities. But regardless, unified design language can be overrated. If you look at Chevy, which essentially is putting the same front end on the Traverse as it is on the 2009 Aveo5, you begin to hope for a bit more variety.
        But don't get me started on Ford's three bar grille thing. AGH.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, I agree. You can very easily end up with a very homogeneous fleet -- however, I do think it can be done well (Audi and Merc [except the B class] do it well, for instance).

        I have yet to see an American car company unify their designs in a good way. I think Pontiacs and Dodges, on the whole, do not look good (and they're probably the ones who do it most consistently). I have high expectations of Ford, and if the Fiesta is any indication of their future models, then their entire brand will benefit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So it's Hyundai's "take" on the BMW X6. At least Hyundai equips it with a turbo diesel with ginormous torque figures. 4 cylinders and 340 lbs/ft of torque....not so much a "stump-puller" as a building toppler?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "R Engine is scheduled to begin with the standard (single turbocharged) version in 2009 with the dual-stage turbocharged edition arriving in the first half of 2011. "
      the 2.2-liter diesel powerplant making 212 hp and 340 lb.-ft. of torque.........
      thats sweet. think they'll ever get stateside?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I actually don't care for unified design ques. Look at Honda and now Toyota. Virtually all of their cars are ugly now. Honda is fixated on a hideous chrome block grill and Toyota likes these protruding wave wipes on every edge.

      Hyundai is in a position to steal some thunder. While this design does have a few odd areas, it's overall concept is much more interesting than anything I've seen for Toyota or Honda (US car designs aren't even close yet, the ones that are come from Europe or Australia anyways)
      • 6 Years Ago
      In the mid-ninties Hyundai had a really cool sports-convertible with liftable suspension to make it a dune buggy.
      This looks like what the production version of that car would be.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Did not think Hyundai was diesel oriented....good news that they are.
      If the HED-5 i-Mode makes it to market, I would imagine it would be very different from what we see here.
      If I remember correctly, the front end resembles some other concepts...like the Veloster...so its' styling is not so out of line if you look at some other concept designs from Hyundai....others are correct, the i-Mode will not resemble the current production models.
      Kinda like the continuity of design from one model to another..those that are instantly recognizable as a...Mercedes , for example. Guess that is boring to some.