I’ve been more impressed with Hyundai’s ideas since we saw their small-truck Santa Cruz concept at the Detroit Auto Show. Now, they’ve just shown an interesting concept at the Seoul Auto Show, called the Enduro. It’s a little hatchback on big tires, sort of like a super-sleek Lada Niva from the future, which I’m sure is a comparison they’ll hate.
The Enduro (which also happens to be the name of the best driving game for the Atari 2600) is a taut little two-door hatchback with some big-ass tires and chunky black rubber/plastic-looking fender flares. It sort of feels like someone took a Veloster and made a backyard monster truck out of it, and I regard that as a positive.
There’s a nice integrated roof rack as well, along with a clever little integrated step so you can get to all the crap you lashed up on that roof, like that couch you found. Up front, there’s the now almost ubiquitous massive fishmouth grille, but more novel is the lean, cutaway-type of air channels/inatakes that seem to be used for brake cooling, at least hypothetically.
Around the side, there’s a nice reverse-rake C-pillar that incorporates the taillights, framing the convex rear window. The wheels look like massive Osterizer blades, too. There’s some mention of kind of goofy details, too, like a steering wheel designed to resemble mountain bike handlebars or something.
Hyundai says it’s got a 2L direct-injection turbo engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and since it’s just a concept, it sounds plausible enough, so we may as well believe them.
This sort of reminds me of the somewhat risky small 4x4 vehicles that we used to see in decades past — odd and fun cars like the Suzuki X-90 and the Isuzu VehiCROSS. It’s a kind of vehicle we haven’t seen in a while, something that’s rugged and small and doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I’d love to see this sort of thing make a comeback.
So, keep going, Hyundai. Whatever you’re giving your designers — freedom, drugs, money, whatever — it’s working.