We’ve actually already written a fair amount about Genesis’ little EV concept car, the Mint, but I’ve just been scrutinizing it in person, and I felt I owed it to you to let you know how it made me feel, deep inside. In case you’re hangliding or scrubbing up before performing surgery and you just need to know fast, I can tell you: it’s good. Especially in our SUV-saturated universe, this thing is a breath of fresh, minty air.
As a reminder, the Mint concept imagines a city-friendly EV commuter car, much like Mini is trying to do. It’s got a parcel shelf and rear scissor doors in lieu of a traditional hatch, but keeps a compact size for easy parking.
In person, the size and proportions feel just right; it’s small, absolutely, but it doesn’t feel shrunken or cramped. It feels like it’s just the size it needs to be.
The proportions are great, with hardly any overhangs at all. It has the same kind of ready-to-go stance that an old Mini has, even though the overall design is radically different. That section behind the door and over the rear wheel, under the C-pillar, flips up for luggage area access, on both sides of the car, something that makes a lot of sense for a car that is likely to be loaded while parallel parked on a city street.
There’s a strong design motif with the moire-pattern linear details, which you can see in the wheels and lower side venting and in the interior details.
Speaking of the interior, there’s a bench seat inside, which is a fun throwback, and I was told it cants at an angle when the driver opens the door to make it easier to get in. It seems like that would make it hard for the passenger to get in, though, and the Hyundai/Genesis PR rep I was talking to admitted as much, but didn’t say they had an answer.
I’m also quite taken by Genesis’ fearless decision to design a car that doesn’t look like it wants to murder you. Look at the Mint’s face here:
It’s got a little mouth, and it’s smiling. Because it’s happy to be here. Because it wants to drive with you. Unlike every other (non-retro inspired) car on the fucking market today, I don’t feel like it hates me and wishes I was dead, finally. I’m confident enough that I would be happy to drive a friendly car.
I think I’m taken by this little concept because it reminds me of what Nissan was once doing back in a more daring, glorious age of Nissan: the early 1990s. The Mint feels like a modern take on the old Pike Factory cars, specifically the Nissan Figaro.
The Figaro was quite minty as well, which may be why I’m making this connection in part, but it’s quite similar, conceptually: a small but usable small car with a massive emphasis on style and charm. If you’re going to have a small city car to putt around in, why shouldn’t it be charming as all hell?
Genesis took a risk by pitching a small concept in this SUV-dominated age. The described platform—the soon-to-be ubiquitous rear-axle electric motor, floor packed with batteries—lends it self very well to designs like these.
If there’s even a possibility of the sort of mentality that brought the world the Pike Factory cars re-emerging in our shitshow of a current reality, then I’m all for it. If Genesis is the company that does it, fantastic. Have at it.
Just consider a cheaper Hyundai version for the masses, please.