There have been far too few truly good concept cars in the last decade. Whether this can be attributed to a proliferation of new forms of media OEMs can use to reach consumers, a decreasing importance of auto shows, or the general tightening of belts that still hasn’t eased from the last financial disaster, I’m sure each company has its own reasons. In any case, we haven’t seen the multiple left-field concepts from automakers in recent years that were quite commonplace in the 90s and early 2000s. For that reason, I’m so thankful for the Hyundai Prophecy and its return to form.
Not only is the Prophecy a swoopy four-place sedan with attractive good looks and ultra-simplified exterior curves, but it’s a sports car concept. Sports cars make the best concepts, naturally. Think back to some of the greatest concepts of all time; Ford’s GT90, Audi’s Avus, Chrysler’s ME Four-Twelve. Okay, those are more supercar than sports car, but you get my drift.
Just look at this thing. On the outside it’s oddly 1990s retro-futuristic with lots of simple curves. It’s difficult to call it purely pretty, as it’s got some complexity in the design that muddies the waters, but it’s hardly the angular disasters that rule the roads today. From the front it reminds me of the round-edged Ford Probe mixed with the proportions of the first Tesla Roadster. Taken in profile, it looks like it has the slumped roof of a Porsche Taycan. And out back it looks like a 370Z pooping out one of those pin art desk toys that “successful” people keep on their desks to make them seem whimsical. It’s got a lot going on, but not in a bad way, somehow.
Hyundai calls this new design language “Sensuous Sportiness”, and clarifies that it is inspired by cars from the 20s and 30s. The reason it looks so oddball is the juxtaposition of the hundred-year-old inspiration with modern aerodynamic propeller wheels and current-era digitally pixelated light fixtures front and rear. The more I think about it, the more I like it.
Inside, and I cannot stress this enough, there’s a goddamn joystick. That’s all you need to know in order to judge this as a proper throwback to the golden era of concepts. I mean, that’s legendary on the order of Mercedes’ F200 concept from 1996.
Look at that 1990s goodness.
Under its weird skin, the Prophecy operates on the same Electric Global Modular Platform as the『45』concept we saw last year, but obviously with a completely different aesthetic design. There isn’t yet any information as to what makes up this E-GMP platform, as no specs were given on the Prophecy’s drivetrain or battery rack.
I’ve always wanted to drive with a joystick. Hyundai claims this allows the interior to be much more driver focused and ergonomic than a traditional pedals and steering wheel motion. As we grow increasingly reliant on driver aides, perhaps the joystick can finally become a reality. Make it so, Hyundai.
In the meantime, thank you for bringing me back to the concept-filled joy of my youth. Keep it up.