By on April 17, 2019

Genesis Motors revealed a small city car in The Big Apple this week. However, the model’s debut wasn’t part of the daily goings-on at the New York International Auto Show. Instead, the company decided to unveil the Mint Concept at Hudson Yards, ahead of the trade show’s official press days — utilizing terms like “urban icon” and “reductive versatility” while somehow expecting to be taken seriously.

“As a brand, Genesis embraces progressive design values, and the Mint Concept reinforces this commitment from a previously undiscovered perspective,” Manfred Fitzgerald, Genesis’ executive vice president, said at the vehicle’s introduction. “Mint belongs in the city, and we are proud to introduce our evolution of the ideal city car in New York.”

This is the kind of industrial-grade nonsense your author absolutely despises. However, I am elated Genesis did this, as it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to be exceptionally critical of a Korean brand. Outside of Hyundai’s Nexo, the country’s been on a hot streak lately. It’s wonderful to be able to prove that I’m still an unpleasant crankshaft without bias. 

By becoming indistinguishable from the general hardships of city life, the manufacturer claims the concept perfectly complements urban living. It’s quite small, which makes it easy to park, but Genesis seems to have intentionally forgotten to mitigate the associated shortcomings. Rather than make the Mint petite and practical, the team decided to just make it small and stylish. A parcel shelf designed for occasional use replaces a traditional trunk and can be accessed by a set of scissor-style doors that appear to serve no real purpose other than showing off.

Genesis is operating under the assumption that it’s unwise to leave items sitting around in plain view of the public, so all of the Mint’s storage solutions are temporary. While correct in its assessment of how safe it is to display your valuables, a better solution may have been to equip the model with a cargo cover. Of course, then you wouldn’t be able to see the concept’s beautiful leather upholstery.

Overall, the design is good. The three-box exterior is sculpted in a manner that feels upscale, futuristic, and also timeless. The interior is also easy on the eyes. Tasteful touches stand out due to the Mint’s minimalist take on motoring, and I really like the swiveling bench seat. But it’s all in service of something that makes very little sense.

The flat-bottom (and top) steering wheel is surrounded by six Graphic User Interface (GUI) information screens that, according to Genesis, “call attention to critical vehicle functions individually.” A seventh screen is mounted in the center of the steering wheel, displaying more pertinent vehicle information — like how fast you’re going. It’s a handsome interface, but far too small and simplistic to be useful.

Genesis estimates 200 miles per full charge and 350-KW fast charging. Considering that this vehicle is almost certainly vaporware, it’s funny to see the company go with a totally plausible range.

As a New Yorker, I have legitimate grievances with this terrible city. The subway is terrible, buses suck, and driving enjoyment is limited to very specific hours of the day. Getting around by any means other than walking is a total drag and owning a Mint is not going to change that. Anyone with enough money to buy a premium vehicle isn’t going to want a comically small one, and everyone else will simply buy a compact crossover that stands to be dented within the first week of ownership because they probably can’t afford to store it in a private garage. Genesis still doesn’t build a crossover, and now they’re offering up this masturbatory tech concept intended to excite people who probably don’t like cars in the first place? Genius!

The only chance in hell the Mint would have on the market, assuming Genesis actually wants to build it, would stem from trendy young urbanites with more money than sense. But I happen to have just enough faith in humanity to know better.

[Images: Genesis Motors]

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16 Comments on “Genesis’ Mint Concept: The Car No One Asked For?...”

  • avatar

    It’s a concept car for the sake of being a concept car, which hasn’t really been a thing since the dawn of the 2010’s, so it’s refreshing to see someone still being creative for no reason

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, scott25. Concept cars have been around for a long time – the designers thoughts are presented to get the masses thinking with the feedback giving a sense of direction. I’m still waiting for that ’54 Corvette Nomad…

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Correct me if i’m wrong ,wasn’t fmr CEO Krafchik canned because he mis read the market leaving HK without SUVs. Now they’re cranking out concept sedans/coupes.

    • 0 avatar

      No – Krafcik got axed mostly for the fuel economy fiasco.

      Enough about Genesis not having any CUVs – there are 3 on the way, w/ the 1st one due to launch (in Korea) later this year.

  • avatar

    The overall look is attractive, if I work hard to un-see those circa 2001 Boyd Coddington reject ugly wheels. Electric? Nope, GONE.

    Repurpose the general look and design language into a successor the Genesis coupe, give it a V8 with manual transmission optional and THEN Hyundai will have something.

  • avatar

    I always say that you need a master’s degree in bull$hit to understand what comes out of a PR flack’s trap!

  • avatar

    That wide and low, it makes for a gorgeous sports car. Not a city runabout. Bring it all the same.

  • avatar

    Reading this made me never want to darken the doorway of a Genesis dealer ever again: ““As a brand, Genesis embraces progressive design values, and the Mint Concept reinforces this commitment from a previously undiscovered perspective,””. I mean, seriously, that sentence actually caused me to have a headache.

    Add to it that the Mint would be ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE in the city, especially NYC. If anyone has driven in New York lately, they would know that the whole lower fascia of the Mint would be ripped off within the first block of driving due to an enormous pothole.

    How ridiculous. I have serious doubts about Genesis long term survival.

  • avatar

    While niche, this car has the potential to be quite popular simply because of its polarizing look and size.

    I’m thinking MLC (mid-life crisis) males will be a common sight in one of these.

  • avatar

    I like it. I would prefer a more coupe-like shape, and I wish Genesis designers didn’t fall into that Nissan trap of linking the roof with a black trim piece.

  • avatar

    Hyundai is a Country? Who knew!

    Proof once again that spell check should be banned and anyone pretending to write articles should be forced to (a) read and (b) think.

    I’m an unpleasant crankshaft without bias too, that phrase is a keeper (and without missed meanings). :)

  • avatar

    Contrary to the OP, think something like this would be perfect for the single professional or young (childless) couple living in the city.

    Sure, a traditional hatch/liftback would offer more utility, but luxury car buyers are often willing to trade some of that for style.

    See the RX (minus the style part) which has its liftback a lot more sloping than it needs to be (cutting into cargo space).

    200 miles in range should be more than adequate for what it will be mostly used for (driving around the city); greater range would require a larger battery pack which means more weight to lug around.

  • avatar

    Three pedals on an EV???


  • avatar

    The interior looks like recycled basketballs.

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