By on November 20, 2019

If you’re keeping track, the Vision T Plug-in Hybrid SUV Concept is the seventh design study to roll out of Hyundai’s styling studio in recent memory. Appearing Wednesday at the L.A. Auto Show, the plug-in utility vehicle has the bad timing of debuting at the same moment Toyota unveiled a plug-in crossover you’ll soon be able to buy and drive home.

Unfortunate timing aside, the concept does give us a glimpse of Hyundai’s future.

That statement goes both for styling and technology. Currently, Hyundai’s crossover lineup plays host to exactly zero hybrids, and certainly no plug-in hybrids (kudos to the Kona for offering an electric version). It’s a different story on the other side of the Atlantic, however, and the brand’s domestic lineup could soon pick up some hybridization of its own.

 

Of course, design studios are more interested in stimulating emotion through shapes, lines, and curves, and the Vision T aims to project the brand’s Sensuous Sportiness design language into the future. What does Hyundai see in the Vision T? For starters, “speed and forward motion,” as well as “a ready-for-anything dynamic character.”

 

People who’ve spied the next-generation Tucson crossover claim they see a lot of that vehicle in the Vision T, or vice versa. Indeed, the Vision T Concept, whose length splits the difference between the current-gen Tucson and the Santa Fe, may be more of a preview of an imminent production model than we think. The company has stated in the past that its next Tucson will take people aback with its styling.

hyundai

Going aggressive on the design front is now part of Hyundai’s strategy. Just look at the 2020 Sonata for proof. With this in mind, we’re forced to give the automaker’s statements re: the next Tucson more weight.

While swoopy CUVs proliferated in L.A. this year, the Vision T isn’t entirely unremarkable — you just need to look closer. For instance, that isn’t a grille; it’s a Parametric Air Shutter. And that means exactly what you think it means.

From Hyundai:

When stationary, the grille is closed and static. Once in motion, each individual cell of the grille design continues to move in a prescribed sequence, creating a truly dynamic forward demeanor. This dynamic character includes the functional effect of controlling airflow to the powertrain, optimizing aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

This writer is used to shutters being like the opposite of good children: Heard, but never seen. Besides the venetian grille and Integrated Hidden Signature Headlamp system (which starts out looking like chrome trim bits, then comes alive), the Vision T seems to be all about setting us up for a production vehicle that’s well on its way.

The next-generation Tucson debuts next year as a 2021 model.

[Images: Hyundai, Tim Healey/TTAC]

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