Hyundai Shares Its Prophecy With the World

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

While prophecies have a habit of coming true in films and books, they rarely come to pass here in reality. Sadly, this will probably be the case with Hyundai’s new concept EV — appropriately named the Prophecy.

Responding to a voicemail left by the God of Electrification, Hyundai has moved on what is arguably one of the best-looking concept designs since the 1938 Phantom Corsair. Black, minimalist and extremely retro-futuristic, both cars rely almost entirely on the long lines of the respective aerodynamic shells to make an impression, with small details providing additional, attention-grabbing flourishes.

Hyundai says the timeless design was intentional, yet it still manages to adhere to the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy. Truth be told, we’ve had a difficult time finding a common theme among its latest concepts. Some are all angles ( 45 Concept) while others are all about smooth curves ( Le Fil Rouge Concept). The only real through line seems to be that they all look rather good wherever they’re displayed.

The manufacturer does claim that these cars have commonalities beyond a shared brand. The progressive head-and-tail lamp setup that debuted on the angular 45 can be found on Prophecy. The cars also share uncluttered exterior designs that allow these features to shine more brightly. The new concept takes things a bit further, however, by integrating an tastefully sized spoiler made of a transparent acrylic. The design is said to be aerodynamically sound while also allowing it to function as a third brake light.

The interior is equally impressive, albeit less realistic. Hyundai says the hypothetical model’s status as an EV permits for a open cabin environment, but the hyper-detailed mood lighting and wild structure is never going to make it to market on any mainstream model manufactured this decade. That will also be true for the joystick-based steering system — something other automakers have dabbled with before deciding it wasn’t going to usurp the wheel.

As this is a concept vehicle, there are also promises of autonomy and multiple drive modes that reconfigure the cockpit. This, again, pushes the the Prophecy into fantasy land, at least until automakers have a new set of safety regulations to work with. The necessary technology to make such a feature useful also hasn’t manifested yet. However, Hyundai’s Prophecy is all about looking toward the brand’s future and makes no promise of being in showrooms in any form — a minor tragedy, in our estimation.

Instead, the brand claims the Prophecy exists to showcase the advantages offered by Hyundai’s own electric platform as it prepares to expand its product lineup to include 44 electrified vehicles by 2025.

We’re not all that excited by a glut of EVs and know manufacturers routinely make bold promises they never manage to adhere to. So there’s little need to break out the party poppers and beer. But if the Prophecy does signal the future of the company’s ever-evolving design language (electric or otherwise), consider us intrigued.

The handsome Hyundai was supposed to appear at the Geneva Motor Show this week, but the complications stemming from the coronavirus outbreak in Europe made that impossible. That’s a shame, since candid photos often do a car better justice than the shadowy renderings issued by manufacturers over the internet. Assuming the New York Auto Show isn’t similarly cancelled on account of plague, we’re hoping to see it in person this April.

[Images: Hyundai]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 27 comments
  • HotPotato HotPotato on Mar 06, 2020

    THAT is what an electric 911 looks like. Take your Taycan and shove it, Porsche, Hyundai has done the job right.

    • RHD RHD on Mar 06, 2020

      It's a Panamera ripoff, I mean, tribute. From above it looks like an electric shaver, or maybe an oversized hand-held stun gun. So there is truth in the old saying, "there's nothing new under the sun".

  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Mar 08, 2020

    About 14 months ago I was about ready to pull the trigger on a Golf R. I'm in my early 50s and never even considered the Type R entirely because of it's over-the-top looks. I was cross-shopping the Golf R against the GTI simply because the R was waaaaaay more car than I'd need. The problem with the GTI was that the only ones I could find were the Rabbit edition and all of those were in Cornflower Blue, which was still too over-the-top for me. Then the car gods threw me a gift with the GLI revealed at the Chicago Auto Show. I bought the first black one that came off the truck. I've had it about 49 weeks now and the honeymoon still isn't over. Once spring hits and I get the steelies and winter tires off I'm expecting that'll only prolong the honeymoon. I did go and look at a Civic Si and I found that even that was too much for me. (A few months ago I came up behind a while Type R on the highway. The owner had put massive aftermarket mud flaps on it. If you're wondering, yes, you can make the Type R even uglier.)

  • ToolGuy I am slashing my food budget by 1%.
  • ToolGuy TG grows skeptical about his government protecting him from bad decisions.
  • Calrson Fan Jeff - Agree with what you said. I think currently an EV pick-up could work in a commercial/fleet application. As someone on this site stated, w/current tech. battery vehicles just do not scale well. EBFlex - No one wanted to hate the Cyber Truck more than me but I can't ignore all the new technology and innovative thinking that went into it. There is a lot I like about it. GM, Ford & Ram should incorporate some it's design cues into their ICE trucks.
  • Michael S6 Very confusing if the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Jrhurren Worked in Detroit 18 years, live 20 minutes away. Ren Cen is a gem, but a very terrible design inside. I’m surprised GM stuck it out as long as they did there.