Hyundai's bold Seven concept is a lounge on wheels
You’ve seen Kia’s angular EV9, now meet its softer sister: the Hyundai Seven. It’s the other half of a South Korean plot to take over the world of luxury seven-seat SUVs using the group’s new and bespoke battery-electric car architecture.
Softer-lined it may be, but the Seven is surely just as dramatic as – and far more futuristic than – its Kia compatriot. Both concepts were unveiled this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The slinky green machine has a welcome touch of elegance in its silhouette but then culminates in a vertical glass tail that resembles more a TV set than a car. This rear end and the smoothly rounded front are dominated by rows of pixel lights – a design signature of Hyundai’s electric Ioniq sub-brand. And it is as an Ioniq, probably the Ionic 7, that this car will arrive around 2024 as a likely battery-electric rival for a big family wagon like the Volvo XC90.
As with the Kia EV9, tech details are scarce, but as a project on the group’s E-GMP platform, we can assume all-wheel drive, twin motors, as much as 577PS (430kW) of power, with 77kWh batteries offering a range of up to 300 miles. The Seven has a 350kW fast-charge facility for an 80 per cent top-up in around half an hour.
As a concept, the Seven makes for a commanding presence, as well as delivering an efficiently aerodynamic shape, aided by retractable “air flaps” in the wheels. And it shouldn’t disappoint on the inside, although clues here are limited by the overt concept-car nature of the Seven’s “lounge” interior, with its banquette seating and futuristic controls including a retractable control “stick” that presages an autonomous future.
With essentials like a long 3.2m wheelbase and a completely flat floor, there should be plenty of room for seven seats. The concept’s job, however, is to get away from the standard three-row layout and demonstrate how “fluid” such a large space can be, especially when accessed by the pillarless coach doors that open up the entire sides of the car.
We have seen this feature many times only to be disappointed by the production version; it will be interesting to see how Hyundai’s dream of a lounge space is interpreted for production. At the least, we can expect an MPV-like ability for the seats to swivel around to make a more sociable space when stationary.
Hyundai has used the Seven to showcase several technologies which are important to it: eco-friendly and sustainable materials of course, along with a bug-free Hygiene Airflow ventilation system.
And what about this for an idea: a built-in mini fridge with, wait for it, “shoe-care compartments” so passengers “can refresh their footwear” while travelling. Sweaty feet? Hyundai has the answer…