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Auto Show:  2012 Geneva Auto Show

Hyundai i-oniq Concept: Geneva Auto Show

author photo by Jeffrey Archer March 2012
  • Sporty exterior styling featuring gullwing doors
  • Futuristic interior finished in red with blue lighting
  • Plug-in hybrid drivetrain with a near-450 mile range

This year's Geneva Auto Show marked the debut of Hyundai's all-new i-oniq concept car, which combines sporty styling with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. While the i-oniq won't make production, Hyundai says the concept car conveys the latest thinking from its designers and engineers and could preview a future model.

On the outside, the i-oniq combines several of Hyundai's current design cues with futuristic styling inherent to concept cars. Several curves - including a sweeping line that starts near the hatchback's headlights and runs the length of its body - are reminiscent of current models like the Genesis and Elantra, while the i-oniq's large, unique grille design comes from the automaker's midsize Sonata sedan.

But the i-oniq's styling offers more than just a few lines borrowed from other Hyundai models. Distinctive new features include large, flat "gullwing" doors hinged on the hatchback's A-pillars, a steeply raked rear end that includes thin LED tail lights, and a unique curve on the C-pillar that provides a sense of motion. The i-oniq is also notable for its "shooting brake" design that includes a long hood and large passenger compartment but just two doors.

Not surprisingly, the i-oniq's futuristic exterior styling is complemented by an equally wild interior. In addition to offering four uniquely-shaped bucket seats finished in red, the i-oniq includes a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a highly stylized center console with red accents and blue lighting. The blue lights are carried over into the concept's gauge cluster, where the i-oniq features a wide digital display swathed in blue at the base of its windshield.

Of course, the i-oniq is notable for more than just its head-turning design. Under the hood, the concept hatchback's tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine is mated to an electric motor that produces around 100 horsepower. According to Hyundai, the gasoline engine serves as a "range extender" for the plug-in electric motor, which can propel the concept around 75 miles before running out of juice. Overall, Hyundai says the i-oniq can travel nearly 450 miles with a full charge and a tank of gas.

Although the i-oniq won't make production, it's an important concept car for Hyundai. In addition to doing its part to shed Hyundai's reputation for producing tiny economy cars, the i-oniq also previews the brand's intentions to take on the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt with an electric vehicle. Only time will tell if the brand is capable of turning its concept into a reality.

What it means to you: Hyundai joins a growing list of automakers thinking about going electric.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Hyundai i-oniq Concept: Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader