As someone who only dabbles in car culture, I usually find concepts to be more weird than enticing — but this is absolutely not the case for Hyundai's Heritage Series Grandeur EV, which goes with an incredible retro aesthetic, rather than an alien future one. While Hyundai says that the car is made to celebrate the anniversary of its flagship sedan launched in the mid-‘80s, there’s only one thing that springs to mind when looking at it: that it would be the perfect vehicle for a supervillain.
To be clear, I don’t mean a Marvel-style antagonist with supernatural powers. I mean a Gordan Gekko-esque SOB; someone rich enough to shape the future or bend the ear of bought-off politicians. The car’s blacked-out windows, solid hubcaps, and pixel-esque lights would look perfect in a Hollywood movie that warns audiences about the perils of greed, while simultaneously making its spoils look so damn enticing.
(Side note: a video of the car posted on YouTube shows that the head and taillight “pixels” can even animate, a la KITT from Knight Rider. It’d be so distracting on the road but seems exactly like the type of thing you’d see in, say, Cyberpunk 2077.)
By the way, none of this is meant as an insult to the car or its designers. It looks, to be frank, rad as hell, and it’s easy to imagine a friendlier version that looks more like the family sedans of the era. But this concept, with a velvet and leather interior, is sinister in the best way.
If Hyundai actually started producing its concepts, though, the Heritage Series Grandeur isn’t the one I’d actually want to buy. The Heritage Series Pony is more my speed: a small, three-door concept that, I kid you not, has a Nixie tube speedometer and horsepower meter. It’s like the Honda e (which I would really love to be available in America, Honda!) saw the original RoboCop and started going through a weird phase that actually kind of works for them? I certainly find it more interesting than Hyundai’s last Pony-inspired concept.
Unfortunately, it seems like both these cars are mostly just opportunities for Hyundai to show off both its creativity and its pixel-style lights that it promises will be a feature of an actual upcoming production EV. All I can do is hope that like VW before it, Hyundai sees the stir its concepts caused and figures out some crash test-abiding way to release a real ‘80s revival car. It wouldn’t have to lovingly restore real cars from the era with a modern electric drivetrain (like it did with the Pony) to sell a car almost purely on nostalgia. It’s worked out pretty well for Ford with the Bronco, right?