Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept turns toward science fiction

Alex Lloyd

Let’s start by saying that the Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept, revealed at the Detroit Auto Show today, is not a preview of 2014 Hyundai Genesis which will debut 12 months from now. Despite rumors, the Concept is purely an indication of the direction Hyundai intends to take with its premium models — the Genesis and, of course, the Equus.

The HCD-14 follows the same philosophy as their current premium models, only driven to the next level. It attempts to evoke thoughts of affluence in a Mike Bloomberg kind of way, as opposed to Donald Trump’s “in your face” approach. And in general, it works really well. There are no gaping vents, excessively large fender flares, or exhausts popping out of the roof. It’s simple, sleek, and something I hope will be closely replicated in future generations of premium Hyundais.

The front-end features a steep brushed steel grille that flows to a distinctly aerodynamic side-on silhouette. At the tail, the slender roofline meets with a shark-like lip, and it culminates with the exhaust tips nicely integrating into the lower bumper.

Opening the suicide doors reveals a futuristic interior that boasts what Hyundai claim to be a “state-of-the-art driver eye-tracking and 3-D hand-gesture recognition system.” It works by monitoring your eye and hand movements to control every aspect of the car, with a Tom Cruise in Minority Report-like fashion. For instance, you can adjust the radio volume by simply twisting your hand, eliminating the need to remove your eyes from the road.

And while this sounds wonderfully ingenious — and it apparently works in the HCD-14 — I struggle to imagine it being feasible in the real world. What happens if you want a sip of coffee, for instance? You might accidentally change the radio from Foo Fighters to Ke$ha.

Under the hood is Hyundai’s Tau 5.0-liter V8. The optical recognition identifies the driver and initiates the starting sequence, and the 8-speed automatic transmission is controlled via paddle shifters.

With Hyundai owning a 5.3 percent total market share, and their premium Genesis and Equus models making up for a 9 percent share of the premium segment, the HCD-14 marks an important concept for the Korean manufacturer. But just remember, it’s not a Genesis.

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