The Director of Hyundai Global Design Center and Vice President of Hyundai Motor Company, SangYup Lee, gave an interview about the revolutionary design of the new Tucson, a model of high importance to the Korean brand’s ambitions.
The Tucson is Hyundai’s best-selling model and is now in its fourth generation. Since it was introduced in 2004, Hyundai has sold more than 7 million units globally. For this latest interpretation, the new compact SUV from Hyundai shows itself with a much more progressive and ambitious design, following the design philosophy Sensuous Sportiness.
SangYup Lee is responsible for all Hyundai Motor’s designs and for the strategies, directions and decisions in this area, both from the outside and from the inside, of the brand’s products, as well as the colors and materials.
The latest Hyundai models are being developed according to the “Sensuous Sportiness” design typology. How did you describe this exciting path?
We are currently carrying out an exciting process where we are fundamentally reviewing the design of many of our models according to our design typology called “Sensuous Sportiness”. It is characterized by the harmony between four elements: proportion, architecture, design and technology. Our goal is to raise the emotional value of our products through innovative design. To achieve this, we clearly defined the target audience of each vehicle within our range and gave them distinctive individual designs and identities while maintaining the characteristic Hyundai look. The purpose of this approach is to bring an instinctive beauty to the vehicles creating emotional value giving them a distinctive appearance. In the coming years, the Sensuous Sportiness design typology will be implemented in all of our future models. The New Hyundai Tucson is the third European model from Hyundai to have this type of design, completing the first phase of this process.
What inspired, in particular, the design of the New Hyundai Tucson?
The basis for the design of the New Hyundai Tucson was laid two years ago, when we presented “Le Fil Rouge”, our four-door concept coupe, at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2018. This was a point of reference for the our brand, as if it were the first Hyundai model guided by Sensuous Sportiness. “Le Fil Rouge” means the “common thread” that connects our past to the present and the future. For us, this articulating axle is the ambitious and bold attitude that was originated by the Pony Coupe Concept of 1974. At the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2019, we presented our innovative concept SUV, Vision T. Again guided by the design typology Sensuous Sportiness, this model revolves around the concept of dynamism and aspires to be at the forefront of SUV design. He served as a pioneer for our New Hyundai Tucson. Vision T has a simplistic design and without imperfections. It uses geometric architecture and sharp edges to create a striking contrast between an elegant silhouette and masculine lines. At the front, it features geometric patterns on the front grille and the hidden integrated light signature. These design tracks directly influenced the new Hyundai Tucson.
How would you define the “Tucson Spirit”?
We believe that the new Hyundai Tucson is a pioneer – not just for Hyundai, but for the entire C-SUV segment. The new Hyundai Tucson offers a high design experience combined with the latest technology that has been lacking in this segment. This makes you a trend setter, rather than a follower. We believe that this unprecedented originality provides a unique and special design value in the C-SUV market. For us, the new Hyundai Tucson represents a major milestone in our design journey, and serves as a reference for all future Hyundai models. It underlines our vision of how vehicles should be built and experienced today: not as concepts, but as production vehicles.
What are the main exterior highlights of the new Hyundai Tucson?
The new Hyundai Tucson is a design revolution for Hyundai – it reinvents the idea of what a family car can look like. Thanks to the sportier and more dynamic proportions made possible by the new platform, the new Hyundai Tucson achieves a very progressive appearance without compromising its functionality. At the front, hidden parametric optical groups are implemented. This design innovation perfectly incorporates advanced lighting technology in the geometric pattern of the Tucson jewel-shaped grid. They appear to be of a dark chrome material when turned off, and become dramatically lit when turned on. Can you imagine this lighting in your rearview mirror? The identity of the new Hyundai Tucson will be unquestionable. The rear of the model has some notable design innovations. For example, it also displays hidden parametric optical groups. To continue to polish its technological characteristics, the new Hyundai Tucson demonstrates a Hyundai logo in soft glass, as well as the hidden rear windshield wiper, improving the appearance.
Parametric Dynamics is the main design feature of the New Hyundai Tucson. What does it mean and what are its advantages?
Parametric Dynamics refers to the use of geometric algorithms that maximize digital technology as design elements. Instead of the traditional drawing or sketch, it uses lines, faces, angles and shapes that were created using digital data to create an unprecedented and bold aesthetic. A good example of this is the new jewel-shaped parametric grid pattern I mentioned above. This highlights the three-dimensional shape according to the angle and the reflected lights, giving it the shape of a jewel embedded in a geometric structure. Also, thanks to the integrated architecture, we were able to fully integrate the car’s headlights into the grille. Applying half-mirror technology, it looks like the chrome of the grill when it is not lit, but when the lights come on, they demonstrate their function. I believe that it is a truly impressive feature and a hidden pleasure for our customers.
Finally, what can you tell us about the main features of the interior design of the New Hyundai Tucson?
Some traffic situations, especially in urban areas, can often be frustrating for drivers. For this reason, we strive to create an indoor environment that maximizes comfort and relaxation. The interior design of the new Hyundai Tucson was strongly inspired by the serenity of the waterfalls. This is particularly noticeable with the control elements, which move downwards in a unified way. The interior space of the new Hyundai Tucson is where the user interacts organically and without errors with technology and futuristic space. Especially in the case of the instrument panel, which we built in an innovative way. Normally, the instrument panel is very wide in competing models, and our idea was how to make it light, smooth and offer a broader view to customers. There is no Head-Up Display on the instrument panel. Since there is no Head-Up Display, we focused on the innovative and comfortable view from the driver’s seat and applied technology that does not reflect the screen in the window at night through an anti-glare film. The air vents were pulled upwards to relieve the instrument panel. A black block is connected to the air outlet and the bottom screen. The double passenger compartment enhances the space independent of the driver. To improve the experience inside the vehicle and to be even more pleasant and relaxing, we installed ambient lights with 64 configurable colors and ten levels of light to adapt to each mood. For a more modern and futuristic look, we make sure that everything is placed and connected with attractive shapes. For this, we completely dispense with physical buttons – all functions are controlled by touch. The materials used in the vehicle are of the highest quality. This allows us to achieve a very uniform interior image from the front to the rear of the vehicle, which makes it particularly modern and of high quality.