13 March 2008

Visions of quite-goodness

Hyundai i-Mode causes minor religious furore. Not really

Hyundai i-mode

If you look really closely at the rear wheel in the first shot of the Hyundai i-Mode, you can just make out the face of which deity? Look closer. Closer...

Actually, you can't see anything (well, we can't anyhow), but we know that diesel seven-seaters aren't the most attention-grabbing of cars, so at least we got you looking. But frankly, the i-Mode concept is worth a proper look, even without our pseudo-religious mischief.

Based on the i30 platform - that's Hyundai's Golf/Focus rival - the i-Mode previews a production MPV that's expected to arrive some time in 2010.

As MPVs go, it's a good-looking thing. Hyundai says that the open-mouthed front end with its hexagonal grille demonstrates a new brand identity from Hyundai, so expect to see a lot more of that face around.

With the exception of that Prius-gone-crazy rear end and the suicide rear doors, we're looking at a design that's damn close to production. Which is good.

The i-Mode's engine sounds realistic, too - a 2.2-litre two-stage turbodiesel, developing 210bhp and 340lb ft of torque.

We'll likely see a single-turbo version of the 'R Engine' diesel some time next year, with this dual-pressure unit arriving in 2011. Top Gear was fairly sure we'd all be driving hovercars steering by telepathy and good karma by 2011, but we'll settle for a nice torquey diesel if not.

Next week, Top Gear finds the faint outline of the Fiat 500 on the Turin shroud. It could happen.

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