No, theis not coming to the US. Do I wish it was? Yes because even though it's smaller than a , it's way, way better. Alas, we'll have to watch from afar as other countries have all the fun, especially after the brand revealed the cutesy car's interior.
Order books for the little Casper opened this week, and with it, Hyundai launched the car's dedicated website, which showed the cockpit for the first time. It's as delightful as the exterior, quirky and surprisingly well equipped even in its priciest configuration of -- get this -- $16,010 at current exchange rates. On the first day, Hyundai received 12,000 orders for the Casper, according to local newspaper Korea JoonAng Daily. One of those orders even came from South Korea's President Moon Jae-in.
As for the interior, we imagined this would be a pretty bare-bones ordeal with no touchscreens or fancy materials. That's not the case. According to the official website, the top range Inspiration trim includes an eight-inch infotainment systems, Hyundai's SmartSense driver-assist suite and even 17-inch wheels. Again, this a $16,000 car, which by the way, starts at just $11,860 if you skip the screens and nicer tech.
The steering wheel looks Ioniq 5-like to me, while plenty of buttons on the center stack won't wow tech lovers, but surely make for easy operation. Above those buttons sits the infotainment screen and below it the gear shifter and drive mode selector. No, it doesn't look bathed in high quality materials, but somehow, it exudes character like a pricier and larger subcompact SUV in the US never could. Even the seats gain personality with a dual-color look, combined with a cream hue for the back and blue for the bottom part of the seat. Why can't our small, cheap-ish cars look like this?
What likely wouldn't jive with American drivers is the powertrain. There's a choice of a 1.0-liter naturally aspirated or turbocharged inline-three engine. The former makes 75 horsepower, while the turbo ups the figure to 99 hp. A four-speed automatic handles shifting duties. It's not exactly the most modern or powerful package, but you know what? It probably works perfectly well as a little runabout. And sometimes, that's all a car buyer needs.