It's hard to stand out in mass-market segments, which is why I've always appreciated it when Hyundai transforms into Weird Hyundai and leans heavy on atypical styling. The automaker is slowly returning to that state with some of its latest debuts, but according to one Hyundai exec, we haven't even hit peak weird yet.
The next-generation Hyundai Tucson is going to be a little wild, MotorAuthority reported Wednesday, citing an interview with Hyundai design VP SangYup Lee. "[T]his is only the beginning … the whole world will freak out over [the next-generation Tucson]," Lee told MotorAuthority.
Hyundai may refer to its latest design language as "Sensuous Sportiness," but I prefer to call it Weird Hyundai, and boy howdy, is Hyundai getting weird with it lately. The Kona subcompact SUV packs a unique squinty face and makes good use of two-tone body cladding, and the yet-smaller Venue adds an extra dash of blockiness. The new Santa Fe adapted the Kona's front end to a larger body, which was distorted further into the miasma of weirdness with the larger Palisade. Heck, even the refreshed Elantra picked up an odd set of triangular headlights that's slowly growing on me.
And then there's the Sonata. When Hyundai unveiled the 2020 Sonata, its arresting front end marked a demonstrable shift away from the not-weird Hyundai from the last few years. There's a set of LED running lights that starts in the headlight assembly and goes up the damn hood, melding with a chrome strip that runs all the way to the rear doors. There's some wild creasing in the back, too. Heck, even the four-spoke steering wheel is kind of odd.
The current Tucson is still a carryover from less peculiar times, and a light refresh for the 2019 model year more or less maintains the same heading. The headlights are a little different, and there's some new tech behind the dashboard, but for the most part, it's the same Tucson that had its best-ever sales figures in 2018. I can't wait to see what Hyundai has in store for it in the future.