Hyundai Nuvis Concept

The Hyundai Nuvis Concept is yet another hybrid-crossover dream machine designed to blend utility with small-car fuel-economy and sci-fi futuristic styling. Powered by a parallel hybrid system backed up by a 270-watt lithium-polymer battery, the Nuvis delivers an estimated 34 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, according to Hyundai.

The Nuvis employs Hyundai's Hybrid Blue Drive system, which operates on a principle similar to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive setup. In this case, Hyundai's 228-hp Theta II 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine is mated to a 30 kW electric motor that can get the vehicle moving from a stop and provide extra power for accelerating and passing.

Its six-speed automatic transmission has seen its fourth, fifth and sixth gears extended for better highway fuel-economy. Hyundai says its lithium-polymer battery pack, which is stored under the rear cargo floor, is more space-efficient and durable than nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion battery packs found in other hybrids.

Blue Drive is a styling influence as well. To drive the point home, the color blue has turned up all over the vehicle. It's in the headlights, it's trimming the brake ducts in the lower front fascia, it's hiding in character lines behind the front wheels and it's lighting up the Hyundai logos at either end of the vehicle. Pull open the massive gullwing doors and you'll find plenty more where that came from. On the floors, you'll find blue accent lighting running from front to rear that looks like a river flowing beneath your feet and pulses to emulate moving water. That is, if you notice the floor. Most people likely won't be able to take their eyes of the alien-space-ship dash and center console.

While Hyundai says that the Nuvis serves as a platform for a new styling direction for the brand, it's likely most of its extreme lines and features won't see showrooms, although we wouldn't be surprised to see a Ford Edge and Toyota Highlander-fighting hybrid CUV from Hyundai employing cues from the Nuvis in the near future.