IONIQ evokes the first Hyundai

Elsewhere in the industrial powerhouse of South Korea, Kia’s sibling, Hyundai, has had its own newbie to roll out. And more than a vehicle, it’s actually a whole new brand. IONIQ, all upper case as per Hyundai style, is its nameplate for in-house EVs, which it marked this week by introducing the IONIQ 5, using the corporation’s BEV platform that’s exclusively earmarked for electric vehicles. The BEV derivative it rides on is known internally as E-GMP, standing for Electric-Global Modular Platform, an architecture that allowed the vehicle’s wheelbase to be extended as you can see in the photo, which comes to the round number of 3,000 millimeters. That treatment is intended to remind buyers of the humble vehicle that led Hyundai to its present station in global industrialization.

Look analytically at the interplay between the front fascia – there’s no grille, obviously – the rounded wheel arches, and the angle of the rear backlight. The IONIQ 5 is intended to be reminiscent of the Hyundai Pony, which debuted in 1975, a good decade before Hyundai first arrived to do battle in the U.S. market. So let’s say here that the first Pony was a thoroughly conventional compact sedan with a longitudinal layout and rear-wheel drive. It used engines and transmission supplied by Mitsubishi (the Hyundai Excel that succeeded the Pony, the first car Hyundai actually brought to the U.S., was a knockoff of the Mitsubishi Precis and Hyundai’s first front-drive car), and rode on a chassis designed by the British icon John Crosthwaite, the same guy who created the Lotus Eleven sports racer and later, the Intermeccanica Italia, the handsome, Ford-powered Italian-American collaboration.

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