Hyundai HCD-9 Talus Explores Luxury Sport Coupe
Along with introducing the latest version of their Santa_Fe SUV, at the 2006 North American International Auto Show Hyundai showed off the HCD-9 Talus concept. Though the Talus was just one of the vehicles that Vehicle Voice and AutoPacific correspondents saw during the auto show’s media days, its design was among the more striking. The Talus explores what might happen by mixing a coupe with an SUV, though other concepts over the years have tested this water as well. Hyundai is looking to inspire buyers who are used to the benefits of an SUV but also are looking for sports car styling and performance.
Along with sharing an introduction, there is a similar theme to both the Talus and Santa Fe grilles and headlights, indicating this is the future direction for Hyundai styling and further emphasizing the concept’s relationship to SUVs. Hyundai called the HCD-9 Talus the future of the sports car segment, as it offers sporty car attributes along with space for four and SUV attributes.
It is a bit early to conclude they will build the Talus specifically, though styling cues from the concept and even the rear-wheel-drive platform could be seen on a replacement for the Tiburon due by the end of the decade.
Luxury Technology and Interior. There are indications that Hyundai is considering creating either a luxury vehicle for the Hyundai brand, or perhaps a second luxury brand a la the Toyota/Lexus or Honda/Acura relationship. One of them is the interior of this concept, which included lots of leather and metallic trim. According to Hyundai, the center stack was designed to look like a jeweled pendant hanging from a necklace. The necklace image was created by the retractable hood that covered a ten-inch LCD monitor, HVAC, and a clock that can display several time zones at once. Interior lighting was provided by blue ambient LEDs.
The Talus also sported a 4.6L DOHC 32v V8 estimated to deliver about 340HP more typical of luxury brands, mated to a six-speed automatic, and such a powertrain may find its way into Hyundai production cars down the road. Other Talus features not yet offered in Hyundai’s range included night vision, adaptive cruise control, wireless internet, and a shift-by-wire transmission.
Sporty Car for a Weekend Getaway. Not truly a two-door coupe, the Talus featured rear-hinged quarter doors behind the front doors. Seating was available for four, along with some cargo room for weekend luggage and a rear-seat entertainment system including nine-inch DVD monitors in the back of the front seats. The rear seats also folded flat, and the cargo area incorporated a lockable storage area. The cargo space was accessed through a power-operated clamshell hatchback door.
The Talus has the tall look and ground clearance of an SUV, but its rear-drive format means that it did not quite have an SUV’s all-weather capability. Hyundai mention optional all-wheel-drive, but focused on the improved visibility as well as ability to take steeper grades, potholes, and rutted roads that the extra ground clearance would provide as a rear-drive car.
All in all, the HCD-9 Talus, styled at Hyundai’s Design Center in California, furthers Hyundai’s research into the luxury market the public reaction to a Hyundai product adding more refined materials and features, as well as showing off a potential new drivetrain and rear-wheel-drive platform.