18 February 2005

This is the Portico concept, the latest vehicle to come out of Hyundai’s South Korean design centre. It appeared at the Chicago Motor Show last week and features pillarless construction and seating for six.

Sitting somewhere between a large estate and a 4x4, the Portico is 5000mm long, 2000mm wide and sits on a 3070mm wheelbase. The Portico’s cabin is accessed via four wide-opening doors hinged at opposite ends. Inside, the six seats are arranged in two rows of three. Pillarless construction makes entry easy, and the panoramic glass roof can be dimmed to provide more shade.

Power comes from Hyundai’s new aluminium 24-valve Lambda V6, mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox soon to be made available on Hyundai’s road cars, and driving the front wheels. However, it has also been designed to accept the maker’s hybrid drive system, with two independent electric motors — a 130bhp unit driving the front wheels and an 80bhp version at the rear. Meanwhile, the HED-1 mini-MPV concept will make its debut at Geneva next month (see gallery). According to Hyundai’s European designers, it will mix flexibility with increased quality and sophistication. Following the themes explored by last year’s E3 concept, the HED-1 will have an influence on future small Hyundai MPVs.

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