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Hyundai Avatar Gives a View of the Future

9 April 1998

Hyundai Avatar Gives a View of the Future; Trends in Mid-Size Sedan Styling Revealed in Hyundai Show Car

    NEW YORK, April 9 -- The Hyundai Avatar, a show car
introduced today at the New York Auto Show, offers a look at what Hyundai
Motor America sees as major styling trends for the most popular type of car in
America, the mid-size sedan.
    "Sedan owners are looking for safety, security, good styling, and a higher
level of performance, but all of this must be in a package that is eminently
practical," says Hyundai Product Planning Manager Jim Park.  "The Avatar is a
vehicle that is mechanically sophisticated and makes a strong styling
statement, but within the bounds of what practical minded owners expect," he
    The Avatar stands out because of the strong character lines over the front
and rear wheel openings.  These character lines, while more subdued than in
the Hyundai Tiburon, give the car a family resemblance to its sportier
    Hyundai designers feel that mid-size sedan buyers, while concerned about
practicality and still seeking relatively conservative styling, are beginning
to seek out vehicles that have more personality than in past years.  Thus,
design elements such as these character lines, which give the Avatar a more
aggressive appearance than the typical sedan of today, will be a trend that
will be more popular in the future.
    In line with the trend toward more distinctive sedans, the Avatar has a
dramatic frontal look, with large headlights pushed to the corners of the
vehicle, which emphasize the car's size and presence.  The bright, bold
vertical bar grille highlights the front of the car, with the lines of the
hood flowing smoothly into the bumper, while focusing the eye on the dominate
grille.  The car is slightly larger in both interior and exterior dimensions
than Hyundai's current mid-size sedan, the Sonata.
    The five-spoke alloy wheels of the Avatar have a subtle shaping along the
inside circumference.  The understated twist in this area adds a sense of
motion even when the car is standing still.
    At the rear of the Avatar, a high trunk lid serves as a visual cue to the
spacious trunk underneath.  The rise up at the back end of the trunk provides
the look of a rear spoiler, in keeping with the overall sporty sedan tone of
the vehicle.  Large rear tail lamps not only offer a safety benefit, but also
echo the strong placement of the headlights at the front.
    The movement that places top importance on ergonomics in a sedan's
interior will continue to be dominate, Hyundai designers believe.  However,
there will be a trend toward placing ergonomics within a more interesting
design framework.
    Inside the Avatar the front cabin design stems from an architectural
approach with a strong horizontal, almost wall-like form of the dashboard
divided by a vertical element that holds the radio, heating and air
conditioning and other controls.  The interior forms are crisp and distinct,
in line with the vehicle's crisp exterior edges.
    In terms of vehicle performance, there has been a growing trend toward
more mechanically sophisticated automobiles with handling capabilities that
were previously found only in upscale, luxury and sporting sedans.
    In order to meet the needs of drivers with higher performance
expectations, the Avatar is built on a chassis with a high torisional
rigidity, which has a number of benefits.  A very stable platform provides the
basis for excellent handling, when combined with the double wishbone-type
front suspension.  This stability also helps ensure that the fit of various
components can be quite precise.
    The Avatar is powered by a high output V-6 transverse mounted engine which
drives the front wheels through a 32-bit, electronically controlled, four-
speed automatic transmission.  Braking is done through four-wheel disks, with
four-channel ABS.
    In another nod to drivers more aware of performance enhancements, the car
comes with an electronic traction system.  This also helps ensure safety and
stability in bad weather.
    Inside the vehicle has not only the latest generation "depowered" air bags
but also side air bags for the driver and front passenger, whose seat belts
also feature pre-tensioners.
    The Avatar was fashioned by a team of designers at the Hyundai California
Design Studio, working in close cooperation with Hyundai designers in Korea.

SOURCE  Hyundai Motor America