A few months ago, we told you that Hyundai has been looking around the idea of a Toyota Prius fighter for several years now, and it looks like the idea is finally coming to fruition as our spy photographers just spied the first prototype.
[ads id=”4″ style=”float:left;padding:9px;”]Hyundai may have been hoping to slip this prototype into the Arctic Circle testing grounds under the cover of darkness, but we still spied it on the top rack of this auto hauler.
The elevated position of this test car allowed us a good look at the underbody of the car where we get peaks at the orange, high voltage cables, and a sticker on the suspension arms that says “AE HEV.”
“AE” represents the program code for this car, and “HEV” is, of course, hybrid electric vehicle. Overall, Hyundai’s first dedicated gas-electric hybrid looks to resemble the Prius quite a bit, with a profile that looks all too familiar.
Up front, we can see horizontal grille slats, headlights with blue accents, and possibly some LED running lights showing through the camouflage below the main headlight cluster.
This new Hyundai will start production in South Korea in the second half of 2016, and will ride on the next-generation Elantra chassis.
It will first be offered in a 5-door hatchback configuration, but other body styles may follow to match Toyota’s Prius line-up.
Under the hood will be a parallel powertrain setup, with a 1.6L I4 gasoline engine, and electric motor being fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. A plug-in version is also rumored to be offered 12-18 months after the initial launch.
That’s a tough segment.