Most of us think of small city cars as a sacrifice, giving up luxury and style in the name of easy-to-park size. Genesis wants to turn that convention on its ear with the Mint Concept, unveiled just ahead of the 2019 New York International Auto Show. It's a tiny two-seat EV that's positively crammed with style.
The notion of a "luxury city car" can be a little hard to swallow-remember the ungainly, Toyota iQ-based Aston Martin Cygnet? But Genesis seems to have hit upon some convincing styling language with the Mint Concept. In person, the concept car looks larger than it is, with a wide-set wheelbase and a low, sloping roofline. Standing at the rear of the car, the roofline is well below chest height.
The Mint Concept is a true two-door, two-seat small car. Design tricks make it feel roomy: That big, wide dashboard is mounted on a pivot, as is the bench-like seat. Both retract a few inches to make more room for the driver to slide into place when she or he opens the door. Instead of a traditional hatchback, the cargo area is accessed through flip-up side ports. Don't get thrown off by the pedals, though: That's not a clutch pedal on the left, it's merely a stylized footrest.
As a design exercise, the Mint provides an interesting challenge: Can big-car style and luxury be successfully translated down to a tiny city runabout? Viewed in person, the concept car seems to argue that such a thing can be achieved. This is no doubt aided by the car's electric drivetrain, with a skateboard style battery pack allowing most of the car's footprint to be devoted to passengers and cargo.
Put it this way: If Genesis were to come out with a small, luxurious production car that looked like this, we'd be mightily impressed.
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