SangYup Lee, newly anointed head of design at Hyundai and Genesis, is at pains to point out that Hyundai is a highly international brand. The Korean company sells lots of vehicles in emerging markets such as India, Brazil and southern Asia, as well as its more obvious outlets in Europe and North America.
The firm tailors its offerings quite considerably to appeal to local tastes (“Indian tastes, particularly in colour and materials are really… bold,” he says, with a well-concealed wince. However, the new three-row SUV, the Hyundai Palisade, has one market very firmly in its sights – the USA. Here, where everything is bigger, space and height are absolutely key. SangYup explains:
“We have used a composite lamp, two separate units, which connect the DRL top to bottom to emphasise the height of the vehicle. Height is really important. It also features a very bold grille and it has a very distinctive character.
“Inside, it feels very spacious – and of course there are lots of cupholders; 16 in fact. The third row passenger seating is particularly good. We’ve used a lot of glass to give good visibility, and the headroom is among the best in the market.
“The centre console has a lot of space too, thanks to the drive-by-wire gearshift, so there’s room for luxury elements like a sliding-lidded bin with USB and power outlet, plus retractable cupholders. Then there’s lots of storage space underneath it and another large compartment immediately behind that.
“The dash graphic is simple and sophisticated, and we tried hard to get the balance of controls right between the touchscreen and the other tactile controls.
“The quilting on the door panels gives it a luxury feel; the Palisade is a flagship car in this market, and it has a lot of premium touches. The aluminium which we’ve used where you might expect to find chrome has a bit more depth, and it’s repeated on the interior, on the speakers and across the dash.
“The rear lamp has an extra element, which is a little more sophisticated than you might expect; it’s backlit and gives another touch of premium character.
“It would have been easy to have used lots of chrome, which is a big element in this sort of vehicle, but we’ve tried to be a little more premium and work with a light signature to add extra value rather than just go for a style that hasn’t changed for about 100 years.”