Cutting-edge tech in a minimalistic — but not stark — package
If there’s one thing the Genesis brand needs, pundits and market analysts maintain, it’s a range of luxury crossovers and SUVs — and the sooner, the better. The Genesis Mint concept, which has just been unveiled inNew York, is not that.In fact, the small electric city car styling exercise is about as far away from a honkin’ three-row people-mover as you can get. It gets wheels pushed way out to its snout to its rear; there are practically no overhangs on this thing. It’s coated in a very cool coat of matte hunter green paint. The interior looks like a very nice place to be — far nicer than any taxi or Uber we’ve ever ridden in while in the Big City. The whole thing is unexpected and delightful.If the Toyota iQ-based Aston Martin Cygnet was the (oddly lovable) nadir of luxury city cars, the Mint shows how cool small-format, high-end wheels can look.
Genesis says the Mint represents “a holistic collaboration among Genesis design studios located around the world, led by Genesis Global Advanced Design in Germany, Genesis Design Team in the U.S., and the Namyang Design Center in South Korea.” It does look fairly cosmopolitan; if the front comes off as a little Tesla Model 3-ish, there’s a touch of Renault Mégane II in the rear end. So that’s two continents right there.
Painted a matte hunter green, the Mint makes use of the ever-popular floating roof — to good effect, in our opinion.
We’re not sure where the Korean influence comes into play. Maybe it’s that gridlike pattern that starts on the lower lip of the front fascia, stretches down the rocker panels on the side of the car and finishes off the bottom of the rear fascia. It’s what Genesis calls the “G-Matrix,” and it’s semi-functional here (at least conceptually); its openings help cool the battery pack. The G-Matrix motif is carried over to the car’s crazy center-lock five-spoke wheels as well as the interior floor, the pedals — accelerator, brake what appears to be a dead pedal on the left — and dashboard.
Curiously (and somewhat like the early Nash Metropolitans, which was no doubt at the forefront of Genesis designers’ minds), there’s no rear trunk opening. Instead, the Mint gets a “generous parcel shelf designed for occasional use” that is accessed by small scissor doors. It’s one of the more concept-esque touches found on this design.
The interior of the Mint is swathed in warm, saddle-colored leather. It’s dominated by a bench seat with a fold-down center console/armrest.
The interior takes full advantage of the fact that this is an EV; there’s more room inside than you’d get with a comparably sized internal combustion-powered vehicle. Trimmed in a saddle-colored leather, it’s minimalistic without being cold or stark. Even the front seat, a rather old-school bench, is about as simple as it gets; flip up the center armrest and you can seat three. Genesis claims it swivels to ease entry and egress.
And instead of going for a screen overload, like the recent Kia Imagine crossover, the Mint pares things down to one main screen mounted in the center of the oblong steering wheel and six small, round screens (a sort of de-constructed instrument cluster) that display only essential infuriation. It’s high-tech without being obnoxiously techy. Other design studios, take note.
Since this is just a concept, Genesis is vague on the mechanical details. The Mint’s charger port is located at the tail, on top of what would be a decklid if this thing had a trunk. Genesis posits a 200-mile range, which is well matched to the Mint’s city car mission profile if a little underwhelming for road-trippers, with the option of 350-kw fast recharging.
So, will the Mint make it to production in any form? Can we at least hope to see that hunter green matte paint on a real-life vehicle? Don’t leave us hanging, Genesis.