When Hyundai introduced the Genesis sedan for the 2009 model year, it signaled a move upmarket for the brand. Hyundai followed with the even more luxurious and expensive Equus sedan, and the two vehicles have combined to capture 9 percent of the share in their market segments, better even than the brand's 5.3 percent overall market share. Since those vehicles were released, Hyundai has introduced its Fluidic Sculpture design language, which has imbued the brand with more style. Now, Hyundai is planning to bring that style to its premium cars. The HCD-14 Genesis Concept unveiled in Detroit is a spiritual guide for the future of Hyundai's premium cars.


Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept

What is it? A 4-door coupe design concept that previews future premium Hyundais.

What's hot? The HCD-14 Genesis Concept's exterior design is striking, but it's far from production-ready. We admire the sleek coupelike profile, the clean sides with their creased upper and lower character lines, and the rear suicide doors.

Inside the HCD-14 is pure luxury. It features laminated and milled wood that flows into the center console. Three screens are provided: information screens for the driver and front passenger and an instrument panel display. Hyundai studied human interaction before building the screens' controls, and their functions can be chosen via thumb controls, eye tracking and gesture recognition. Hyundai says the gesture and eye tracking controls reduce driver distraction.

The HCD-14 promises competent driving dynamics thanks to a rigid chassis that makes use of high-strength steel, 5-link suspension front and rear, multimode electric power steering, and driver-selectable suspension settings.

What's not? We like the styling in general, but we're not so fond of the large, almost trucklike grille. It's too upright and bold for a sleek car. The eye tracking and gesture controls sound very cool, but no doubt there will be growing pains with these new technologies. We also like the 5.0-liter 429-horsepower V8 engine that powers the HCD-14, but we'd also like to see the next Genesis with a turbocharged or supercharged V6.

How much and when? This car won't be sold.

MSN Autos' verdict: The HCD-14 concept signifies a bold design language for future premium Hyundais. We suspect more of its cues will appear in the next Genesis sedan rather than the Equus, especially the coupelike profile. While we like the current Genesis sedan, the HCD-14 suggests the next one will be more stylish and distinctive.

Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, and currently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.