Hyundai Nexo the

future utility

vehicle

Hyundai Nexo, 2018, front, action
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, front
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, side
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, rear
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, interior
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, centre console
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, instrument panel, rear camera display
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, instrument panel
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, display screen, power flow
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, display screen, sat nav
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, filling station
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, regenerative braking paddle
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, fuel cell stack
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, hydrogen tank cutaway
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, refilling
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, boot
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, rear seats
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, door handle, open
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, door handle, closed
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, motor
Hyundai Nexo, 2018, badge

IF hydrogen is the fuel of the future then Hyundai is putting itself at the front of the grid with the new Nexo - the second fuel cell electric vehicle from the Korean brand.

With SUV-style looks and a power system that makes it a world leader when it comes to zero emission range, the Nexo is a car of tomorrow that will be here soon.

It's also got plenty of high tech features to match its status as a hydrogen trailblazer, one of which has never been seen on a car before.

The Nexo will be on sale in the UK early next year and priced from around £60,000 - cheaper than its only real competitor, the Toyota Mirai - but most are likely to be leased and mainly in the south east of the country.

That's where the bulk of the 15 hydrogen filling stations so far opened in the UK are located although there are others at in south Wales, Swindon, Sheffield and near Aberdeen.

More will come on stream as the uptake of hydrogen powered vehicles increases but at the moment it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

However, the Nexo is good enough to change people's perceptions of hydrogen cars and Hyundai is describing its newcomer as a Future Utility Vehicle.

Looking very much on trend when it comes to design, the Nexo is some 15ft 4ins long and is a proper five seater with a good-sized boot of 461 litres stretching to a maximum capacity of 1,466 litres with the rear seats folded.

Futuristic cues include an LED daytime running light strip that stretches across the front of the car in a narrow band between grille and bonnet and aerodynamic baffles at the rear to improve airlfow.

Another aero feature is retractable door handles akin to those on a Range Rover Velar and all in all the Nexo is sleek and good looking.

But it is what's underneath the skin that sets the Nexo apart and its hydrogen fuel cell is the most advanced so far put into production.

Fuel cells work by passing hydrogen through a membrane to generate electricity which drives an electric motor under the bonnet.

The result in the Nexo is 163ps of power which gives it a 0 to 60 acceleration of 9.2 seconds, a top speed of 112mph and the only waste product is water. Torque is rated at 395Nm which makes for good pulling power.

Overall it has a range of 416 miles which at the moment is the greatest of any electric vehicle and puts rechargeable battery powered cars such as Teslas and Jaguar's new I-PACE into perspective.

Refuelling the Nexo takes around five minutes and a full tank - it actually has three 11 gallon tanks under the rear - will cost around £80 at current prices.

On the road it drives in an utterly conventional fashion. It's all drive by wire and so is the gear selection which is done by pressing one of four buttons on the rather busy bridge-like centre console where there are no less than 42 controls to be found ranging from automatic parking brake to ventilated seats.

Acceleration is good enough and it's all done in silence although at motorway speeds there is some wind rush noticeable at the front - other than that the Nexo is as serene as can be and rides well.

On our drive around Oslo in Norway - a country which has embraced alternative fuel vehicles - we set out with the Nexo showing a range of some 240 miles, completed an 80-mile mixed route and still had more than 180 miles available.

Battery efficiency can be improved on the go using regenerative braking and there are four settings available with the most severe allowing for single pedal operation such is its effectiveness.

Above the central instrument panel in the dash is a 12-inch touchscreen which gives access to traditional displays such as sat nav as well as more state of the art powerflow graphics and the like.

Ahead of the driver is a seven-inch configurable LCD instrument panel which can be set up to show a variety of displays ranging from speed and range information to navigation instructions and directions to the nearest filling station.

The panel also displays a video of what is to the side of the vehicle as soon as the indicator is activated using a rearward facing camera system in the door mirrors.

It's the first application of such technology in the world and one of several systems Hyundai is deploying on the Nexo to give it semi-autonomous driving ability.

Others include lane following technology and an automatic parking system which can squeeze the car into the tightest of spaces - even if you're not inside the vehicle.

Driver aids and safety systems include forward collision alerts, pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alerts and driver fatigue monitors.

For a car of such sophistication when it comes to equipment it is all remarkably conventional and you quickly feel at home behind the wheel.

Onboard storage is plentiful and as well as door pockets and the like there's also space below the centre console, including a wireless phone charger, plug-in points and power outlets.

The Nexo replaces the ix35 as Hyundai's fuel cell vehicle and is a car which is head and shoulders above its predecessor which was an adaptation of a regular model and available from 2013.

It is as futuristic as it's capable and much easier to live with than plug-in vehicles - that is if and when the infrastructure grows to make hydrogen more widely available.

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