Now that’s one quirky and cute... well, is it big or is it small and... what is it exactly?
Not quite a Japanese Kei car (smallest legal road-going vehicle), not quite a mini hatch, the Hyundai Casper a super compact SUV plugging the small end of the popular market. In short, it looks like a Toyota FJ Cruiser that has been shrunk.
This tiny Korean crossover is a mere 3 595mm in length with a wheelbase of 2 400mm, a full width of 1 595mm, and a height of 1 575mm. With these tiny proportions, and an aesthetic that has been described as “adorable”, it can be argued that the Casper represent a new segment in the entry-level car market, the micro SUV.
After for the first time revealing exterior images this week (testing prototypes have been spotted), Hyundai says it will offer two inline three-pot 1.0-litre petrol engine options, one a normally aspirated MPI unit and the other a direct injection turbopetrol engine.
Oh, for those wondering how this has anything to do with friendly ghosts, it doesn’t. Casper in this case refers to a skateboarding trick.
Here’s what is so interesting about the design, it kind of pulls one in two directions. First, there is the cute and compact appearance, making a person feel all cosy.
Then, there is the high-riding SUV look, bring a certain dignity and robustness to the car.
So it’s charming and delightful, yet tough and athletic all at the same time.
It’s got a certain youthfulness, and also a sturdy maturity, so design-wise this could be somewhat of a generational bridge of a micro cabbie.
With hefty fenders and a high ground clearance, it’s a mini beast. But notice how the rear door handle is hidden, to provide a sleek and clean impression.
Clever design there, emphasising the dynamic nature of the Casper.
The character emblem resembles a smiling person, and can be seen next to the rear door handle, and is carried through to the circular indicator lamps, to bring a sense of unity to the design.
No images of the interior have yet been released, so this is no full reveal.
Nice way to keep the fans connected and on the lookout for more.
Hyundai South Africa says it is looking at the Casper with interest, although it is not officially confirmed for the local market.
Hyundai likely intends the Casper as competition to sub-compact crossovers like the Suzuki Ignis and Mahindra KUV100.
Suffice it to say this new segment is hardly crowded, and Hyundai looks set to get a head start on the competition.