Are Things Warming Up? Hyundai’s New Colour Options

Ever since 1978 (Oct 4, 12.34 pm), the dominant colour range used in car interiors has been tending towards the cool: that would be grey, blue, black. 

2015 Hyundai i20 door.
2015 Hyundai i20 door.

Up until that time most manufacturers offered upholstery, carpet and plastic trim in colours such as ivy green, navy blue, light blue, orange-brown, mid-green, red, bordeaux (what the Truth About Cars insists on calling Bordello Red). I have been looking at colour lately and first noticed a more daring use of tans and browns in concept cars (the most concept-y aspect of most of them) and now this trend feeding into production car interiors. Here is my evidence: the new Hyundai i20.

Now, it’s not the whole door but a substantial part of the door and this enough to lift what could be a quite monotonous interior, colourwise.

I think that if there will be one thing that will be different in the new period of colour, it is that colour will be used as major accents and not be as dominant as they were in the 70s. At that time the interiors of cars were made of few components and so when a colour was chosen it had to be very much the main colour for all the trim.

Further, there was the exterior colour to contend with and often there was visible metal inside most cars which, these days, is not the case. Notice how the designer match part break-up and colour break-up. In 1978 this would have been a flat vinyl panel with a few items screwed onto it. This part complexity allows a new colour complexity.

2015 Hyundai i20 dashboard.
2015 Hyundai i20 dashboard: this is very, very good. And it’s affordable.

Hyundai have also used a pleasing modern technical fabric for the seat inserts. The whole assemblage results in an already neat and professional design getting a big lift in its emotional appeal. Not only have Hyundai offered this warm terra-cotta/brick brown but they also have a very pleasant cool, bright blue along with Don’t Notice Me grey for conformists and a tan for people who only want to push the boat out as far as their arms can reach.

Making the difference. Image from
Making the difference.
Image from

I have read various* reviews of this car and none have hinted that Hyundai has latched onto colour as another means to woo customers. While this new choice will not save or damn this car in the market, I see it as the use of an often overlooked method to lure customers who can otherwise not seen any obvious differences in the products in whatever sector they are looking at. You can’t see gadgets in one glance; technical parameters appeal to the head.

Colour magically bypasses reason. For some customers this kind of feature will be enough to overpower their decision-making apparatus. As it happens, the i20 is class competitive. Those who don’t like colour can always opt for grey and grey. However, if given the choice between the same old thing from Ford, Opel, VW and Peugeot, I think a noticeable number of buyers will be opting for the Hyundai simply because it offers something they can see and enjoy immediately.

*Car Magazine’s review is another in a recent spate of “it’s quite good but we still don’t like it” articles. Doh.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

6 thoughts on “Are Things Warming Up? Hyundai’s New Colour Options”

  1. “.. I noticed a slight tendency to lift off oversteer as I came through a long curve and a surprising meatiness to the steering that suggests that there are at least a couple of car nuts on Hyundai’s chassis team, though that might be a bit of a turn off for the shopping run crowd. All in all It looks like Hyundai might finally be getting the wake-up call.”

    “And what colour were the seats, Chris?”

    “Uh…… Um ….”

    “And the dash?”

    “… I dunno. Does it matter?”

  2. Reviewing the Car article didn´t please me at all. I know those guys would snort at my emphasis on colour but in return I snort at their insistence on viewing every car in lights of its capacity for track day antics. I don´t have the time or money or interest in lapping Bruntwood or Thurlingstone but I would like an interior that lifted my mood. From the point of view of car sales, a few well-known brands will find they need to respond to Hyundai´s tactics or else lose customers. Really, most of these cars are deadeningly alike. Something like a good colour could tilt the difference. It certainly cheered me up. I wish my car wasn´t a coal hole inside. Black, all black, a bit like Disaster Area´s stunt spaceship.

  3. Last days i saw an Opel / Vauxhall Mokka and was very pleased by his courage to colour.

    So Hyundai is not alone, and especially the korean guys seem to love warm interior colours.

    The next step would be the return of colour in car carpets. And grey or black are no colours in my sense. I remember the red carpet on my Peugeot 205 GTI ore the surprise to see a Volvo C30 with red carpets.
    I know, it is all about costs. More colours are more logistics, less production numbers of each so even the black carpet will be more expensive then. But if that is the price to bring back colour to my life, i would like to pay it.

    1. Your post made me think of two things: one, the Astra and Zafira have some veryu pleasing interiors using this kind of brown and black combination and the Cascada is truly lush. If you miss the Saab 9-3 convertible and Volvo C70 convertible, the Cascada is well up to replacing them. Second thought: isn´t it odd that with the combined computing power we have now, productions lines can´t manage to handle every possible combination. The factories use just in time deliveries and everything is barcoded and RFID´d so how is it that if I want a black carpet, white doors and a pink centre console this can´t be delivered at some point, if not next week? Back in the 70s and 80s all of that was done with paper tags hanging off the cars, right? Little boxes were ticked as the engine, gearbox, were fitted in the right colour bodyshell and then down to the electrics and trim sections of the production line….so why not now?

  4. The last generation Fiesta could be had with a red or blue dashboard, the former being particularly dashing. The current Fiesta can be specced with a blue dashboard, but unfortunately an acre of textured plastic infilling to the windscreen gives the impression of staring at Dumbo’s arse.

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