If you asked us to predict what Genesis would unveil at this year’s New York auto show, a funky-looking two-seat electric city-car concept would be pretty near the bottom of our list. And yet that’s what the Mint is: a subcompact urban runabout with an all-electric powertrain and a high-luxe cabin.
The styling is stunning, as we’ve come to expect from Genesis concepts, even as much if it reminds us of something else. There’s some Tesla up front, a fair amount of Nissan in profile, and a whole lot of Renault at the back (Google the Renault Mégane II hatchback, and then read our 2003 review). Still, it works, and this is a handsome, aggressive little car that ought to pack quite a performance punch.
One of the more original styling details is the lattice-like grid at the bottom edge of the bodywork, which Genesis calls G-Matrix. It’s a great example of form and function, visually reducing the height of the car while providing cooling for the underfloor battery pack. The pattern is repeated in the wheels and the interior trim, although its implementation on the pedals looks a bit like a knock-off of the Maybach logo, or perhaps a basketball net.
The Mint’s interior features a single full-width bench seat divided by a console/armrest with an integral control knob that can be folded up for those more, er, romantic moments. The rectangular steering wheel has a center-mounted screen for both instruments and infotainment and is flanked by six small round touch-screens that serve as secondary controls. Both the seat and dash can swivel to ease entry and exit.
The Mint’s tan leather and metal matrix-pattern trim have a lovely simple elegance that relates to Genesis’s current interiors. Instead of a trunk, the Mint’s sail panels can be opened to provide access to a large stowage shelf.
Genesis gave no details about what might power this intriguing little concept, except to say that it has a 200-mile range and can utilize 350-kW fast-charging.
While we’re surprised to see a car like this debut in New York rather than Frankfurt or Tokyo (sure, New York is a city, but most of its denizens prefer the subway), we like the concept. It doesn’t blow us away like the Genesis Essentia did—that was our Concept of the Year, of course—but we’re pleased to see how well Genesis’s more forward-thinking styling cues translate to a smaller vehicle. Compact luxury cars are always a tough sell in the States, but Genesis has a minty fresh take on one, and we’d love to see a production version.