Is Hyundai trying too hard to stand out?

From being a maker of quirky cars for the value-conscious buyers to that of stylish, reliable and feature-loaded cars that are more than a match for highly-regarded Japanese rivals, Hyundai has come a long way over the last decade and half. Words to take note of in that statement are 'quirky' and 'stylish'. That's because design and styling have been the foundation of the Korean brand's transformation in the said period.

With the recent models that are coming out of their gates though, the folks at Hyundai appear to be going back to the old days. Their 'quirky' old days, we mean.

Want proof? Check out the all-new, seventh-generation Elantra that was unveiled at a closed event in Hollywood, California recently.

Hyundai's press release minced no words in stating that the car was deliberately penned with bold design elements that reflect the daring and non-confirming mindset of the next generation. 

In effect, if you're young or young-at-heart, you may think of the new Elantra as a stylish, futuristic-looking automobile that's sure to turn heads on road. Or you may not care at all for what's yet another damn car, like most youngsters do! If you don't belong to one of those two groups, you would categorize the new Elantra anywhere between sharp to brash-looking depending on how you see it.

That's the point, really.

Is Hyundai trying too hard to impress? Are they adding an unnecessary line here and a crease there with the sole intention of making their cars stand out? Have they started rolling out cars that grab attention at launch but will age really fast like most fashion trends do? Most importantly, is all the good work done in transforming the brand's identity being undone?

While answers to those questions will emerge over time, here's the thing. In a span of three generations, the Sonata first and the Elantra now have moved on from the gorgeous-looking sedans they were at the beginning of the decade to the toned-down but still effortlessly elegant cars in-between to the bold, in-your-face models you see now. It's a shame as the current Sonata and the upcoming Elantra look fabulous from certain angles.

Hyundai's crossovers haven't been spared too. From the diminutive Venue to the large Palisade, they are victims of garish grilles and over-styled split light clusters. See what happened to the Creta that's just launched in India and you'll know.

If you're a fan of the current crop of Hyundais, think of this as a rant from an ill-advised auto enthusiast who preaches design conservatism. For the rest of us, there is a collective plea - Bring back the Fluidic Sculptures, Hyundai. Pul-eeezzzz!

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