It’s literally done with smoke and mirrors.
Once upon a time, having hidden headlights generally meant the lights would pop up from the hood or front bumper when turned on. Some cars concealed lights in the grille behind grille-matching covers, with the classic 1968 – 1970 Dodge Charger arguably being the most well-known example of them all. Hyundai says its new Tucson also incorporates hidden lights, though they’re hidden in plain sight as part of the SUV’s parametric grille.
In this case, hidden is certainly debatable. Looking head-on at a new Tucson with its lights off, it’s not hard to distinguish the lights from the rest of the grille. Still, they are technically part of the grille, and it’s rather interesting how Hyundai incorporated the lenses into the Tucson’s smiling face. In short, the automaker utilizes half-mirror tech that involves applying a thin layer of a metal surface coating on the inner part of the outer lens. In conjunction with the smoked chrome grille, the overall effect is a singular presence on the front clip. Hyundai also talks about clever lighting at the rear, though it’s not really hidden.
Gallery: Hyundai Tucson New Light Assemblies
Of course, things aren’t quite as simple as that simple. The Tucson’s lamp assembly is rather complicated, as the above photo gallery shows. Notching everything into the grille requires numerous components, and the nature of the design requires more power to the LEDs so they shine brightly through the parametric grille. In turn, that requires sensors to ensure temperatures don’t get too hot in the lenses, so yeah, getting clever on a design can certainly add complexity. And with all the components in this light assembly, it could be a fortune to replace in an accident.
Still, there’s no argument when it comes to unique styling these days from Hyundai. The SUV segment is positively filled with cookie-cutter shapes and the new Tucson absolutely stands out among the crowd. You can see it standing out on US shores in the spring of 2021, when it goes on sale as a 2022 model.
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