Many moons ago, the dad-joke examples given for the definition of “oxymoron” were jumbo shrimp and military intelligence. Today, the best example has to be micro-SUV, the cutest example of that oxymoron being the Hyundai Casper. The Casper’s been designed to do business in markets like India, where “micro-SUV” describes the class of vehicle the Casper will do battle with, equally dinky fare with equally quirky names and four equally pygmy doors like the Tata Punch, Maruti Suzuki Ignis, Renault Kiger, and Nissan Magnite.
Unlike the competitors, Hyundai went to the U.S. for the Casper’s name, and not to the ghost, but the very alive skateboarder Bobby “Casper” Boyden, who invented the Casper flip skateboard trick. Successful completion of the Casper turns the board around while moving in the original direction of travel, Hyundai making the allusion that the Casper micro-SUV flips expectations of what can be done with such a tiny package. Micro, like all other size terms, is relative, remember, so while the Casper is about 18 inches shorter in length than the Hyundai Venue we currently get, it’s 1.5 inches longer than the Fiat 500 we used to get.
Launching in South Korea later this year, it’s built on the same K1 platform as the i10 city car and powered by a choice of two 1.0-liter three-cylinder engines and a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that are also used in the i10. Two 1.0-liters have been outed for South Korea, a naturally aspirated version with 76 horsepower and a turbocharged rendition with 99 horsepower. The 1.2-liter is reportedly headed to India making 83 horsepower. Rumor has it that an all-electric version with a compact integrated BorgWarner drive unit will join the lineup in 2023.
As for its features, all we have to note at the moment are those we can can see outside until Hyundai releases all the specs and info. But just like puppies and bunnies don’t need explanation, the Casper’s mien doesn’t need words to issue the same command conveyed by every insanely cute animal ever: “Just look at me.”
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