2019 Hyundai Nexo First Drive: Hydrogen Cars Are Real, And Really Good

– Seoul, South Korea

Hydrogen-powered vehicles have always seemed to live somewhere between the technology of tomorrow, and a green-leaning pipe dream. A daily driver that runs on the most plentiful element in the known universe, converts it to electric motivation, and expels only water and clean air, has for years seemed functionally unobtainable.

The timetable for the viability of hydrogen fuel cell cars may still be very debatable, but the desirability of the Hyundai Nexo package is likely to be more easily accepted. To start, where Toyota and Honda have given their FCVs fugly forms, the Hyundai comes to market with cool styling and the small-SUV form factor so many buyers are shopping for today.

I’m not sure how this detailing will stand up against the test of time, but circa 2018 the Nexo looks fresh. Super wide and trim LED lighting elements help to balance the angular grille – a feature that looks slicker on my matte gray test car than in some of the other colors. Overall the front fascia brings a hint of the avant garde to a sleek two-box silhouette that’s otherwise kind of conventional. Out back, triangular taillight clusters are sure to give the Nexo an unmissable signature after dark.

2019 Hyundai Nexo

The Nexo’s cabin is rather fashion-forward, too. The interior is dominated by a very large – 12.3-inch – infotainment system, and underscored by a stylish metallic trim that stretches across one’s forward view. Rendered in the kind of dusky-gold and grayish-blue color palette that ...