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Do you need a car with a tent for a roof? Hyundai thinks you do

Hyundai Veloster front angle

You certainly couldn’t accuse Hyundai of thinking too conventionally when it comes to the Veloster, the car with more doors on one side than the other was always a bold styling decision. Now Hyundai has brought a version with a canvas roof which slides to open either in the front or in the back. Called the C3 (“C” for convertible, “3” for the number of doors), the main differences are really pretty easy to explain, there’s a hole in the roof covered with canvas and a tailgate. That’s a pretty unusual combination of features for a car, but they are not without their uses. Hyundai demonstrated just how useful this setup was at the unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show by stowing a bike in the back. This would normally be a real task for a car this size, but not so for the C3.

There is a certain hauling potential here, and that might attract some buyers. But the roof can also slide in the other direction and serve as a massive sunroof, and this is likely to be the more common application. This setup is certain to be cheaper than a traditional convertible. The engine is the same as the Veloster Turbo, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower.

Theere is no way to avoid mentioning it: the C3 is weird-looking. That might work for you, but it doesn’t make it not weird. The front wheels are black while the back ones are teal. The mirrors are red and there are black accents all over. Then Hyundai decided to call more attention to this by choosing a matching color scheme for the bike. Hyundai is definitely trying to appeal to young people with this car, and Chris Chapman, Hyundai Design North America’s chief designer, said at the debut that “The Veloster C3 Roll Top concept offers the ‘no strings attached’ freedom of a roll top convertible and customizable utility that fits an everyday to a play day dual lifestyle.” Then going on to say “We were inspired by the proverb ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss.” I’m not really sure what any of that is supposed to mean exactly either, but a sliding canvas roof and tailgate aren’t bad ideas, and it will be interesting to see if they make it into production.