Fascination: Hyundai Casper : Good Spirit

The Suzuki Jimny is edgier, the Fiat Panda Cross more playful, but the Hyundai Casper puts a smile on your face.

Fascination: Hyundai Casper : Good Spirit

The Suzuki Jimny is edgier, the Fiat Panda Cross more playful, but the Hyundai Casper puts a smile on your face. Casper? There was something. Right. That's the name of the friendly ghost in the cartoon of the same name. And that's exactly what the Koreans had in mind when naming the small SUV, as the smiling face on the C-pillar shows. A kind of Easter Egg in the best Jeep manner. "The Casper is the cross between a Jeep Wrangler and the Fiat 500," says designer Simon Loasby with a smile and puts his hand almost tenderly on the roof of the tiny crossover, next to which a Mini Countryman looks pretty massive.

The concept of crossing a feel-good small car with an iconic SUV is pretty clever and it works. The good spirit has been part of the street scene in Seoul for a year and is greeted warmly as soon as it appears. No wonder, the friendly smiling front with the googly eyes and the huge air intakes, which, according to Simon Loasby, are inspired by the Porsche Turbo, smiles so mischievously that you can't be angry at all. The implied underride protection exudes so much masculinity that the young women of the country immediately feel protected. But men are also quickly on first name terms with the Casper, such as the head of state Moon Jaei, who has also secured a Casper.

He's not the only one. Around 19,000 Koreans bought it on the first day of ordering and paid at least 13,000 euros (18,000 won). The Casper is a complete success and also puts the Hyundai managers in a good mood and fills their coffers. After all, it is the only small car that made it into the top ten of South Korean registration statistics.

And with good reason: With its length of 3.60 meters, the Casper can be moved easily in a metropolis like Seoul, fits into almost any parking space, comes through all narrow streets and whirls smoothly around tight corners. With the traffic jams and the average speed on the streets of the South Korean capital, it doesn't matter that the basic version with 56 kW / 76 hp is pretty tired on the road. The supercharged three-cylinder with 74 kW / 100 hp is much more committed. As befits an Asian small car, an automatic takes over the switching processes, which does not necessarily contribute to the temperament of the front-wheel drive.

The attribute "clever" also applies to the interior. Impressive what the developers got out of the wheelbase of 2.40 meters. Even adult Central Europeans can find space on the two-part rear seat, whose elements can also be adjusted in length. The real Rolls-Royce feeling comes when you fold the backrest of the passenger seat completely forward, put your feet on it and stretch out comfortably. In a pinch, you can also transport the famous shelf from the Swedish hardware store. If you can't tear yourself away from his friendly spirit, you can order a perfectly dimensioned mattress from an accessories store, lay it over both seating elements and spend the night in the small car. The dog basket or the child seat, which can be attached with an easy-to-use device, seem almost conventional.

Two-tone hard plastic reigns in the interior, but that doesn't matter at all with this cuddly figurehead. On the contrary, anyone who doesn't feel comfortable in the colorful surroundings is definitely in the wrong car. The fact that the cup holders are connected directly to the driver's seat only increases the lounge feeling. Anyone who thinks that the Casper is only on the road with simple technology is very wrong. After all, the trendy crossover is based on the Hyundai K1 platform and thus shares the technology with the Kia Picanto or the Hyundai i10. So the driver is happy about a lane guidance assistant, seat ventilation and a navigation system that even warns of speed cameras and speed bumps.

We're sure this car would find friends in Germany too, but there's bad news. The rolling ghost is not coming to Europe for the time being. But that was already the case with many cars that did appear on German roads. We would definitely be for it!