January 12, 2011
Curb Concept is a compact urban activity vehicle aimed at younger buyers. The crew at Hyundai’s California Design Center aimed to create a vehicle loaded with technology but at home in cities with potholes and nightclubs and landed on a “technology rugged” direction.
The Curb’s dramatic wrap-around windshield resembles a sport motorcycle helmet and provides maximum visibility. The angular rear windows give the vehicle an edgy look and the impression it’s in motion. The Michelin tires are an eye-popping 22 inches, with five-spoke wheels and a custom saffron color tread pattern that matches the interior. Dragging a finger across a touchpad opens the doors.
“We wanted the Curb to be urban tough without looking like a Brink’s truck,” said Hyundai Designer Jason Brown. “City driving its going to be its forte, not crossing the Rubicon Trail, but we wanted it to have urban armor for daily driving on city streets.”
The Curb is powered by a turbo-charged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a direct shift gearbox, offering 175 horsepower and 169 lb. ft. of torque. Hyundai expects the Curb to get 30-plus miles to the gallon in the city and 40-plus on the highway.
The Curb is a test bed for future Hyundai Blue Link vehicle connectivity, the system the automaker just unveiled last week at the Consumers Electronic Show. Hyundai envisions the next generation of Blue Link will be able to let an owner’s friend who is elsewhere can call about his or her cool new location and the system then translates that as the destination for the turn-by-turn directions.
JEAN HALLIDAY is a seasoned journalist with the nation’s longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean’s blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.