Few average consumers want true off-road-capable SUVs these days, preferring comfort, fuel economy, and ease of driving to all-out utility. Still, most want an vehicle that looks off-road ready, even if it's nowhere close. Witness the Hyundai Curb Concept.
It's roughly the size of the Hyundai Tucson and shares that crossover's wheelbase, though it looks more like a Kia Sportage crossed with a GMC Terrain and finished with Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture styling language. Wearing 22-inch wheels and low-profile tires, the Curb is designed for what Hyundai's calling the "Urban Off-Road," which doesn't make any sense to us, either.
What they're trying to say is that Curb is designed for people who live downtown but like the space and versatility that SUVs and crossovers offer. Think hip station wagon. It's got cool features like tie-downs that sink down into the roof and hide when not in use, exhaust tips that pop out to reveal a bicycle rack and swipe-able touch pads that replace conventional door handles. We also like the "open-truss" A-pillars that increase outward visibility and the all-touchscreen interior controls.
The Curb also debuts Hyundai's new Blue Link interface set to take on Ford's popular Sync with a host of new tricks. Included on the list are Pandora internet radio, detailed point-of-interest look-up, a "location sharing" feature that shows everyone on your friends list where you are at the moment and, of course, turn-by-turn directions.
To traditional SUV fans, the idea of vehicles that look like SUVs but are built strictly for the pavement is absurd, but given the growth of the crossover segment, vehicles like the Curb are likely to become more and more common.