A car's visual appeal is usually the most direct route to the customer's heart, but connectivity is growing in importance as a purchase consideration. Hyundai's aptly named Curb concept at this year's 2011 Detroit show has enough show, both inside and out, to satisfy both desires.
Penned with Generation Y in mind (what isn't these days?), the Hyundai Curb concept is an experimental "Urban Activity Vehicle" -- that's Hyundai's PR speak for an urban-focused compact crossover. It's the 12th signature concept vehicle drawn from the company's California Design Center, and shares the Tucson's 103.9-inch wheelbase, but it is shorter, narrower, and loses more than three inches of height to appease the younger consumer. Elements of Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design philosophy are obvious, especially in the boomerang trajectory design line on the flanks. A third rear door is grafted to the passenger side, a la the Veloster.
Curbside gawkers will notice the third door, and that the black A-pillars give the Curb a unique presence from the front and sides. Gargantuan concept-style 22-inch, five-spoke wheels aren't normally found on crossovers, let alone small ones, but this concept has them. The wheel spokes that latch to the Michelin tire sidewalls to exude a heartier profile. The thin headlights and taillights have been designed to look as though they're retreating into the body.
Like any good concept, there is plenty of one-off future-tech wizardry. Swipable touchpads open the doors and the rear hatch, eliminating the need for handles. The exhaust outlets can pop out to reveal a bike rack, and the roof has a pop-up roof rack. LED lighting is the new standard, and Shamze Custom Coatings placed the Curb name in the paint.
The Curb's interior is the party piece. Hyundai's all-new Blue Link telematics system is on board, allowing youngsters to connect to their Facebook pages and leaves an open path for future social media platforms. An engrossing acrylic touch screen sweeps from the driver's gauge cluster to the center stack and toward the back seats in a single continuous flow, like something in a sci-fi spaceship. Rear passengers can enjoy the monitors carved into the headrests, and Pandora Internet radio is available for occupants.