The Curb is Hyundai’s 12th concept vehicle designed at the company’s California Design Center in Irvine, hence its HCD-12 code. Described as “a compact UAV for Generation Y living an urban lifestyle with an active night life,” the Curb’s world debut in Detroit carried a far greater purpose than being an excuse to use every trendy marketing cliché in the book.
“The Curb showed Hyundai’s new design language for its crossover utilities, and points to the next-generation Tucson,” observed Mike Jackson, Senior Manager of North American Vehicle Forecasts for IHS Automotive. It also serves as a prototype platform for future Hyundai Blue Link telematics technology.
The concept’s inspiration came from the need to evolve Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design language for younger buyers. The fluidic language has played a major role in the current Sonata’s strong sales performance and also is used on the all-new 2011 Elantra.
On the HCD-12, wraparound glazing supported by structural trusses envelopes the A pillars. Combined with a truncated engine compartment, the overall look is almost like a cab-over truck. It was described by one veteran autowriter as “a 21st century take on the classic VW Microbus.”
The open-trussed-glass construction helps increase occupants’ visibility in dense urban traffic environments, according to HCD-12’s Design Manager, John Krsteski. The tall bodysides, thin head- and taillamps, and mammoth 22-in-diameter wheels help lend the appearance of a full size SUV.
The Curb is 164.2 in (4170 mm) long and rides on a 103.9-in (2639-mm) wheelbase. Overall width is 70.9 in (1801 mm). Claimed curb weight is 2800 lb (1270 kg).
To improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics, rear-facing cameras replace the side mirrors and are linked to a head-up display (HUD) supplied by Continental, which also provided the Curb's Autolinq operating system.
A TouchSense touch pad, supplied by Methode Electronics and integrated into each door's outer panel, controls door opening and closing when a finger is dragged lightly across it. The clamshell-type rear hatch also is actuated by a TouchSense pad.
Curb is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-L direct-injected gasoline four-cylinder from the Gamma engine family, mated to a twin-clutch direct shift gearbox (DSG). Claimed engine output is 175 hp (131 kW) and 169 lb•ft (229 N•m). The powertrain is configured for the company’s Idle Stop and Go (ISG) start-stop system and when installed in the Curb is claimed to be capable of more than 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway U.S. EPA fuel economy.
A Blue Link test platform
Curb is outfitted with Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Blue Link is Hyundai’s response to General Motors' OnStar and other OEMs’ systems. It offers similar features including remote driver-to-vehicle connectivity; automated crash notification and SOS emergency assistance; turn-by-turn directions; point-of-interest (POI) web search and download; automated diagnostics; stolen vehicle recovery; and vehicle immobilization.
Blue Link’s Location Sharing feature allows occupants to send their vehicle's location to select members of a social networking site. If a friend has accepted the owner’s invitation to Location Sharing, then that location will show up as a POI on the navigation screen.
Hyundai is using the AirFrame embedded connectivity solution supplied by Aeris. Blue Link will first enter production on the 2011 Sonata this spring. The 2012 Veloster coupe will be the second application. The rest of Hyundai’s model range is expected to have Blue Link by 2013.