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Designated an Urban Activity Vehicle (UAV), the Hyundai Curb Concept is aimed at piquing the interest of a new generation of potential Hyundai buyers. In addition to avant-garde styling that puts a more youthful spin on the automaker's existing Fluidic Sculpture design language, the Curb is meant to serve as a rolling test bed that can showcase a number of present and future connectivity features that Hyundai is developing for its recently introduced Blue Link infotainment/telematics system.

Hyundai designer Jason Brown refers to the appearance of the Curb as "Tough Tech," a look that conveys a sense of urban armor that melds its protective essence with a decidedly high profile. The Curb's extended windshield that wraps around its slim-line A-pillars recalls the face shield on a sport bike while a prominent grille, innovative LED front/rear lighting treatments, a panoramic glass roof and boomerang-shaped body side sculpting further add to the Curb's appeal, as do a set of 22-inch five-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in custom Michelin tires with saffron accents that match the Curb's interior trim color.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Hyundai's UAV makes an equally strong visual statement when seen from the rear. Like its side doors -- one for the driver and two on the passenger side for easier rear-seat access -- the Curb's large clamshell hatch opens via touchpad surface. A special One-Way paint developed by Shamze Custom Coatings allows the Curb name to be projected literally through the exterior finish. As a final flourish, the Curb features pop-up roof rack towers and a bike rack that pops out and up from its exhaust vents.

To help link the Curb's exterior with its cabin, the rocker panels extend into the passenger compartment, which is rendered in black, white and saffron. All of the seats are covered in a stretchy, quick-dry "board short" material. In addition to offering fore/aft adjustability, the rear perches also can be folded down to increase utility. 

Recognizing the increasing importance to connectivity to Gen Y and younger buyers, the Curb offers a plethora of displays and surfaces that can keep all on board fully linked to each other and the outside world. The centerpiece is giant acrylic touch-sensitive multi-purpose screen that runs from the dash and center console to the rear seat area. The driver gets critical information -- including navigation, vehicle diagnostics and inputs from the side-view camera that replace conventional mirrors -- courtesy of a new Heads Up Display developed by Continental while individual LCD screens in the front seatbacks offer entertainment to the Curb's rear-seat occupants.

Hyundai's new Blue Link telematics system also commands its share of the Curb limelight, providing a comprehensive array of services from navigation guidance and Automatic Crash Notification and Assistance to remote lock/unlock/start, theft protection/recovery functions and vehicle diagnostic/maintenance notifications. The Curb's package offers several innovative touches, including a new Blue Link Location Sharing feature. Using information sent to its dedicated website, Location Sharing can securely facilitate impromptu meetups of those invited by allowing a vehicle's position to appear as a point of interest on the Curb's navigation screen.

Motivating the Hyundai Curb Concept is a turbocharged version of the firm's 1.6-liter direct-injected Gamma four-cylinder engine that makes 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. It's backed by a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and coupled with economy-enhancing Idle Stop and Go (ISG) start/stop technology. Hyundai says the combination will allow the Curb to return 30+ mph in the city and 40+ mpg on the highway.

No word on production plans for the Curb, but given Hyundai's take-no-prisoners approach to the market, it seems possible that some variation on the theme may well be moving its way through the future product pipeline.

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