|Hyundai HCD-12 Curb Concept|
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Hyundai California Design Center and Hyundai Motor America have presented the world debut of the Hyundai Curb Concept vehicle during a press conference at the Detroit International Auto Show. Curb is a compact Urban Activity Vehicle (UAV) for the next generation of Hyundai buyers. Curb is also a test bed for future Hyundai Blue Link and vehicle connectivity technology for the U.S. market.
The inspiration for Curb came from the need to evolve Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language for younger buyers. Hyundai designers wanted to create a vehicle loaded with technology that was at home in an urban environment with potholes and densely packed nightclubs on the streets. The vehicle needed to secure the advanced Blue Link and connectivity features against impact and shock. From these ideas, the 'technology rugged' design direction for Curb was formed.
"We wanted the Curb to be urban tough without looking like a Brink's truck," said Jason Brown, Hyundai designer. "City driving was going to be its forte, not crossing the Rubicon trail, but we wanted it to have urban armor for daily driving on city streets. It needed to empower its passengers in this setting."
The Curb's design starts with the glass that spills into the hood and wraps around the cowl, covering the A-pillars. This look resembles the face shield of a sport bike motorcycle helmet. Beneath the glass are structural trusses with the glass panels applied like a shield.
"The truss frame structure going up the pillars helps increase greater visibility in dense urban environments," said John Krsteski, Curb design manager. The striking profile is dominated by a boomerang trajectory body side line. This dominant line brings the entire design together and reinforces the feeling of strength with its positive and negative shapes. Thin, sleek head lamps and tail lamps dive into the vehicle, creating the illusion they are connected into the engine compartment or interior. To complete the 'technology rugged' look, designers added 22-inch five spoke wheels and Michelin tyres with a custom saffron coloured tread pattern to match the interior. These wheels have spokes set into the tyres to make them have a more pronounced profile. To enter the Curb, one simply drags their finger across a touch pad to open the doors.
The exhaust vents serve a dual purpose. They pop out to reveal a bike rack so the owner could park and ride a "Fixie" (fixed gear) bicycle to the rest of his destinations as an alternative transportation source. The roof also features pop-up roof rack towers, demonstrating the perfect blend of being rugged, yet high-tech. Curb has a lighted clam shell rear hatch, also opened via a touchpad for loading gear and a third rear access door for easy passenger ingress and egress.
At start-up, the Curb's numerous LED lights illuminate sequentially, starting with the outside rows and the Curb's badging illuminates through the paint. Shmaze Custom Coatings developed the One-Way paint finish allowing the Curb name to illuminate through the paint.
Connectivity is the theme for the interior, which is why information flows seamlessly from outside to inside of the Curb.
"The goal was to make sure passengers felt connected to each other and the urban environment around them," said Bradley Arnold, Curb interior designer. "We wanted to empower the passengers with information and make them feel that the exterior was connected to the interior."
A large acrylic screen with multiple zones allows information to be passed between passengers all via a touch screen that appears endless. It flows like a river, from the gauge cluster to the center stack controls, across the instrument panel and all the way into back seat. The steering wheel itself is an opaque surface with a monitor showing through. There are also monitors in the back of the headrests. A Heads Up Display (HUD) provided by Continental, with navigation, keeps the drivers eyes on the road, while passengers search for their favourite channel on Pandora. Drivers are able to navigate their music via a 3-D carousel of album cover art as well as view the related cover art for a currently playing track. Cameras replace the side mirrors and are linked to the HUD. The screen can also display vehicle diagnostics, download apps and act as a video phone, all with a single touch sensor control strip provided by Methode.
To bring the outside look inside, the Curb designers had the rocker panels flow into the interior of the vehicle to create a seamless design. The Curb links its interior and exterior designs together by having the rocker panels viewable from the exterior flow into the interior. The three-holed open truss structured A-pillars enhance the driver's cornering visibility, structurally support the roof, and are made from a single milled piece. This metal structure connects everything together. Saffron accents inside match the ones on the tyres. The saffron accents gradient across the seats, which are made of super-stretch, fast-drying board short material. Thin seats have been visible in concept cars for decades. Now there are materials, like those found in running shoes, making seats like these possible. The Curb features Air Bladder seats from Finn Tech that are less than five centimetres thick. These thin seats maximise interior space while supplying surprising comfort. The rear bench seat also has forward and aft movement.
When it comes to storage capacity, Curb has rear head rests mounted to its robust frame, rather than to the seats. These head rests swivel up into the roof, allowing the rear seats to fold flat.
Generation-Y drivers want to stay connected at all times. Inside the Curb, a driver could be listening to their favourite station on Pandora, cruising the city and get a phone call from a friend. Using Blue Link, the caller's location shows up as a Point-of-Interest (POI). The friend tells the driver he just discovered a great band playing at a local club and invites him to come. His location then becomes the destination for the turn-by-turn directions.
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