DETROIT -- Hyundai is poised to take a crack at the youth market with the Curb, a rakish, snub-nosed compact crossover revealed today at the Detroit show.
The Curb, which Hyundai calls an “urban activity vehicle,” is smaller than Hyundai's Tucson crossover and roughly the size of the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke.
It is the first concept car by Phil Zak, chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif., who joined Hyundai in 2009 from General Motors Europe.
If approved for production, the Curb would mark another step in Hyundai's wide-ranging product ambitions, adding a youth-oriented small car to a lineup that is moving upscale.
The concept is packed with technology, including a 12-inch head-up display and Hyundai's new Blue Link telematics system. The concept vehicle is powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engine from Hyundai's Gamma engine family. Hyundai says the engine will produce 175 hp and get at least 30 mpg in the city and more than 40 mpg on the highway.
Hyundai says the Curb represents the next phase of its “fluidic sculpture” design language that inspired the current Sonata, Tucson and Elantra.
The concept sits on a unique chassis, but expect a production version to use Hyundai's compact platform -- the basis of the new Elantra.
With the Curb's edgy, boxy design and futuristic cockpit -- in vibrant yellow, blue, and purple hues -- Hyundai is taking aim at younger buyers also being chased by brands such as Mini, Kia and Scion.
But sales of quirky, boxy design vehicles targeting young buyers have been mixed.
The Kia Soul had a good year in 2010, its first full year on the market. Kia sold 67,110. But Honda is killing the Element in part because it failed to draw younger buyers to the brand.