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First Look: Hyundai Curb Concept

Small crossover could make sense as a production vehicle if fuel prices continue to rise.

by on Jan.10, 2011

The Hyundai Curb Concept isn't production ready, but with a few detail changes, it could see production in the future.

Hyundai must be serious about improving the fuel economy of its fleet. How else to describe the wave of small cars that are on the horizon for the Korean automaker? There’s the Veloster hatchback, which was introduced at the 2011 Detroit auto show, and Hyundai has confirmed a five-door Accent for the U.S. market. And now, there’s the Curb Concept, which, like the Veloster, was unveiled in Detroit.

The Curb isn’t a production-ready car — it sports future tech that isn’t quite ready for prime time. But it’s not a pie-in-the-sky concept, either. It’s not hard to envision this small crossover making it into production with toned-down styling and more-conventional technology.

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Speaking of styling, the Curb is an exercise in the company’s “fluidic sculpture” theme, and the end result is a slightly boxy theme with plenty of softened and rounded edges. It’s probably a little too out there for mainstream tastes, but with some adjustments, it would be a good vehicle for fighting the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube, and Scion xB.

One of the more interesting design features is the windshield — the glass wraps around the A-pillar. This design element is a nod to motorcycle helmets, but it also should improve forward visibility.


Hyundai Veloster: Two-door or Four-door? Yes

Three years later, oddball Veloster set to go into production.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Hyundai's Veloster is oddball small coupe that is expected to start at about $17,000 when it goes on sale this summer.

Not satisfied with one small, sporty coupe, Hyundai has brought the Veloster to production to sit in the stable alongside the Genesis Coupe. That doesn’t mean the Veloster is a spiritual sibling to the Gen Coupe. Far from it. The Gen Coupe is a rear-drive track attacker that intends to play with the Camaro and Mustang. The Veloster is a urban bomber — John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America’s president and CEO, said that Veloster drivers won’t get ticketed when driving at nine-tenths.

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Unlike the Gen Coupe, the Veloster is front-wheel drive and will be available with only one available engine: A 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. A rumored 200-horsepower turbo never materialized, but one could still be sold in the future. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters. Wheel choices are either 17-inch or 18-inch. Suspension is a McPherson strut and coil springs up front, and what Hyundai calls a V-torsion beam rear suspension in back. Hyundai says that the Veloster will weigh 2,584 pounds at minimum with the manual trans, and that it can achieve up to 40 mpg highway (EPA ratings aren’t certified yet). (more…)