DETROIT – Hyundai Motor America’s new Curb concept vehicle, unveiled at the North American International Auto Show here today, was developed with the next-generation of Hyundai buyers in mind.

Dubbed a UAV for urban activity vehicle, the compact cross/utility vehicle is expected to serve as “a test bed for future Hyundai BlueLink (telematics) and vehicle-connected technology,” the auto maker says in a statement.

Designed at Hyundai’s California Design Center, the Curb has a tall hatchback profile with an aggressive look similar to the production Veloster coupe/hatchback Hyundai also debuts here today.

Designers note the Curb is made to traverse urban streets with potholes more so than tackle off-road routes.

“City driving was going to be (the Curb’s) forte, not crossing the Rubicon Trail, but we wanted it to have urban armor for daily driving on city streets,” says Hyundai designer Jason Brown. “It needed to empower its passengers in this setting.”

Design cues include a face made to resemble a sport-bike helmet shield, as the Curb’s glass “spills” onto the hood and wraps around the A-pillars.

A “boomerang trajectory bodyside line” is the key feature of the CUV’s profile, while rear exhaust vents pop out to reveal a bike rack.

A touchpad is used to open the Curb’s lighted clam-shell rear hatch and side doors.

Tires are 22-in. Michelins with a saffron-colored treads to echo the Curb’s interior.

Saffron accents “gradient across the seats,” Hyundai says. Seats are covered in a fast-drying and stretchy board-short material.

Other Curb interior design features include rocker panels that flow into the interior and 3-holed open truss structured A-pillars, which are made of a single milled piece of metal.

In-vehicle technology consists of a seemingly endless touchscreen that “flows like a river” from the Curb’s gauge cluster through to the back seat.

A monitor shows through the steering wheel’s “opaque surface,” and additional screens are mounted in the back of headrests.

A Continental AG head-up display is featured in the Curb and cameras that replace side mirrors are linked to the unit.

Expanding on the standard features of Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system, the Curb’s version has a location-sharing feature, allowing friends to see the car’s whereabouts on a navigation map.

A variety of light-emitting diodes are used to illuminate the exterior. Curb badging is lit through a one-way paint finish from Shmaze Custom Coatings of Lake Forest, CA.

The concept CUV is powered by Hyundai’s 1.6L Gamma 4-cyl. direct-injected engine mated to a dual-clutch transmission, both elements of the Veloster.

In the Curb, the 1.6L makes more horsepower however, 175 vs. 138 in the Veloster, and also adds Hyundai’s Idle Stop and Go stop/start technology to boost fuel economy above 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) highway.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com