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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2011 North American Auto Show in Detroit.
Hyundai Curb

What is it? Hyundai calls the Curb a "compact Urban Activity Vehicle--an SUV for those with an "active nightlife." We're not sure why an active nightlife would require an SUV, but maybe we don't want to know. Either way, the Curb is a car-based SUV, smaller than the Tucson, with absolutely no traditional SUV off-road ability. It uses the same 175-hp, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission as the compact Veloster. With start-stop technology to shut the engine down when the car is stopped, Hyundai hopes the Curb would get 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

What is new or notable? Like other new Hyundai's, the Curb uses Hyundai's new Bluelink telematics system, which can link with a cell phone to, for example, provide voice-activated text messaging, and even send text alerts if the car alarm is set off. It also provides turn-by-turn directions and automatic accident notification. For a car designed to sustain the rigors of urban potholes, Hyundai says it has focused on isolating all the high-tech electronics from road shocks. After spending a weekend on winding roads in a vehicle with a skipping hard drive, we cana appreciate that. 

CR's take: Were not sure how a good wagon or hatchback wouldnt meet the needs of most urban activities, but there seems to be room for a smaller crop of SUVs than what's currently considered small. Hyundai has had a string of excellent designs recently that deliver impressive fuel economy. But the companys latest small SUV, the Tucson, was unimpressive with a particularly jarring ride and excessive engine noise. We hope the company can provide a better experience when the Curb makes it to market. 

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