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Car reviews - Hyundai - i40 - Tourer 2.0 Elite wagon

The Car

25 Nov 2011

HYUNDAI is poised to leap into second place in Australia’s mid-size segment sales race behind only the dominant Toyota Camry with the release of the i40 Tourer, which is now on sale alongside the similarly sized i45 sedan in the Korean brand’s burgeoning line-up.

The company projects that the i40 wagon range – headlined by an all-new diesel engine with claimed best-in-class fuel efficiency and extensive Australian steering and suspension tuning – could sell between 300 and 400 units a month if it can maintain an adequate level of supply from Korea.

Attaining those sales figures would form a powerful double act with the i45 and potentially see the brand’s total segment sales overtake Ford and Mazda with their Mondeo and Mazda6 ranges.

The i45 sedan has enjoyed a sales spike in recent months and currently sits fourth in the segment with 3674 sales to the end of September, including a high of 529 units last month.

Meanwhile, Ford has sold 5227 Mondeos and Mazda6 sales have reached 4098 YTD, but the locally-built Camry remains comfortably the top-selling vehicle in the segment thanks largely to a strong fleet presence, with 13,934 sales.

Hyundai has also confirmed it is considering the Eurocentric i40 sedan for a possible local release in 2012 to sell alongside the i45 sedan, as Honda does with Accord and Accord Euro.

Hyundai Australia senior product planning manager Roland Rivero told GoAuto at the launch of the i40 Tourer it was “quite possible” that the sedan could be added to the range during 2012 and that the “the business case is being studied profusely”.

“That medium segment is quite a fragmented market, but you could simplistically divide it into two distinct areas,” he said.

“There’s those people who are happy to have a family car that does all the things that they need it to do – and I see those as Camry buyers, Accord wide-body buyers, i45 buyers – then there are those that are more ‘spirited’ drivers that buy a Mazda6, a Mondeo or a Kizashi.

“Because of that differentiation, there is an opportunity there for two different types of cars.

“The segment’s big enough if you look at what Mondeo and Mazda6 sell on the private market, that’s a fair amount of volume.

“Ultimately, we would like to increase our presence in every segment and therefore why not an i40 sedan? The business case is being studied profusely and there is a strong request from product planning.

“(But) our targets for i45 aren’t going to change just because we bring in an i40 sedan and as such we’ve got to make sure there’s a good business case where both can sell a reasonable volume and the dealer network doesn’t get, I guess, annoyed by the amount of variants.”

With prices starting from $32,490 (plus on-road costs) for the well-specified Active petrol manual variant, the i40 Tourer carries a $5500 premium over the cheapest i45 ($26,990).

At $34,490 for the entry-level automatic model, the i40 sits between the automatic Mazda6 petrol-powered Touring wagon ($34,750) and the entry-level automatic Ford Mondeo LX petrol wagon ($32,840).

The Touring was designed and engineered in Hyundai’s European research and development headquarters in Russelsheim, Germany, and continues its swooping ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language.

Bearing a strong resemblance to the i45, the i40 features Hyundai’s now-signature hexagonal grille and large, chiselled front bumper, alongside the familiar swooping body contours and high-waisted window line.

Power for the i40 comes courtesy of either a 2.0-litre GDI petrol from Hyundai’s ‘Nu’ engine family or a 1.7-litre common-rail direct-injection four-cylinder turbo-diesel – both of which can be paired to either a six-speed manual gearbox (entry-level Active variants only) or six-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel.

The petrol engine produces 130kW of power and 213Nm of torque at 4700rpm and uses a claimed 6.8 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle when matched to the manual transmission. Automatic variants use 7.5L/100km in entry-level Active guise and 7.7L/100km in heavier Elite and Premium spec levels.

While this powerplant shares its 2.0-litre capacity with the base model i45 Active sedan, it produces 9kW more power and 15Nm more torque courtesy of technologies like direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and two-step variable induction.

The 1.7-litre turbo-diesel produces 100kW of power and 330Nm (between 2000 and 2500rpm), or 320Nm when paired with the six-speed automatic.

Hyundai claims a frugal 4.7L/100km on the combined cycle for the Active diesel manual and up to 6.0L/100km for the automatic Elite and Premium variants. The car’s 70-litre fuel tank gives the Active manual a theoretical range of almost 1500km.

Carbon dioxide emissions range from 124 grams per kilometre for the entry-level manual through to 159g/km for the higher-spec automatic models.

The company expects petrol models to account for 60 per cent of sales.

Only entry-level Active variants can be had with both the auto and manual transmissions – each developed in-house by Hyundai – with the more expensive Elite and Premium variants only available in automatic guise.

The Active kicks off at $32,490 for the petrol-powered manual, while the six-speed auto adds $2000.

Standard equipment includes a four-speaker (with two tweeters) MP3-compatible sound system with USB and auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth compatibility, steering wheel audio and phone controls, remote keyless entry, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, full-size spare wheel and automatic headlights with daytime-running lights and static cornering function.

The mid-range Elite (starting at $39,490 in petrol automatic guise) gets additional features such as dual-zone climate control, front and rear park assist with eight sensors, power driver’s seat with electric lumbar support, premium four-speaker audio system with in-dash six-CD stacker, amplifier and subwoofer, rain-sensing wipers, push-button start with proximity key, cargo blind with safety net, fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Flagship Premium models ($44,490 for petrol auto) also pick up a 4.2-inch centre display, heated leather seats both front and rear, air ventilation and memory settings in the front, panoramic sunroof, rear-view camera and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The frugal diesel powerplant adds $2000 to the starting price on all variants while metallic paint adds a $450 premium across the range.

Last week ANCAP awarded the big Hyundai a maximum five-star safety rating based on its score in Euro NCAP.

The car is fitted with no fewer than nine airbags – driver and front passenger, front and rear thorax, side curtain and driver’s knee bag – and anti-whiplash front headrests.

Also standard are electronic stability control, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, cornering brake control and hill-start assist.

The car also includes a vehicle stability management system (VSM) which Hyundai claims can manage the safety systems more effectively by automatically applying them as needed, as well as providing counter-steering assistance for the driver in emergency situations.

Hyundai said the i40’s suspension and steering systems were specifically tuned and calibrated for Australian roads, undergoing thousands of kilometres of local testing.

The car uses MacPherson strut suspension up front, while at the rear is a multi-link system. A fuel-saving electric steering system is used rather than a conventional hydraulic set-up.

At 4770mm long, the i40 offers 1719 litres of cargo space with the 60:40 split folding rear seats in the downward position – 32 litres less than the Mazda6 wagon – and 553 litres with the rear pews upright.

The i40 is the same height as the i45 but 50mm shorter, 20mm narrower and rides on a 25mm-shorter wheelbase. Kerb weights range from 1574kg to 1659kg.

Interestingly, Hyundai’s target customers for the i40 are mainly 35-49 year old family men, while women will be “important influencers”.

While the company names the Mazda6 and Subaru Liberty wagons as its chief rivals, it also cites the low-slung Honda Odyssey people-mover as a key competitor, suggesting it will target a wide range of family-oriented vehicles with its newest model line.

Did you know?

Hyundai says that its 'Fluidic Sculpture' design language is inspired by the aesthetics of the natural world.

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