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First look: Hyundai uncovers new i40 wagon

European estate: Hyundai’s all-new i40 wagon could rival the popular Mazda6 wagon in Australia next year.

All-new i40 emerges as Hyundai Australia considers a wagon sibling for i45 sedan

21 Dec 2010

HYUNDAI has lifted the lid on its all-new mid-size wagon for Europe, where it has been confirmed to wear the i40 nameplate that is also likely to be seen on Australian roads within a year.

Revealed here for the first time in official renderings ahead of its formal public debut at the Geneva motor show in March, the i40 is under evaluation for local release but an Australian launch date has yet to be confirmed.

Australian Hyundai executives previously revealed the VF-codenamed i40 would follow the closely related YF-series i45 sedan – which went on sale here in May – on sale here within about 12 months and remain openly enthusiastic about the company’s inaugural mid-size wagon, which would be Hyundai’s first direct rival for the Mazda6 wagon.

“It will offer us a wagon to complement the i45 sedan,” Hyundai Motor Company Australia director of marketing Oliver Mann told GoAuto during a visit to South Korea last month, when we witnessed a production-ready i40 being tested at its massive Namyang development centre.

1 center imageLeft, top and bottom: Hyundai's new i40 wagon Centre: Hyundai's i-flow concept.The i40 wagon will be followed later in 2011 by an i40 sedan, which was previewed by the ‘i-flow’ concept at this year’s Geneva show but will not be sold alongside the i45 sedan and i40 wagon here, where Hyundai wants to be come a top-three player in a mid-size vehicle class dominated by Toyota’s Camry and the Mazda6.

According to Hyundai Motor Europe, the all-new D-segment estate “aims to further shift European consumer perception of Hyundai to a more aspirational position, thanks to the vehicle’s dynamic design and class-leading quality, performance and technical features”.

“We have bold ambitions for Hyundai in Europe and the new i40 will provide the momentum we need to achieve our goals in 2011 and beyond,” said HME vice-president Allan Rushforth.

“We expect the quality of the new i40 to continue the development of our image in Europe and attract new customers to the Hyundai brand.

“The i40 perfectly combines the four elements that have become core Hyundai values: practicality, performance, efficiency, and styling. Our designers and engineers have produced a car that encapsulates what European motorists look for in a D-segment vehicle.”

While the i45 was designed in South Korea alongside the new Optima sedan from Hyundai’s sister company Kia, the i40 wagon and sedan were styled at Hyundai’s European R&D facilities at Rüsselsheim in Germany, as the company’s first D-segment model specifically developed for the European market.

Although the production version is less flamboyant than the i-flow concept that preceded it, the i40 wears a development of Hyundai’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language already seen on the i45, with which it shares its bold body-side surface creases but adds a revised version of the company’s signature hexagonal front grille.

While the i45 is a four-cylinder petrol-only model (turbocharged and hybrid versions are available for North America’s version, which continues to be badged as the Sonata), the i40 is expected to debut Hyundai’s an all-new 103kW/330Nm 1.7-litre turbo-diesel engine, though Europe will also get 2.0 and 2.2-litre diesels plus 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol engines.

Hyundai’s new small-capacity diesel is yet to be officially revealed, but the i-flow concept was powered by Hyundai’s first diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, which matched a 1.7-litre engine with two-stage turbocharging, a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and a lithium-ion polymer battery pack to emit just 85g/km of CO2.

Hyundai says the i40 will be its most innovative model in Europe, thanks to environmental technologies developed under the company’s Blue Drive eco-program and a powertrain line-up that boasts “best-in-class performance and fuel economy, and very low CO2 emissions”.

Riding on a 2800mm wheelbase, the i-flow concept was shorter, lower and wider than the i45 at 4780mm long, 1850mm wide and 1420mm high. The i45/Sonata is 4820mm long, 1835mm wide and 1470mm high, and sits on a 2795mm wheelbase.

If the i40 makes it Down Under in 2011, it will likely cap a busy year for Hyundai in Australia, where the new MD-series i35 (Elantra small sedan replacement) id due on sale in the second quarter, followed by the new light-sized RB-series i25 (Accent) sedan in the third quarter, the all-new FS-series Veloster coupe and, perhaps, the i10 micro-hatch.

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