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Driven: Hyundai shakes up i40 range

Oily bits: Hyundai has cut back its i40 sedan range, leaving petrol power to the new Sonata and going it alone with a new diesel/DSG combination for the revised i40 four-door.

Diesel/DSG combo only choice for i40 sedan as Hyundai revamps ‘other’ mid-size range

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Hyundai logo5 Jun 2015

By TIM ROBSON

HYUNDAI has overhauled its European-inspired i40 mid-sizer in a bid to clearly separate it from the new-generation Sonata, deleting petrol power from the sedan and cutting back on model variants of both the four-door and the Tourer wagon.

The 2.0-litre GDi four-cylinder petrol engine remains available on the wagon, but the 1.7-litre CRDi turbo-diesel – also still available on the Tourer – is now the sole powertrain in service on the i40 sedan.

Hyundai Motor Co Australia (HMCA) has also moved to delete the mid-series Elite grade from both sedan and Tourer wagon line-ups, leaving only the entry-level Active and the range-topping Premium lines.

Prices have dropped by between $1500 and $3600 with the i40 Series II that was launched late last month but officially reaches showrooms this week.

The Active diesel sedan now starts at $33,090 plus on-road costs (down $1500), while the Premium diesel sedan falls by $3600 to kick off from $41,990.

In a major boost for the wagon, the petrol-powered Active Tourer is now the entry-level model to the i40 range, priced from $32,990 (-$1500), while the petrol Premium comes in at $41,390 (-$3600).

Similarly, the diesel-powered Tourers each benefit from $3600 reduction, with the Active CRDi at $35,090 and the Premium at $43,990.

“Our goal is to offer medium segment buyers – both private and corporate – the widest possible choice of body shells and drivetrains to meet their needs,” said HMCA director of marketing Oliver Mann.

Mr Mann said the i40 petrol sedan has been “superseded” in Hyundai’s range by the new Sonata sedan, which offers a 138kW/241Nm 2.4-litre naturally aspirated engine and a 180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo – both paired with a conventional six-speed torque-converter automatic.

A key selling point for the latest i40 diesel is the introduction of Hyundai’s new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Power output for the 1.7-litre CRDi engine has also jumped from 100kW to 104kW at 4000rpm, while peak torque has leapt from 320Nm to 340Nm from 1750-2500rpm.

Combined-cycle fuel economy with the new seven-speed DCT is now 5.1 litres per 100km, down from 5.6L/100km.

Petrol-powered Tourers continue with the regular six-speed automatic gearbox, while the 2.0 GDi petrol engine has been tweaked to improve low-end torque.

Performance figures remain the same, with power at 121kW at 6200rpm and torque of 203Nm at 4700rpm.

Fuel consumption has been improved by some three per cent to 7.5L/100km.

HMCA’s local chassis tuning team has also gone to work on the i40 Series II, reducing the size of the front anti-roll bar and tweaking the car’s dampers and spring rates in conjunction with an upgrade in the electric steering control module.

More than 30 different suspension tunes were trialled across both diesel and petrol variants for the new series, as well as with both 16- and 17-inch wheel sizes.

Externally, the i40’s front bumper has been redesigned, while a Veloster-like grille with a chrome surround has been fitted.

New projector-beam headlight units mounted in blacked-out headlight housings incorporate a redesigned LED strip for the daytime running lights. The LED tail-lights also have been revised, while Premium variants score new LED foglights in lieu of the previous incandescent lights.

New alloy wheels are also specced on both variants, with twin-spoke silver 16-inch rims on the Active and a machined-faced 17-inch design for the Premium.

The i40 has received a tickle-up on the inside, too, with a new 4.3-inch touchscreen replacing the previous dot-matrix set-up.

In addition to the existing AM/FM radio, CD player, USB/aux inputs and MP3 compatibility, the upgraded system offers digital iPod connectivity (previously analogue), as well as a media ripping/storage facility.

As a result, models at the Active grade benefit from the addition of a rearview camera as standard spec, thanks to the new screen.

A rear armrest storage box with flip-up cover has also been fitted for rear-seat passengers.

Sales of the i40 are down 21 per cent so far this year, with 929 new registrations to the end of May. The new Sonata, meanwhile, has posted 570 sales since launch in January.

Both cars are competing in a segment that is flush with new and revised competitors, including Toyota’s just-launched new-look Camry, Subaru’s new-generation Liberty – two models that have also introduced aggressive pricing – and Ford’s hi-tech new Mondeo.

Hyundai i40 pricing*
Sedan
Active CRDi (a)$33,090
Premium CRDi (a)$41,990
Tourer
Active GDi (a)$32,490
Premium GDi (a)$41,390
Active CRDi (a)$35,090
Premium CRDi (a)$43,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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