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Hyundai's mid-sized i45 ditches cut-price advantage in duel against big guns

21 May 2010

HYUNDAI says its all-new i45 is strategically important in Australia, where it hopes the sleek medium sedan will continue the Korean brand’s stellar sales growth. There’s no reason its striking exterior styling, slick new direct-injection engine and six-speed automatic transmission, impressive design and build quality, high refinement levels and unrivalled standard equipment list won’t attract more customers than its unloved predecessor, the Sonata. Despite the Hyundai mid-sizer’s new-found sexiness, however, the i45 is far from perfect and comes with a pricetag to match many of its established rivals. So it remains to be seen whether the i45 can penetrate the accomplished Mazda6’s solid private customer base, without the bargain-basement prices for which Hyundai has become known.
Model release date: 1 May 2010 to 1 January 2013

Previous model

Hyundai Sonata

Released: July 2005
Ended: May 2010
Family Tree: i45

HYUNDAI’S previous mid-size sedan was the Sonata that replaced the original EF-series model in Australia in July 2005. Offering new four-cylinder and V6 petrol engines and enough space in its cleverly packaged interior to rival the Commodore and Falcon of the day – dressed in a sleek new European-style skin – the previous Sonata also set new standards by coming standard with curtain airbags and active head restraints. It was facelifted in June 2008, when the CRD1 turbo-diesel version arrived to replace the V6 at $30,490 - a $2500 price premium over the 2.4-litre four. Like the petrol Sonata, the CRDi was available in five-speed manual and four-speed auto guises in the base SLX variant, while the flagship Elite auto also delivered 110kW/305Nm and average fuel economy of just 6.0L/100km.

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