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First look inside: Hyundai unveils latest classy cabin

Up front: Radical new MD dashboard design takes Hyundai design language to new levels.

Hyundai unveils the stunning new interior of its next-generation small sedan

21 Jul 2010

HERE is the first interior image of Hyundai’s all-new Avante small sedan, which is odds-on to be labelled the i35 when it replaces the four-year-old Elantra in Australia during the second quarter of next year.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has confirmed that the new Avante, which made its global debut at the Busan motor show in late April, will be released here in 2011, but continues to refer to the Elantra replacement simply as the MD.

Revealing the Korean brand’s new ‘Wind Craft’ interior design language for the first time, the MD cabin appears to be as edgy and youthful as the ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ styling concept that graces the MD’s stylish sheetmetal, as well as that of the ix35 compact SUV and i45 medium sedan.

The ix35, i45 and older i20 light hatch, which was launched in Australia last week, represent Hyundai’s three most significant local product launches this year, but the i35 will be one of the headline acts in a bumper year of new-model releases from Hyundai in 2011.

The first is likely to be the new Indian-built i10 micro-hatch in the first quarter of 2011 and while the i35 is due here in Q2, it should be followed by yet another new city-hatch in the next-generation Accent/Verna, which debuted in sedan guise at the Beijing motor show in April and should wear an i25 moniker here.

Also due on sale locally in 2011 is the Veloster coupe, which has emerged in concept form and could be known as the i15 in Australia, as well as a hybrid version of the new YF-series i45 (Sonata) sedan, an even sleeker Euro-inspired version of the i45 (codenamed the VF and expected to carry i40 badging locally) and even a turbocharged petrol-powered i45 Coupe.

For now, however, the first look inside the Elantra successor’s stylish new interior follows the release of a teaser sketch of the cabin last month and the debut of car itself – with heavily tinted windows – in Korea in April.

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai Avante.

Hyundai describes the MD’s fresh ‘Wind Craft’ interior design concept as “a dynamic and futuristic direction aimed directly at a youthful generation”.

“The MD’s ‘Wind Craft’ interior highlights the depth and potential of the new Hyundai design language,” said HMCA marketing director Oliver Mann.

“We look forward to MD joining the Hyundai’s award-winning model range in 2011.”

Even more contemporary than the i45 cabin, the i35 interior features a heavily sculpted dashboard dominated by a deeply recessed central TFT colour screen with a large rotary controller, and a bold silver garnish extending to centre console.

Classy high-gloss black and metallic finishes heighten the sense of occasion, while a stylish four-spoke steering wheel with remote audio and cruise control and a twin-cylinder VFD (Vacuum Florescent Display) instrument cluster with Hyundai’s trademark blue illumination should also help bring class-leading interior aesthetics to the affordable small-car category.

No new technical details have been revealed for the MD, which goes on sale in Korea this year, but high-tech equipment like HID headlights, LED tail-lights, puddle lamps and heated rear seats have already been confirmed, and Hyundai says its GGDI (Gamma Gasoline Direct Injection) engine will give the MD class-leading fuel efficiency and environmental credentials.

Expect the replacement for the Elantra, which is currently available only with a 2.0-litre engine and priced from $19,990, to be powered by a 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol four that delivers 103kW and 167Nm of torque, linked to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai says the Elantra replacement’s 1.6 GDI – revealed at Beijing in April – is about 10 per cent more fuel efficient than its closest competitors, thanks to direct-injection, the new self-shifting transmission and other fuel economy enhancements.

As we’ve reported, the new Gamma GDI mill features dual continuously variable valve timing (DCVVT), a variable induction system and cutting-edge internal component treatments to reduce friction, such as CrN Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) and Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coatings.

Its performance easily eclipses Hyundai’s multi-point fuel-injected Gamma 1.6, which delivers 78kW/144Nm in the Getz and 89kW/153Nm in the i30, and almost matches the 105kW/186Nm outputs of the 2.0-litre engine that powers the i30 and, exclusively, the outgoing Elantra.

Hyundai’s smallest GDI engine is more advanced than the 1.6-litre Gamma engine that powers upstream versions of the Getz and a new entry-level version of the i30 hatch priced from $19,390.

Hyundai's fifth-generation small sedan will replace the Korean giant’s global best-seller, with the existing Elantra/Avante attracting more than six million sales worldwide since 1990.

The current Elantra was released Down Under in October 2006 and is the only current Hyundai model to decline in sales this year. Elantra sales in Australia are down 24 per cent so far this year, but the newer i30 hatchback - on sale here since October 2007 - doubled its sales in 2009 and has logged a 70 per cent sales boom so far in 2010.

Together, the i30 and outgoing Elantra have attracted almost 18,000 Australian buyers so far this year – within 2000 units of both the top-selling Mazda3 and Toyota’s once-dominant Corolla.

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