1 May 2010
The i45 was available at launch in three specifications, each powered by a new direct-injection 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that, with 148kW and 250Nm, delivered more performance than all of its rivals in the mainstream mid-size sedan segment.
The sedan-only, front-wheel drive i45 landed with a higher than expected starting price that pitched it directly against Suzuki's all-new Kizashi and the recently-facelifted Mazda6.
What's more, the cost of the automatic option priced the base i45 higher than the more established Ford Mondeo, Holden Epica, and Toyota Camry. A bold move for a company that had been long associated with the bargain-basement.
Nevertheless, the base-spec i45 'Active' offered a generous array of standard equipment, with 16-inch alloy wheels, an alarm, a hill-holder function, a trip computer, automatic headlights, front foglights, steering wheel audio controls, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/WMA/MP3 player with USB/iPod connectivity and a leather-clad steering wheel.
Cloth/leather seat trim, wing mirror-mounted indicators, LED tail-lights, dual chromed exhaust outlets and piano black interior highlights also featured.
The mid-range, automatic-only Elite variant added full leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, keypess entry and starting, rear parking sensors, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and steering wheel paddle shifters.
Topping the range was the (auto-only) Premium variant, adding a panoramic glass sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension with active dampers, self-dipping rear-view mirror, premium sound system and powered front seats with driver seat memory.
In October 2010, the i45's 2011 upgrade improved the suspension in response to press criticism while also adding standard Bluetooth, satellite-navigation and heated front seats to the Premium model (in return for a $1000 price increase).