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Hyundai i40 sedan arrives

The sedan, like the five door sibling hails from Hyundai's German R&D facility and the pencil of chief designer Thomas Burkle.

Yes, but why? That's the question dangling over Hyundai's new sedan, the four door take on the generally well-received i40 wagon. Again though, why, when the already much bigger i45 is around for much the same price?

Hyundai's answer, in not so many words, is that the i40 is better. The sedan, like the five door sibling, hails from Hyundai's German R&D facility and the pencil of chief designer Thomas Burkle. It comes with decidedly European flavoured engines --  not least the diesel --  with suspension and steering bespoke for Australia.

It is not, in other words, the big, sloppy, motion sickeness inducing i45 -- the least resolved car Carsguide has driven in recent years. "That was designed in California for the American market," Hyundai spokesman Stephen Howard says. "This is smaller. It is on a different platform to the i45. The i45 is made more for comfort, the i40 sedan has a more dynamic ride".

It is also, for the moment, more dynamic than the i40 Tourer. Taking a cue from the book of susbidiary brand Kia, Hyundai sought bespoke tuning for this market, bringing in engineers from its Korean base to experience local conditions.

"Those settings will come into the Tourer when the current stock in Australia is run out," Howard says. "There's major incentives and driveaway deals on those at the moment." The four mirrors the Tourer's spec levels -- Active, Elite and Premium -- and two four cylinder engine choices. The 2.0 direct injection petrol will doubtless sell more, but our pick would the hardy 1.7 turbo diesel with its 100kW/320Nm in auto form.

Prices starts at a symbolic $29,990 for the manual petrol Elite few will buy up to an ambitious $44,590 ask for the the top spec diesel auto. Both transmissions have six speeds, though auto only from the Elite up. Standard kit dependent on the spend is impressive, running to nine airbags, cornering headlights and sat-nav system with SUNA capability displayed on a 7-in screen.

The value equation is emphasised by Hyundai's standard five yearr/unlimted km warranty -- something most rivals cannnot or won't match. Unusual though it seems for the sedan to arrive after the wagion, this only comfirms the i40's Euro accent -- there the five door is always first out of scuplture's clay.

Burkle has said he wanted to get away from the conventional three box sedan shape and that fluidly aerodynamic silhouette is about as far as a four door compact can escape -- though it's not miles away from Moray Callum's Focus sedan for Ford. Our first drive -- and we've a special one lined-up -- is ahead of us, but we'll hazard that here's another Korean car to steal Japanese thunder.

Hyundai i40 Sedan

Price: $29,990-$44,590
Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited kilometres
Resale: NA
Service Interval: 12 months/15,000km
Safety Rating: Five star (Tourer)
Engine: 2.0 litre 4-cyl petrol 113kW/214Nm; 1.7-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel 100kW/320Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto or man; FWD
Thirst: 7.5L/100km petrol; 5.6L/100 diesel (autos)
Dimensions: 4.7m (L) 1.8m (w) 1.4m (h)
Weight: NA
Spare: full-size

 

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