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Hyundai improvements for 2011

The i45 now has a smoother, cushier ride and much-improved straight-line stability.

The Korean couple are still not in the sports car class, but a preview drive wrapped around the opening of the Australian International Motor   Show highlights the changes made to Hyundai's new heroes.

The i45 now has a smoother, cushier ride and much-improved straight-line stability and the ix35 feels more in-touch with the road, instead   of wobbling around over broken surfaces. The changes match the character of the cars and the people who will buy them, as Hyundai owners are most unlikely to be racecar drivers but enjoy a comfortable drive.

It's taken less than six months to get the cars tweaked for Australia, which shows a remarkable commitment to Australian customers. Then   again, if it was so easy then we have to ask why the suspension work wasn't done in the first place? The answer is pretty simple: the top people at Hyundai didn't know what they didn't know.

The decision makers thought the i45 and ix35 were just fine for Australians and Australian roads, and only realised they had made a mistake when the Carsguide crew - and some other experienced road testers including former Wheels editor Peter Robinson - began to complain. And complain, and complain.

We knew from the get-go that the i45 was wonky and the ix35 could be better. And we said it and printed it. Hyundai reacted quickly to the complaints and the changes were also accelerated when Kia, which has an ix35 twin called the Sportage, turned out a much better SUV drive thanks to local suspension work by Carsguide hero Graeme Gambold.

The work has all gone into simple things like springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars - although the costlier Amplitude Selective Dampers are also fitted across the i45 line - which proves Hyundai was close in the first place. It also says customer research showed no complaints about the way the i45 and ix35 drive.

But Carsguide knows the difference, even between an i45 and a Toyota Camry - without worrying about a Mazda6 or Honda Accord Euro or Suzuki Kizashi - and that's why we joined the push to have things improved. Now the job is done and Hyundai has changed forever in Australia. It's an important switch and one which will make things even tougher for its opposition.