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Hyundai i45 auto 2011 review

... Surely the model that dispels any lingering memory of Hyundai's driveaway then chuckaway days.

The Yanks love Hyundai's largish mid-size, front-wheel-drive sedan. Can't get enough of it. As though to emulate that noted silvery shower TV ad, they've deluged the i45 with awards. They might even have given that ad an award.

And why not? The thing's made mainly for the US. Yet Australia's auto media have damned the i45 with praise only for its fit, finish and value for money. Are our nations so very different? And if so, why?

Firstly it's essential to understand that American-made cars have been, by and large, rubbish. So their basis for comparison is wanting.

2011 Hyundai i45

Explore the 2011 Hyundai i45 range

Secondly, Australia's car makers, whatever their many faults, know how to make devices for our third world road surfaces and for drivers who don't consider having to move the steering wheel a violation of human rights. Our expectations are accordingly different.

Released almost 12 months ago, the i45 was derided for its rolling, aquatic ride and feel-free steering. For being such a slovenly Yank, basically. So strident was the criticism, Hyundai went back to address a few fundamentals.

So here the i45 is again. Is it better?


This part of the song remains the same, which is as it should be. Value for money was never in question. The entry-level Active starts from $31,090. Actually there's a sub-$30K model, but that has a manual transmission so who are we kidding? The Elite is $34,590, the Premium $38,990.

As you'd expect from Hyundai, equipment levels are high throughout. Leather upholstery kicks on on the Elite, heated front seats are standard on the Premium as is sat nav with Bluetooth. The latter are optional on the other models.

Mitsubishi is the only Japanese car maker to approach the Hyundai's and Kia's five year unlimited kilometre warranty.


The responsive 2.4-cylinder direct injection petrol four remains, as does its fairly happy marriage to a six-speed automatic. What's new, Hyundai say, is stiffness. The front springs are 15 per cent stiffer, the rears six per cent. These are to address the i45's tendency to pitch and roll like a trawler in an Atlantic gale.  

There are thicker stabiliser bars. These are to  reduce the i45's penchant for understeering like a shopping trolley with a bung wheel. The selective dampers have been fiddled with on the Premium model and introduced the Active and Elite. These are to contrive a ride/handling compromise that feels less like floundering in the middle of a sagging water bed.

Additional sound deadening material has been added to reduce NVH and boost refinement levels.


All present and correct. Five crash safety stars from ANCAP and a full size spare in the boot.


A blessing and a curse, in that its swooping Merc CLS-like lines got punters all excited, and so made driving the thing feel even more of a bummer. Even so, the i45's is a wholly successful look, surely the model that dispels any lingering memory of Hyundai's driveaway then chuckaway days.

At 4.8 metres by 1.8 and nearly a metre-and-a-half high it should be capacious enough for anyone. The boot's a big Staryan car size 523 litres. In short, it's big.

Within, the driver's workstation of our Elite model is first rate. Crisply displayed instruments glow blue with lights on. There's masses of storage and the plastics could come from a more expensive car. So relaxing and comfortable are the front thrones, you tend not to mind that the parking brake is foot activated.

Hey, if it's good enough for Mercedes-Benz ...


Oh dear ...

The i45 is benchmarked, Hyundai say, against the Camry and the Accord, as opposed to the Mazda6 and Accord Euro. You can sneer at it for not being among the latter, but you might as well decry a nice cup of milky tea for not being a double shot espresso.

This would be just fine except the i45's neither.

It's one thing being disconcertingly unresolved above what some are pleased to talk of as “sixth tenths” in same breath as “public roads”; no-one is in this showroom for a sports sedan. It's quite another that the ride is neither controlled nor cosseting.

If the i45 doesn't corner with confidence, it doesn't cruise in comfort; floating with any sort of pace and fidgeting maddeningly at low speed while the steering's feel is ... well, it hasn't any. Except when a mid-corner bump is hit. It conveys those all too effectively. The best that can be said for the stability program is it's not apt to intervene hastily.

Progress is not helped by the 17-inch Kuhmo tyres of our Elite. These make far too much noise, roaring on the tarmac and screeching at the least provocation without the consolation of grip on last week's newly wet roads.

Against that, the DI petrol four is a willing, responsive if slightly raucous unit that makes light of the 1528kg kerb weight. It's union with the six-speed auto is the soul dynamic highlight.


Not in an Australian accent.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Active 2.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $5,800 – 9,020 2011 Hyundai I45 2011 Active Pricing and Specs
Elite 2.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,500 – 10,010 2011 Hyundai I45 2011 Elite Pricing and Specs
Premium 2.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $7,000 – 10,890 2011 Hyundai I45 2011 Premium Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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