HYUNDAI i45 Active Automatic REVIEW
Price: $31,090 (before on-road costs)
Hyundai's i45 medium sedan was generally praised at launch in 2010, but drew some negative comment for its wayward rear suspension tune.
An extensive rejig of the i45's undercarriage hasn't totally tamed the car's tail, but the i45 is an above-average mid-size sedan with more than a few strengths.
- Quality: Tactile surfaces are generally good in the dark, swoopily-designed interior, the construction is solid and there is a premium feel to the switchgear which is a cut above the Active's sub-$30k (for the manual) retail price.
- Comfort: We had no complaints with the cloth-clad manually-adjusted front seats, and the back seats have plenty of legroom. Rear headroom is slightly compromised by the low roofline which may affect taller passengers.
- Equipment: The entry-level i45 Active gets cruise-control, heated wing-mirrors, power windows, air-conditioning, trip computer and a six-speaker single-CD audio system with USB auxiliary input and iPod compatibility.
- Storage: The boot measures 463 litres with the rear seats up. It's not an especially large boot for a mid-size car, but the 60/40 split fold rear seats do allow more cargo capacity when needed.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The 2.4 litre direct-injected four is smooth, quiet and produces good power, however the accelerator pedal is overly sensitive. The six-speed automatic is refined and shifts are smooth, although it sometimes changes up prematurely (for better fuel consumption).
- Refinement: Extra sound insulation added as part of the MY2011 update makes the i45's cabin a quite serene environment, with minimal intrusion of engine and road noise. A benefit of the car's slippery shape is reduced wind noise.
- Suspension: The i45 is a comfortable cruiser thanks to its light steering and the improved suspension - revised for 2011 models. However, there's some twitchiness at the rear when transitioning between left and right corners at speed.
That said, most people will never push the i45 to its limit, and on the whole the i45 performs quite well.
- Braking: There's no grabbiness from the brakes, and the pedal feel is consistent and smooth in its engagement.
- ANCAP rating: 5 stars
- Safety features: Six airbags (front, front side and full-length curtain) are standard, as are front anti-whiplash headrests, three-point seatbelts on all seats, front pretensioning seatbelts, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control, stability control and hill descent control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: Five years/unlimited kilometres.
- Service costs: Servicing intervals are set at every 15,000km/12 months. Maintenance costs vary, so contact your Hyundai dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Honda Accord Euro ($33,790) – Honda's Accord Euro is a very highly-polished product, and bests the i45 for equipment levels, design and driving dynamics. The Accord is at the top of its class, and well worth the asking price. (see Accord Euro reviews)
- Mazda6 Limited ($29,310) – The base-grade Mazda6 has a price advantage over the others on this list, but is relatively sparsely equipped. It handles very well though, and its 2.5 litre engine is excellent. (see Mazda6 reviews)
- Toyota Camry Altise ($30,490) – The Camry's interior quality isn't on par with the Accord Euro or i45. Solid buying, but its power and torque figures are also the lowest in this group. (see Camry reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
With the excellent i30, and now the i45, Hyundai has clearly come of age.
In some respects the i45 outpoints its mainly Japanese competitors, while its only major shortcoming – on-the-limit dynamics – is unlikely to cause problems for the average motorist.
It's a good product, and the pricing is certainly keen considering the level of quality on offer.