QUICK DRIVE: Hyundai i45 Elite

QUICK DRIVE: Hyundai i45 Elite

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The i45 has become something of a middle management favorite here in New Zealand. The so-called “User Chooser” set of drivers – who have progressed to a level where they are allowed to choose their own company car – like the i45 for its blend of specification, roominess and chrome. Never underestimate the power of chrome.

It has not been quite so popular across the Tasman, however, with the Aussies having an unusual outbreak of good taste and eschewing the big Hyundai’s excess of chrome for cars with proper chassis talent, such as the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6. And as such, Hyundai Australia has eschewed the i45 for the properly good i40.

i45 front

However, that means nothing on this side of the ditch, so here in NZ we continue with a face lifted version the big softy, alongside the more dynamically-pleasing i40.

The big news of the facelift is the adoption of a NZ/Oz-spec suspension tune (developed by the Aussies before they decided to drop it altogether…) that improves the i45’s somewhat “American” dynamics markedly. While it is still a long way from the i40 in terms of dynamic polish, it IS vastly improved over the wallow, floppy handling of the previous version.

i45 rear

It no longer leans quite so heavily on the outside front wheel while cornering and the vastly over-enthusiastic stability control no longer intrudes as often as it did.

Another improvement bought about by the facelift is a visual one; the massive chrome grille, while still massive and dominating, has been toned down considerably. Spec levels remain impressively high with the facelift too, which should please the fabled User Choosers.

i45 interior

 

Price: $49,990

Engine: 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder petrol

Power/torque: 148kW/250Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

0-100km/h: n/a

Fuel consumption: 7.9L/100km

CO2 emissions: 188g/km

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  • David

    I’d question whether the i45 is ‘more popular’ in NZ than Australia. In NZ in 2012, the i45 sold 505. In Australia, it sold 3640. That’s over 7 times as many, despite the fact that Australia’s overall population is only a bit more than 5 times NZ’s. In terms of market share, the i45 may in fact be higher in NZ, but in terms of i45s per capita, it’s definitely more popular in Australia.

    • It all comes down to market share though David, not bare numbers. It is futile to compare sales numbers in relation to population as there are far too many variables that can affect it. What are the percentages of people who actually drive in the respective populations? Is the market predominantly new or used? Are the buyers private or fleet? All of these (and more) differ between Australia and New Zealand, leaving relative market share as the only real reliable indicator of popularity. The i45 has a larger market share in NZ, therefore it is more popular.

  • David

    The market in Australia is 99.9% new. Parallel imports are illegal. The market is approx. 50% private, 50% fleet. The i45 last year sold 13% to private buyers and 87% to fleets.

    • Yeah… you seem to have missed my point there! The fact is, the market share of the i45 wasn’t sufficient for Hyundai Australia to bother with it. Hyundai NZ considered that the market share it was grabbing here was sufficient. Shame really, because it would have been the ideal opportunity for them to stop bothering with the awful i45 and concentrate on the far superior i40…

      • David

        Well, Damien, market share is only one way of looking at success, not the only way. As for the rate of car ownership in Australia and New Zealand, it is very similar. Lastly, when you look at the “new” car market in New Zealand, you have to include grey imports. You can’t only look at “new” vehicle sales, because that’s only half of the picture.

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