The i45 moved the image of Hyundai as a maker of small, low-cost, sensible cars to largish sedans with style – lots of style. Its swooping curves and brave style lines were at the outer edge of automotive thinking when it was launched in 2010 – and still look stunning to this day.
It was brought to Australia in three models, in increasing level of equipment these are i45 Active, i45 Elite and i45 Premium.
Quality of build was eons ahead of that in the original rather crude 1980s Hyundais. Inside and out the i45 is right up with the best of the Japanese, even the midrange Europeans.
This large four-door sedan has good legroom and it’s possible for four adults to travel in comfort, five without too much of a squeeze. Boot size is pretty good, though the coupe-like rear end does make it hard to load bulky objects.
Hyundai i45 has a refined feel when cruising and the suspension generally copes well with Australian road conditions, though some poor surfaces can knock it around at time.
However it was criticised at its Australian launch for feeling too soft in corners – not a surprise when you consider it was aimed very much a the American market. Never a company to brush off criticism as ‘journo-talk’, in October 2010 Hyundai gave us an i45 with upgraded suspension which improved the feel car by a fair margin.
It still isn’t exactly a sports sedan, so try for yourself if you consider you’re a keen driver.
That update for the 2011 MY also saw Bluetooth communication, satellite-navigation and heated front seats added to the i45 online Premium model.
A 2.0-litre was sold only in the i45 Acvtive and only with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2.4-litre direct-injection petrol engine sold in all models is happy to rev and even provides quite a nice note. It sits beside a six-speed automatic transmission and was the choice of almost all buyers in this class.
The auto has a sequential manual override function, giving drivers extra control if they reckon the auto’s computer has got it wrong.
After a slightly odd beginning in Australia – Hyundai was once sold only in West Australia and entrepreneur Alan Bond was heavily involved – the South Korean has expanded rapidly. It now routinely runs in the top four in overall sales in this country.
As a result there are plenty of dealers Australia wide, with a fair number in country cities, though obviously metro areas are it’s biggest market.
Spare parts and servicing costs are about average for this market segment. We’ve heard of no ongoing complaints about parts availability.
A good amateur mechanic can do a fair bit of their own work. Go to professionals for anything that will affect safety, though.
Insurance is also in the mid range brackets, with no major changes in premium charges from company to company.
Hyundai models in this category in Australia have a habit of chopping and changing. In 2010 the i45 had replaced the Sonata, it only lasted till early in 2013 when it was discontinued and replaced by the Hyundai i40.
The i40 was almost as large as the i45 – though not as good looking in our eyes. the i40’s biggest advantage in Australia was that it was designed for the European market, not the American one, so had greater driver appeal.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the service book is up to date.
A recall for engine oil-starvation problems on some early 2.4-litre Hyundai i45s should have resulted in the modifications by dealers. Check the car’s service book, or contact Hyundai’s head office.
It also makes sense to check the dipstick to be sure there’s sufficient oil in the engine.
The engine should start easily and idle smoothly from the moment it fires up. Ideally this test should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is the obvious choice.
Boot space is quite hard to access so check for signs of biffs and scratches on the surrounds of the opening.
The automatic transmission should be smooth and easy when moved from Neutral to Drive or Reverse. Changes should be all but unnoticeable in normal driving.
A manual gearbox that’s reluctant to change, particularly on the third-to-second movement may be due for an overhaul. However, the problem could be in the clutch. Consult an expert.
In the unlikely event that an i45 has been owned by a revhead check the condition of the tyres, particularly the fronts, for signs of uneven wear and a sawtooth effect.
Expect to pay from $5000 to $8500 for a 2010 Hyundai i45 Active; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2010 Premium; $9500 to $14,000 for a 2012 Premium; and $11,000 to $17,000 for a 2013 Premium;
CAR BUYING TIP
Make a slow walk around any car you’re considering looking for obvious defects. It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details – only to discover a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.