Mid-sized Hyundai the ap­ple of his i

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

THERE is a lot of Amer­ica in the ex­te­rior de­sign of the new Hyundai i45. It’s fussy, with plenty of chrome and some com­pli­cated panel creases that test the build stan­dard of the South Korean man­u­fac­turer.

How­ever, Hyundai North Amer­i­can de­sign man­ager An­dre Hud­son is proud that a lot of his out-there styling cues have car­ried through to pro­duc­tion.

‘‘Our speed of devel­op­ment at Hyundai means the orig­i­nal idea stays very true and doesn’t get wa­tered down,’’ he says.

He points to two main fea­tures that made it from the draw­ing board to the show­room — the chrome strip down three-quar­ters of the side and the C-pil­lar ‘‘port­hole’’ win­dow. The C-pil­lar win­dow is one of his favourites. ‘‘I’m so proud that the glass car­ried through to pro­duc­tion de­spite the ex­tra cost. It gives more sense of space.’’

Hud­son spent seven years with GM in Detroit and the UK be­fore mov­ing to Hyundai five years ago.

‘‘That has given me a broader ap­proach to de­sign­ing cars and un­der­stand­ing the Euro­pean mar­ket,’’ he says.

‘‘I was 30 when I started on this project and de­sign­ing a medium-sized fam­ily ve­hi­cle is not some­thing you dream of do­ing at that age. How­ever, I can now see it be­ing a fam­ily car for me for the fu­ture.’’

The i45 con­tin­ues Hyundai’s theme of ‘‘flu­idic sculp­ture’’.

‘‘It’s time to make an emo­tional con­nec­tion with our cus­tomers and pull at peo­ple’s hearts a lit­tle,’’ he says, re­fer­ring to the car’s ‘‘nat­u­ral or­ganic qual­ity’’ and ‘‘ath­letic and taut’’ lines.

‘‘There is a move­ment of line on this ve­hi­cle. It looks as if it’s in mo­tion when it’s stand­ing still,’’ he says.

He de­scribes the front grille as look­ing like a bird of prey.

Colours in­clude metal­lic red and ‘‘espresso brown’’, which looks al­most black ex­cept in di­rect sun­light.

— Mark Hinch­liffe

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