So­cial climber

Hyundai set an as­pi­ra­tional course with its mid-size sedan

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

THE mar­ket hav­ing made up its col­lec­tive mind to down­size, mid-size mod­els have come into play as never be­fore. Car mak­ers, hell-bent on get­ting a slice of the grow­ing seg­ment, had to go back to the draw­ing boards and pro­duce more at­trac­tive cars.

As Hyundai am­ply demon­strated in 2010 with the i45 sedan, mid-sizers are no longer cars bought by peo­ple lack­ing the cash to go big. They’re now fully fledged as­pi­ra­tional mod­els.

The i45 was up against some pretty tough com­peti­tors in the

form of the proven Mazda6, Holden Ac­cord, Subaru Lib­erty and Toy­ota Camry.

Style was never one of Hyundai’s strengths un­til the new gen­er­a­tion of mod­els, of which the i45 is the flag-bearer.

Hyundai adopted a classy look for the i45 with long, sweep­ing lines that would have looked per­fect on a coupe, let alone a four-door sedan.

Its thor­oughly mod­ern cabin pro­vided com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion for four adults, even in the rear seat, and be­yond the roomy cabin it had a good-sized boot.

Buy­ers could choose from three lev­els in the i45 range, which be­gan with the Ac­tive en­try model, climbed to the bet­ter equipped Elite and then the range-top­ping Pre­mium with the works.

The i45s per­for­mance came from a 2.4-litre four-cylin­der engine, backed up by a con­ven­tional six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Un­for­tu­nately there was no diesel op­tion for any­one who re­ally wanted to save on fuel.

If any­thing let the i45 down it was its han­dling, which lacked the cor­ner­ing poise and feel of far more ac­com­plished ri­vals like the Mazda6 or Ac­cord.

NOW

Gaug­ing the longevity of any car is dif­fi­cult— when it’s as new as the i45, even more so. Given Hyundai’s past rep­u­ta­tion as a maker of cheap-and-cheer­ful mod­els, some of which were prob­lem­atic, it’s harder still to make a call.

But the Korean maker’s most re­cent his­tory sug­gests that buy­ers can buy with a good de­gree of con­fi­dence that the i45 will de­liver long and re­li­able ser­vice, as ev­i­denced by the lack of own­ers’ com­plaints to Cars­guide.

Hyundais cars are now well en­gi­neered and well built, a good start for any car that aims to be a qual­ity prod­uct.

Hyundai rec­om­mends ser­vic­ing the i45 ev­ery 12 months or 15,000 kilo­me­tres, which is in line with most mak­ers to­day. On that ba­sis a car sold in 2010 should have had a min­i­mum of two ser­vices, per­haps even three, so check the ser­vice record and make sure that has been done.

There have been no ma­jor is­sues with the i45. The only alert is­sued by Hyundai was in 2102, re­lat­ing to a faulty switch ter­mi­nal that could cause the brake lights to fail, and pre­vent the engine from start­ing and the cruise con­trol from work­ing. A new switch ter­mi­nal rec­ti­fied the prob­lem.

SMITHY SAYS

Well-built, well equipped and good value for money, the i45 should be on ev­ery mid-sized shop­ping list.

Long­ing look: The i45’s sweep­ing lines would flat­ter a coupe

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