Hyundai i45 spotted testing in NH4

Thanks to a friend of mine, what you see here is Hyundai’s yet-to-be-launched car in the D segment. Badged as Sonata in most international markets and strategically renamed i45 in certain markets including India, the model has been a runaway success for Hyundai world-wide. With sales of over 200,000 units in North America last year, this sixth-generation Sonata is giving the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord sleepless nights with its combination of superb styling, feature-rich interiors, advanced technology and multiple variants (Inline 4, Hybrid and Turbo).

In India, the i45 will be competing with models like Honda Accord, Skoda Superb, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat, the former two being the most successful. But, unlike USA and rest of the world, where the Sonata is comfortably cruising ahead of its rivals, the case in India is a little different. Due to Hyundai’s relative lack of brand image in the luxury segment, none of its models above 10 Lac Rupees, except the initial Sonata and the most recent Santa Fe, have succeeded in our country.

Having said that, if one model could change that perception and build up the image of Hyundai in India, it has to be this. Just look at the pictures to know why. The i45 has one of the finest forms yet of ‘Fluidic Sculpture’, Hyundai’s new design philosophy. Though the front end with its big chrome grille and large wraparound headlights looks a bit overdone, the profile and the rear of the car are superbly designed. Undoubtedly, when launched, the i45 would be the best-looking car in its segment with terrific road presence.

Knowing Hyundai, we can safely assume the interiors to be feature-packed and made of very high quality. Like other markets, the car is expected to come with a 2.4 litre direct injected gasoline engine (GDI) producing around 200 PS, which would make it powerful yet fuel-efficient. The absence of a diesel engine may be a disadvantage in India, given the number of Hyundai CRDi loyalists here. Overall, the i45 has all the ingredients to succeed in India purely on its merit. And if it doesn’t, it would not be Hyundai’s fault at all, but very much ours.

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