March 7, 2011
The Hyundai i40 wagon – unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show – looks like what you’d get if you bred a new Hyundai Elantra with a new Hyundai Sonata, and then inflated the rear end like a balloon. Given that the i40’s European designers emulated the same striking "fluidic sculpture" design language as on those two vehicles, the result isn’t all that surprising.
Expanding on the "i" lineup that Hyundai currently offers in Europe, the i40 station wagon represents the company’s latest attempt at becoming one of the dominant players in the European market in the same way it has come to be a major force in the American market over the last few years.
Aimed at what the company is calling the accessible "modern premium" segment, Hyundai has included features in the i40 that, when it goes on sale later this year, won’t be available in any other comparable European vehicle. These include items such as heated, folding rear seats and an automatic defogging system that can sense when the windshield is starting to get foggy.
The i40 will be available with two different economical engines: a 1.7-liter diesel engine and a 2-liter gas engine. Although it will initially be available only in wagon configuration, Hyundai says a sedan version of the i40 will hit the European market later in 2011.
As the first vehicle in its segment, Hyundai has designed specifically for the European market, Hyundai is clearly targeting the i40 at a European audience. Although rumors have indicated the i40 may eventually show up in the U.S. as a Sonata wagon, Hyundai America’s Public Relations Manager, Lori Scholz, told AutoTrader that there are no "near future" plans to do so.
NICK CHAMBERS is a "next generation" car enthusiast, recognized for his green automotive coverage in Gas 2.0, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, HybridCars.com and PluginCars.com. In addition, he’s been syndicated in Matter Network, AP and Reuters.