If the new Hyundai Sonata proves to be as popular in Europe as it is here in the United States, then the Korean automaker has a hit for the overseas wagon lovers with the upcoming i40.
We may get to enjoy the company of Hyundai's hotly selling midsize sedan on our own soil, but the folks over in Europe will get the Sonata, aka the i40 as it will be called, in wagon trim before the sedan. The wagon was penned at Hyundai's European R&D facilities in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and shares all the "fluidic sculpture" design features we've grown accustomed to over the past year.
The aggressive front nose with the hexagonal grille is underscored by the sharp, splitter-like lip that gives it a devilish look. From the back, shades of the Tucson are obvious. And on the side, there's the signature line running along the door handles from the front fender to the taillight.
"We have bold ambitions for Hyundai in Europe, and the new i40 will provide the momentum we need to achieve our goals in 2011 and beyond," said Allan Rushforth, Hyundai Motor Europe VP. "We expect the quality of the new i40 to continue the development of our image in Europe and attract new customers to the Hyundai brand."
Powertrain options haven't been formally disclosed, though we'd expect nothing less than a range of small-displacement gasoline and diesel engines for the Old World. Suggested gas options include a 1.6-liter inline-four with 140 horsepower and a 2.0-liter four with 177 horsepower. Diesels include the 1.7-liter oil-burner (115-136 horsepower) and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder packing 177 horsepower.
On the U.S. front, Hyundai Motor America's official stance on future wagon plans is "no comment," though rumor has it the five-door could make it here in 2012. Expect more details on the i40 as we draw closer to the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011.