Late last year, Hyundai teased us with a wagon version of its Sonata sedan headed to Europe as the i40 Estate. Now, just ahead of its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the South Korean automaker has revealed the real deal.
If you were expecting the finished product to simply look like a Sonata with a pair of D-pillars and a rear hatch, the new i40 may surprise you. Although it still rides upon the same platform as the North American Sonata, the midsize wagon receives all-new sheet metal from head to toe. Firmly rooted in the company’s fluidic design language, the i40 wears a front fascia evocative of the smaller Elantra, complete with a split grille and long tapered headlamps. In back, the i40 has a Toyota-ish look, thanks to concave D-pillar forms and large, rhombus-like taillamps.
Hyundai has only released one photo of the interior, and it, like the exterior of the car is a complete redesign of the Sonata’s layout. The centrally-mounted navigation screen remains, but the controls for both the navigation and HVAC have been redesigned. Hyundai also promises substantial amenities such as available leatherette door panel inserts and leather seating, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers. Buyers may appreciate these touches, but most will likely flock to the i40 for the additional interior space. The wagon form provides 19.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up (3.1 cubic feet more than a Sonata’s trunk), and nearly 61 cubic feet once the second row is folded.
As the wagon was developed expressly for the European market, it isn’t surprising that the i40 is offered with a number of diesel offerings. At launch, the i40 will be offered with a 1.7-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder in both 113- and 134-horsepower forms. Those desiring a gasoline option will reportedly be able to spring for a 2.0-liter I-4 in the near future. Transmission choices haven’t been announced, but will likely be the same six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes used in the U.S.-spec Sonata.
At this point, it’s unclear if the i40 has a future in North America. Hyundai has indicated the next i30 will be ported here as the Elantra Touring, but refuses to comment on the possibility of the i40 ever rolling into U.S. showrooms.