Hyundai i-flow concept previews 2011 i40

Published: 15 February 2010

Hyundai will unveil the new i-flow concept car at the Geneva motor show 2010. The new i-flow previews the style of Hyundai’s upcoming Sonata replacement, the i40.

This first official photo of the Hyundai i-flow demonstrates familiar design cues: as with the i20 and iX35, hard creases and high hips define an eager stance typical of the new Hyundai style.

The concept comes complete with lightweight plastic glass and solar panels developed by chemicals giant Basf, although only the former has the slightest hope of making it through to production. Hyundai has been experimenting with plastic windows, but still can’t make them durable enough to face the grind of wipers. So, for now, expect lightweight sunroofs if you’re lucky.

What can we expect from the new 2011 Hyundai i40?

The outgoing Sonata was a world car, but, to European eyes, it never quite hit the mark. It was generously equipped and sensibly priced, but never made a serious impact on the lucrative fleet market.

Hyundai has tired of trying to hammer a square peg through a round hole, so the new i40, due in early 2011, will be for the European market only and has girded its loins for battle with the Mondeo, Insignia, Avensis and Passat.

So the i40’s going to be a repmobile special?

Exactly. Hyundai’s not been a big fleet player, with just 15% of its UK share going to corporate users. But that’s all changing – and the i40 is part of the masterplan. It’ll be equipped with downsized engines including direct-injection petrols and the same range of frugal diesels as the iX35 and Kia Sportage.

Hyundai promises the i40 will still major on value for money. All well and good, but that’s the same marketing strategy used to flog the Sonata – and that wouldn’t have been less successful if they had painted it pink and flavoured it with bubblegum…

Will this be enough?

Hyundai is surfing a wave of success with its latest designs: the i10 does its job and the i30 works well as a package. However, for the i40 to be a true competitor in the D-sector market, far more attention must be paid to the lacklustre interior of its predecessor. In this area, recent models do not inspire confidence.

We’ll know more about the Hyundai i-flow at the 2010 Geneva motor show; stay tuned for our updates in the run up to the show on 2 March.