When it comes to large family saloons, the automatic choice for most Singaporean car buyers is the Toyota Camry. The Camry is the perennial favourite large family salon here in Singapore, having topped the sales charts in its class for the past couple of years. There had been pretenders to the Camry's throne in recent times, most noticeably from the likes of the Nissan Teana, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Subaru Legacy and the Ford Mondeo but none of the abovementioned models managed to beat the Camry at its own game.
It is now Hyundai's turn to take the fight to the Camry with its recently introduced i45. We found out how good the Sonata replacement was when we first drove it in 2-litre form a couple of months back but the question on everyone's mind is how the i45 will fare against the Camry in a head to head. And so we have the twin test here of the top spec 2.4-litre i45 against the range topping Camry 2.4.
We should all be familiar with the Camry's styling by now. The current model was mildly updated last year to further increase its showroom appeal. At the front, there was a new radiator grille and headlamp clusters while the rear had new tail lamp lenses. The changes are subtle to say the least and it'll take an eagle eyed to spot them. Despite being around for about four years, Toyota's large saloon still looks contemporary if a tad inoffensive and nondescript due to its sheer numbers on the road.
The i45 on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air in the large saloon class when it comes to styling. The new saloon model embodies Hyundai's new ‘flowing sculpture' design ethos, which will also be evident in the upcoming Verna and Avante. The curvaceous, coupe-like roofline looks especially pretty and distinctive but the fussy chrome grille, bulges on the bonnet and the rather obvious belt line along the flanks somehow make the i45's overall design seem fussy and overstyled. You'd have to give credit to Hyundai's designers nonetheless for penning something that looks rather different from its rivals and a departure from the class norm.