Paul Horrell28 June 2011

A first look at the Hyundai i40 Tourer

Hyundai has built a convincing family car. Paul Horrell reports


I didn't hugely enjoy driving it, but I'm not meant to. Who's going to be tear-arsing along mountain passes in a 136bhp estate? Only road testers; not the people who buy it. So it’s been set up to suit the people who actually pay the money.

The rocket-propelled upward trajectory of Hyundai continues. Ten years ago it launched cars that were cheap but not all that good. Five years ago the cars were good but not all that good-looking. Now they're both. People don't reflexively snigger at Korean brands, either. A Samsung mobile or LG telly are OK, aren't they.

It's not easy making an estate car look distinctive, but Hyundai reckons it has done it. And to make sure no one's attention wanders off to the saloon version, there is no saloon version. Not yet, anyway.

So here’s the i40 Tourer, compete with a strange scything rear-end pillar shape that ought not to work, but does. It mates with a deep arching trench along the side of the car at door-handle level, and a beaky front end. So if you forgot where you left it in the car park, the Hyundai designers did all they can to help.

You can get three trims and four engines. Hyundai sent us the top-end 24 grand one to test, and it certainly had all the toys. But thing is, the car didn't feel over-dressed. The underlying quality is there to justify it.

Dressed up, yes. Quick, no. A 136bhp diesel is always going to struggle versus a big estate car, even when there’s no load up. Sensibly then, Hyundai hasn't given the i40 a sports suspension. It doesn't need it. Instead, it’s set up to smother bumps and cruise down the motorway like it's worn its own groove.

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