What is it?
Another radical departure for Hyundai that is surely leaving the competition scratching its head over how to keep up, the i40 is an elegant and classy large estate car that is targeting the Ford Mondeo in Europe. So important does Hyundai believe this niche to be that it actually launched the i40 Tourer well before the saloon. This is the first time the reborn firm has had a car that can take on the European establishment in the small-exec class, so hopes and expectations are high.
Comfort is the most important facet for any car in this class, where high mileage and a back seat full of children are more than likely. The i40 has met the criterion, with a smooth and supple ride that irons out larger bumps with the readiness you’d hope for from so large a car. The hydraulic steering lacks the lovely analogue feel of the Ford Mondeo but is still accurate and far more ‘natural’ than the disappointing effort in the Citroen C5.
Engine choices are simple enough. There is a single petrol unit, a 1.6-litre making 133bhp. This is only there to provide a low entry-level price point, though: the volume sell will be either of the 1.7-litre turbodiesels. These are tweaked to either 115 or 136bhp, but the latter will make for the most capable all-round drive without compromising too heavily on fuel consumption or CO2 emissions.
On the inside
Hyundai is making great leaps forward in terms of interior quality and the i40 feels exceptionally well made. It lacks the premium edge that the top-end cars from Merc and Audi enjoy but this is just about a match for its on-money rivals like the Mondeo. There are a few too many cheap-looking plastics and the aggressive contours of the dash – something that is at least in keeping with the i40’s brave external treatment – won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s refined inside though, even at speed, and space is impressive front and back. The boot is also a whopper, with 553-litres of capacity available when the rear seats are still in place.
Hyundai is a thoroughly modern company with a handle on emissions and efficiency. The Blue Drive model emits a modest 119g/ km of CO2 and manages to return a hugely impressive 62.8mpg, but even without these eco tweaks the 1.7-litre CRDi will still manage over 60mpg on the official cycle.
Safe to say, then, that the i40 will be cheap to run as a company car or in private hands. Hyundai’s five-year warranty is further reassurance of this, and the only thing to be wary of is the risk of iffy resale values. Especially as it’s surprisingly pricey.