From £16,651
Small capacity petrol Hyundai falls short of the standards of its rangemates. Avoid it.

Our Verdict

Hyundai i40
Family-size Hyundai takes on the Mondeo, Superb and Insignia

The Hyundai i40 takes on the Mondeo, Superb and Insignia. But can it win?

  • First Drive

    Hyundai i40 1.7 CRDi Style

    Four-door Hyundai isn’t quite as sensible as estate, but has plenty to recommend it
  • First Drive

    Hyundai i40 1.7 CRDi Premium

    The Hyundai i40 is big, sleek, well-equipped and refined, but the 1.7 diesel occasionally struggles, and the steering sometimes feels odd

What is it?

The most modestly endowed petrol version of Hyundai’s all-new family model, the i40, which has just launched in the UK in estate-car form. And it could, nay should, be a car that benefits from the improvements made in petrol engine technology relative to diesel by the motor industry at large recently.

Hyundai isn’t a car company that skimps when it comes to R&D, after all. Given the significant strides that petrol combustion technology has taken by way of direct injection, leaner combustion, cylinder downsizing and turbocharging, it’s worth wondering if a Hyundai i40 Tourer with a 1.6-litre petrol engine – since it’s cheaper – is a wiser buy than either of the diesels.

What’s it like?

No knockout, on the basis of the UK test drive we’ve just conducted in a mid-spec Style trim example. Fitted with dual zone climate control, cruise control, a rearview parking camera, touchscreen sat nav, 17in wheels and more besides, this I40 isn’t poorly equipped for its princely £20k, and it’s got the same accommodating and solid interior as the rest of the range. What it lacks is not just the drivability and economy of either of the diesel versions, but somewhat unexpectedly, also some of their handling precision and rolling refinement.

A smaller, lighter engine with simpler induction and exhaust systems means this directly injected 1.6-litre i40 carries just over 100kgs less kerbweight over its front wheels than the 1.7-litre CRDi, which you might expect to improve its ride and handling. In the case of our test car, however, that absence of mass seemed to spoil the i40’s ride composure slightly, causing it to pogo a little over short, sharp urban lumps and bumps.

The i40’s six-speed manual gearbox does at least allow you to fully deploy the lump’s rather meager-feeling 121lb ft helping of torque more often than a five-speed ‘box would – and it’s nothing if not quiet at cruising revs. You can make acceptable enough progress on most roads, although overtaking will certainly test your commitment.

More disappointing, however, is the fact that the 17in wheels you get with Style spec, wrapped in wider, lower profile rubber than the standard car gets, do so little to enhance the steering accuracy or outright grip of the i40. They simply add extra load and unsprung mass to the front axle, which the power steering system would better function without, and yet seem to contribute little extra to outright grip.

Should I buy one?

Almost certainly not. If you’re intent on buying an economical petrol family holdall of this size, we’d wait until the all-new 175bhp 2.0-litre i40 arrives in the UK later this year – or better still, visit your local Skoda dealer and try out a 1.4-litre TSi Superb estate, which has many of the same things to recommend it as the i40 and a broadly similar price.

Meanwhile, if you’re not wedded to petrol as a fuel and like the sound of the i40’s other considerable charms, either diesel model’s a much better bet than this.

Hyundai i40 Tourer 1.6 GDi Style

Price: £20,195; Top speed: 121mph; 0-62mph: 11.6sec; Economy: 42.8mpg; Co2: 155g/km; Kerbweight: 1534kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls in line, 1591cc, petrol; Power: 133bhp at 6300rpm; Torque: 121lb ft at 4850rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
14

17 August 2011

This car is suffering from two main problems.

One - The lack of a turbo. Unfortunately, with the event of the small capacity blown engine, we as drivers, have become used to torque and effortless drive ability even at the lower end of a cars range. Whilst there is still a place for a NA engine in this sort of car, it really needs to be fitted to a base model where expectations are less. Which brings me to........

Two - The price. This is a car, fitted with this engine, that should be a couple of grand less. I am not sure it would make the overall package any better but it would certainly make it more palatable.

It's a shame considering the strong, if not astounding, completeness of the rest of the range.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

17 August 2011

This is certainly one of the best looking hyundai's so far, but I can't help thinking that it's a little over styled. Too many creases, lines and curves.

Anyways, back to the engine. Who exactly is this car aimed at?

17 August 2011

If the rear seats really don't fold flat then this is a complete non-starter. If they do, then they blasted well should have been folded flat for the picture.

18 August 2011

[quote Chris576]If the rear seats really don't fold flat then this is a complete non-starter. If they do, then they blasted well should have been folded flat for the picture[/quote]Chris - seats down it has 40 litres more luggage space than the new Audi A6 Avant so I wouldn't worry about it being a non starter too much...they may not fold completely flat im not sure but the rear seats on all spec levels also feature a reclining function.

18 August 2011

[quote superstevie]This is certainly one of the best looking hyundai's so far, but I can't help thinking that it's a little over styled. Too many creases, lines and curves.

Anyways, back to the engine. Who exactly is this car aimed at?[/quote]

Good question. I'd been under the impression this was Hyundai's answer to the Focus, Astra, V50 market with their higher spec cars perhaps looking to take sales from basic 3 series Tourer. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Just looked at the tech data on Hyundai's website - car length 4770mm !!!

Put that into prospective, a Merc C-class 4606mm; A4 Avant 4703mm; Accord Tourer 4740mm; Avensis Tourer 4765mm; VW Passat 4771mm; Mazda 6 4785mm.

You can have a 1.4 Turbo in the Audi and Passat but the only other car from that lot to receive a normally aspirated 1.6 is the base model Avensis.

Not sure we needed a test to tell us a 1.6 petrol wasn't going to suit a 4770mm estate, but with another engine, especially the 1.7 diesel, I'd be pretty damn worried if I were Toyota, Honda, Mazda. And although their cars are smaller but much more expensive, VW, Audi and Merc may also be having a few sleepless nights.

Buzz Lightyear aesthetics or not, I reckon we might be seeing quite a few of these i40's in the near future, just not in 1.6 form.

18 August 2011

[quote philcUK]Chris - seats down it has 40 litres more luggage space than the new Audi A6 Avant so I wouldn't worry about it being a non starter too much...they may not fold completely flat im not sure but the rear seats on all spec levels also feature a reclining function.[/quote]

Oh please. The world doesn't need another audi-style pretend estate for suits to carry themselves alone and their briefcases to regional sales meetings in. What on earth is wrong with car designers? If you're designing an estate car make the seats fold flat. As it is, this is as bad a fail as that Citroen with the rear passenger door windows that don't open, or all those cars where the individual who thinks they're a car designer couldn't quite find somewhere for a spare wheel.

18 August 2011

[quote Chris576] pretend estate for suits to carry themselves alone and their briefcases to regional sales meetings in[/quote] pretend estate? seriously - get a grip. or a transit van.

i have no idea if the seats fold completely flat or not and neither do you so why the hostile backlash? It's only a little less than a skoda superb estate - one of the most cavernous ones on the market so I'm doubting anyone will give a crap if the rear seats aren't totally flush flat.

18 August 2011

[quote Chris576]What on earth is wrong with car designers? If you're designing an estate car make the seats fold flat.[/quote] Must say I'm with Chris on this. Rear seats can be folded perfectly flat in several ways, the most basic being remove the rear seat base altogether and simply fold the back rest down. Can't for the life of me understand why many manufacturers don't at least give you that option.

18 August 2011

I imagine in this instance the mechanics for the reclining rear seat function preclude that. personally I'd rather have this kind of feature as well as a very generous load space rather than squeezing perhaps another 1 or 2 cubic litres out of it in the desire to have an absolutely flat load space the whole length of the car.

18 August 2011

[quote philcUK]personally I'd rather have this kind of feature as well as a very generous load space rather than squeezing perhaps another 1 or 2 cubic litres out of it in the desire to have an absolutely flat load space the whole length of the car[/quote]

I'm with you on this one Phil. The load space is perfectly big enough as it is, as are virtually all current estate cars with 550L+ of boot space. If you need flat-fold seats that badly then buy something else, 99% of the time the extra rear seat adjustment is what you're after.

We've owned estate cars for 10 years now (6 different types) and if I've carried something big enough to worry whether the rear seats go flat then it probably hasn't through the boot aperture in the first place.


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