From £16,651
Cheapest i40 diesel is spacious, well-mannered and great value – but could still drive better

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 entry-level diesel version of Hyundai’s new Mondeo-sized i40 – and it makes all the right noises for success in the ever-so-important fleet car market. No estate car in the class is more economical, cheaper to insure or has a lower ‘Benefit-in-Kind’ cost to its company driver. And it’s pleasing to report too, despite a price tag that undercuts most of its direct rivals by between £1500 and £2500, this car certainly doesn’t drive like it belongs in the bargain basement.

We’ve already had UK experience of Hyundai’s higher-powered, better-equipped and more expensive i40 CRDi Premium. This version uses the same 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine in a slighter state of tune. Like other options in the range, it also gets Hyundai’s Blue Drive efficiency-boosting technologies as standard: an automatic starter-generator, low-resistance tyres, an intelligent alternator and an automatically actuated radiator blank that makes for faster engine warm-up and reduces drag-increasing cooling capacity when possible.

Hyundai claims an identical 65.7mpg for this car as what’s claimed for the Ford Mondeo Econetic estate and Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion wagon. The i40 will even swallow slightly more cargo than the enormous Ford with all five seats in place.

What’s it like?

Like its more powerful diesel sibling, the 114bhp i40 CRDi goes about its business with little noise from its engine. Insulation from wind and road noise is slightly less impressive by class standards. But there’s not much wrong with the quantity or quality of the car’s performance; sure, there’s only a modest amount of outright thrust, but it’s served up quietly and with commendable throttle response for a small-capacity diesel engine. Max torque arrives from as little as 1250rpm in this car: you don’t get it until 2000rpm in the peakier tune.

A shorter final drive ratio contributes to this i40’s responsiveness on the road, too. And while that’s good news when you’re accelerating away from urban limits and overtaking slower moving traffic cross-country, there’s a price to be paid on the motorway. The longer-geared and more powerful i40 diesel pulls about 2000rpm at 75mph; this one about 2500rpm. And that means, while the engine’s barely audible on the motorway in the more expensive car, its hum is noticeable in the background in the cheaper one.

Although smoother-riding than an entry-level petrol model we tried, this i40’s rolling refinement leaves a little to be desired. The car fidgets a bit over broken surfaces, and doesn’t quite match the shock absorption standards of the classiest semi-premium D-segment cars. It’s also slightly restless-riding on the motorway. And it doesn’t steer with the precision or fluency of the best cars of its type, either.

Generally, you’d say the i40s control weights and handling responses show 90 per cent of the polish and fine-tuning of the best driving cars in the class. They’re good enough to put this car on a dynamic par with the likes of the Honda Accord, Seat Exeo and Toyota Avensis, for sure – but the gap to the very best handling cars is still noticeable.

Should I buy one?

You’d be a fool not to seriously think about it. Given this Hyundai’s refreshing style, pleasant and spacious cabin, laudable efficiency and appealing price, we’d say that it drives more than well enough to convince almost anyone as an all-round package.

The Koreans may never have had a credible family-sized estate car before, but they’re making one now alright. And with one eye on value for money, it’s a car you might easily turn down a lower-rung Vauxhall Insignia, Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb or Peugeot 508 wagon for.

Hyundai i40 Tourer 1.7 CRDi 115

Price: £19,395; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 12.9mph; Economy: 65.7mpg; CO2: 113g/km; Kerbweight: 1638kg; Engine: 4cyls in line, 1685cc, turbodiesel; Power: 114bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 192lb ft at 1250-2750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
20

11 August 2011

Not a bad effort but I'm not sure about the styling, it's just trying too hard. Something like a Citroen C5 looks much better.

For private buyers it's probably best left until it's a year old and bought for a bargain price.

11 August 2011

Treading on the toes of another thread the other day, I think this is a gorgeous shade of blue.

I think more manufacturers should have a good blue like this in their palette.

11 August 2011

Having spent quite some time driving my partners 2 month old i10 i am struck by 2 things about Hyundai products.

1. The very high level of detail quality, for instance the bonnet release has a smooth, well engineered feel to it. Sure its not an item you will have use that often but its the detail stuff that shows the degree thought that has gone into the design and it puts a big old smile on your face.

2. Having thrown the little i10 into the back roads of Suffolk and had big fun, the chassis engineers have a huge depth of understanding in remarkably little time.

If i was in the market for a largish estate, which showroom would i visit first....guess.

11 August 2011

[quote catnip]

Treading on the toes of another thread the other day, I think this is a gorgeous shade of blue.

I think more manufacturers should have a good blue like this in their palette.

[/quote]

Ditto it is a lovely colour and a lovely looking car, one of the best looking cars in its class I think. It may not have Mondeo or BMW dynamics, but it isn't meant to, it is meant to be a cheaper alternative to the more mainstream expensive cars and I think it is a credible car.

11 August 2011

oh my god, a korean car has got me interested...

11 August 2011

Crikey! That's a good looking car - certainly more of a looker than the Focus, although I find the interior a little Blackpool for my taste!

11 August 2011

[quote jonfortwo just now:]

Having spent quite some time driving my partners 2 month old i10 i am struck by 2 things about Hyundai products.

1. The very high level of detail quality, for instance the bonnet release has a smooth, well engineered feel to it. Sure its not an item you will have use that often but its the detail stuff that shows the degree thought that has gone into the design and it puts a big old smile on your face.

2. Having thrown the little i10 into the back roads of Suffolk and had big fun, the chassis engineers have a huge depth of understanding in remarkably little time.

If i was in the market for a largish estate, which showroom would i visit first....guess.

[/quote]

gosh you've changed your tune

[quote jonfortwo on Sunday, Dec 12]

Kia/Hyundai are automotive magnolia.

Made for people without a pulse. It will sell by the thousand I am sure.

http://www.autocar.co.uk/forums/t/16923.aspx#161129[/quote]

11 August 2011

Like probably everyone else reading this, I know nothing about that car. I did however raise my eyebrows at those pics tho - Sat Nav with parking system in their most basic model? Surely not.

A quick 30 sec check on Hyundai's website reveals that isn't even an option on the Active. Then it says "Price as tested £19,395"? But as others pointed out that car has metallic paint and God knows what other extras on it. Hyundai have a price of £19840 for an Active with metallic.

As I say I don't know anything about the i40 but would take an educated guess those pics are not of the car referred to in the report. Autocar really should be making the reader aware of this... that's sloppy reporting. It makes you wonder if the car really was reviewed by Autocar or are they simply quoting from another source?

update: just noticed that car has privacy glass, again I don't believe that's even an option on the 1.7 i40 Active. As it's badged Blue Drive, I reckon that's a 1.7 i40 Style which comes in at £3000 more than the Active.

11 August 2011

Okay, I am being slightly critical but I had hoped it would be a better handling, slightly more complete package, possibly bettering the 508.

Don't get me wrong, this is a great effort considering it is their first real Euro mid sized car, just thought it would be better.

That said, I can see this doing really well in the fleet market.

 

 

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

12 August 2011

Hyundai is now a force to be reckoned with - all over the globe. The proliferation of classy new models is astounding. Germany - watch out! (The Japanese have already been beaten.) E

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