From £16,651
The finished i40 is competitive, but not as accomplished against its rivals as an i10 or i30

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?

We seem to have spent a lot of time driving Hyundai’s i40 already, firstly overseas with it as an early prototype, then in the UK with two potential chassis set-ups It has been fascinating to track its development, but now it has arrived in finished form, prior to going on sale in September.

Evidently, Hyundai is feeling pretty confident about it; it’ll tackle the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat wagons head on. Prices start at a sturdy £18,395 and our test car was the range-topping 1.7 CRDi diesel manual Premium. It comes very well equipped but will retail at £24,395, which gets you into a tidy variant of all its competitors.

What's it like?

Certainly, the i40 Tourer looks the part. See it next to an i30 estate and it looks much more dynamic, showing just how far Hyundai has come even in the past three years.

It’s relatively well finished inside, too. There are some neat graphics and design touches, while fit/finish is good, but the materials still trail those of the class best. The door pulls and door-skin plastics are harder than the dashboard plastic (common practice but something I can never quite fathom), while dashboard switches and column stalks are on the shiny side. The Mondeo, Passat and Peugeot 508 are still ahead of the i40 here.

Room in the back is respectable and there’s a very decent boot, competitive with a Mondeo wagon’s in overall volume, despite the i40 being usefully shorter (at 4.77m versus 4.83m long).

The Hyundai’s 1.7-litre diesel seems quieter than in the last i40 we tried, probably to be expected from a full production variant. The gearshift is fairly slick and throttle response is fine. With 134bhp, it’s never going to be a fast car, but it gets along well enough, with a broad spread of power and no discernible weak spots.

Curiously, while lower-spec trim levels with this engine get stop-start to cut their CO2 output to 119g/km, the Premium variant doesn’t, so it is left with the 134g/km output.

When we last tried an i40, the firm’s engineers were still deciding between two different chassis set-ups. It feels to me like they went for the more mature of the two settings. The i40 feels substantial around town, riding with a fairly flat body and allowing surface imperfections to be heard more than felt.

The steering is a touch odd, though – heavier than it needs to be. Presumably this is to give the i40 a premium feel. Trouble is, it doesn’t quite work out like that. Instead, it just feels sticky and overtly weighty. It robs the i40 of any dynamic feel. It’s worse still on a motorway.

Sure, the body is still composed – and noise levels are impressively low – but, seemingly, nearly all assistance goes from the steering, so it’s massively heavy. This is supposed to give a feeling of straight-line stability. To an extent it does, but a more overriding feeling is one of deadness and woodenness.

That’s a shame, because somewhere in the development process there was more agility in the i40’s chassis – not totally appropriate, perhaps, but certainly elements of it would have been worth holding on to. It means that whereas the i30 entered its class with some of the most impressive ride, steering and agility traits among its peers, I don’t quite see the i40 doing the same thing.

Should I buy one?

Still, it’s competitive – well into the upper half of the class – and there’s a strong case to be made for it on its equipment levels. Less than we’d have expected and hoped, though, when it comes to dynamics and pricing.

Hyundai i40 1.7 CRDi Premium Tourer

Price: £24,395; Top speed: 124mph; 0-62mph: 10.6sec; Economy: 55.4mpg (combined); CO2: 134g/km; Kerb weight: 1495kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1685cc, turbodiesel; Power: 134bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 240lb ft at 1250-2750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
18

23 June 2011

I can see why Hyundai are so successful these days with great cars like this.Its probably the most stylish car in its class and it seems up there dynamically too.The competition need to up their game it would seem.

15 July 2013

i hired this car for the weekend from arnold clark  drove it from Motherwell to cornwall to Launceston 480 miles and drobe 50 miles before my journey around town so i done 530 miles and had a 3rd of a tank of fuel left went to looe for the day and went to nequay this car done 650 miles before i fueled up could have squeezed more out of it but did not want to run it any lower i drove between 70 and 80 mph mostley 80 in 6th gear with air conditioning on

what can i say it  was an excellent drive i estimate i went to cornwall for £60 the car had plenty of Power and hardly touching the pedal. Dont know if you have been on the A30 but is hilly in places and i did not need to drop a gear stayed in 6th gear an pressed a wee bit more pedal this car drove like a 2litre and has plenty of power for me anyway heaad room a bit low but i am small so no issues for me stering wheel would like to have a bit higher

i would buy this car unfortunateley out of my price range but would recomend  this to anyone who does distance found it very comfortable 

 

23 June 2011

Completely agree with Flash Harry, above. This car will sell brilliantly - on looks alone. It gives you that "feel good" feeling, which is absent from most of its competition, including Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford. It's good to see manufacturers like Hyundai and Skoda coming up in the world. I have never owned either make but won't hesitate to take them seriously next time I purchase a new vehicle. E

23 June 2011

I just hope Hyundai are careful with what they do from here on in. With products prior to the i40 they seemed to be on the path of producing good, honest cars which gave near to class leading ability and desirability without the being pretentious. It is difficult to descibe what I am getting at but it was almost as if it was a 50 / 50 split between what the engineering and marketing departments wanted.

This car, to me, appears to be taking a slightly different route. It is well know that Hyundai want customers to see their products as "quality for everyone" but it seems that in doing this the engineers have been taken out of thier comfort zone. The need to "engineer" in things like bump sound, just seems to have taken it all a step too far - a sort of 70 / 30 split in favour of the marketing department.

The rest of the car appear to be very good though. A nice balance of wheel to body size (in other words they look just about right on this car) and the interior looks to be interesting without getting Ford style fussy.

If they get their leasing prices right (because that is where the biggest market for this car is going to be) then they will be on to winner.

 

 

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

23 June 2011

[quote Flash Harry]I can see why Hyundai are so successful these days with great cars like this.Its probably the most stylish car in its class and it seems up there dynamically too.The competition need to up their game it would seem.[/quote] Hyundai deserves credit for improving its cars considerably in recent years, and this seems like a pretty decent effort, but calling it great is pushing it little. It is competitive with potential rivals, but it doesn't set new standards in any important area, aside from value perhaps.

23 June 2011

The summary sounds like a review of a 70`s Datsun to me, weak dynamics, high equipment levels etc.......not the place Hyundai really want to be right now.

I think the crucial difference between i30 and i40 is that the i30 was specifically designed for europe and is built in europe for the europeans. The i40 is a bit of a world car (like the new Focus) and suffers because of it (like the new Focus), trying to be all things to all continents.

As an owner of an i10, I can say Hyundai is capable of top class design/engineering but i do think its the exception rather than the rule.

23 June 2011

the front is embarrassingly overstyled.

23 June 2011

IMO Hyundai should be congratulated on the massive improvements it has made in such a short space of time, its still not perfect or class leading, but it is also no longer seen as just cheap and cheerful transport for those on a very tight budget.

If the mainstream manufacturers had managed to make such improvements in the same sort of time frame and keep the prices in check, we would all be driving around in Fords or Vauxhalls with a better "perceived" quality than BMW, Audi or Mercedes. Wait until Hyundai's next generation and they may well be a major player in Europe.

My next move if I was in charge would be to position Hyundai as the luxury brand and make Kia more Dynamic.

23 June 2011

As good as the car may be, the buyer is taking a big gamble on residuals. £24k is a hell of a lot for a Hyundai family car. Just had a look on a broker website at the i30 estate - brokers selling this for £4k off list!!! If there aren't similar discounts on the i40 then walk away.

I'm assuming a mid-range 1.7 diesel will be the most popular car and retail for around £22k. If I were in a position to spend that on an estate right now, I'd still put my money in a nearly new 318d SE or M-Sport or if I had to have new, a mid range 1.6tdi Octavia estate should cost £5000 less after discount.

But pick of the bunch has to be the Octavia estate 2.0Tdi 170 vRS. You can pick one up for under £20k but even at it's full list price of £22k, it'll work out 2k CHEAPER than a top of the range 1.7tdi Hyundai as tested here.

An Ocatvia vRS or 1.7 i40 - surely a no brainer?

23 June 2011

[quote jonfortwo]

I think the crucial difference between i30 and i40 is that the i30 was specifically designed for europe and is built in europe for the europeans. The i40 is a bit of a world car (like the new Focus) and suffers because of it (like the new Focus), trying to be all things to all continents. [/quote]

Er, no! The recently announced Sonata is the alter ego of the i40, both cars being based on the same platform but neither is trans-atlantic, unlike the outgoing Sonata and other older Hyundai models. North American Sonata's are built in the US, not the Far East.

Hyundai's new(ish) engineering and marketing centre at Russelsheim in Germany is ensuring that all new models sold in Europe are designed, developed and built to European tastes - the suspension changes on the 2010 facelift Santa Fe are good evidence of that, gone is the traditional SUV wallow, replaced with a good handling package that gets it's two tonnes going indecently quickly on back roads.

Hyundai's ambition is well publicised, to be able to introduce a premium brand that'll compete on equal terms with other premium brands - but first they have to match the mainstream - and the i40 is an excellent step on the way.

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