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