From £16,651
Development drive shows i40’s potential; it just needs tweaking to make it class competitive

Our Verdict

Hyundai i40

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?

A drive in any modern Hyundai will tell you that the company is serious about making its cars ride and handle well. We’ve tried two versions of its upcoming i40 big family wagon, still in prototype form, to assess how it might do when it goes on sale.

What's it like?

Given they’re early-build cars, one has to make allowances for fit and finish. For what it’s worth, though, that’s pretty good already. The cabin design and layout are tidy, too.

Hyundai has two i40 chassis settings in development. One it calls ‘ride’ and the other ‘handling’, but they’re both slightly different takes on the same upper-medium theme. The thinking is that one, the other, both, or a compromise could reach market.

We tried the ‘handling’ car first. Its steering is consistently too light, albeit accurate, and it fidgets a little on pockmarked town roads. The upshot is mostly well contained body movements at higher speeds. It fails, though, to absorb bumps in a ‘premium’ fashion. When you hit a pothole, you hear and feel it.

The ‘ride’ settings mostly counter that. You feel bumps less and hear a lower-frequency noise, more akin to how a Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen Passat might ride. That makes a difference to how expensive it feels.

The ‘ride’ variant has better steering weight, too, at the expense of responsiveness; it’s rather sticky. Also worse is higher-speed body control; the ‘handling’ car is quite enjoyable, in its way. The ‘ride’ car is flat footed.

Should I buy one?

With a bit of tweaking, either of the settings could be competitive, but some kind of combination would be ideal. The 1.7-litre diesel is louder than, say, a Mondeo oil-burner but is within the limits of class acceptability.

Given the right tweaks and good pricing and warranty, the i40 could be another highly competitive Hyundai.

Hyundai i40 1.7 CRDi estate

Price: £18,000 (est); Top speed: 115mph (est); 0-62mph: 10.0sec (est); Economy: 55mpg (est); CO2: 119g/km (est); Kerb weight: 1495kg; Engine: 4cyls, 1685cc, turbodiesel; Power: 134bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 240lb ft at 1250-2750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate


12 April 2011

I think this is the best Hyundai design i have seen yet,interior and exterior.another highly competitive car from Korea

12 April 2011

A well written review. I liked the Ride and Handling bits.

12 April 2011

I have been thinking about getting a big Estate . I currently drive a 4x4 . I favour a Skoda Superb at the moment and this definitely looks interesting enough to be a worthy competitor .

Definitley going onto the test drive list .

Well done Hyundai .

Hey for those of you that remember "hyundai smoke" just imagine his reaction to this car the poor lad would be wetting himself with excitement .

Ah well he was entertaining till he got banned .

12 April 2011

So its diesel engine is noisier than its direct competitors, they can`t reach a decent handling/ride compromise so they offer a choice (and still neither do the job properly) and the best description of the interior is "tidy".

I really connot see why the world is getting so excitied by Hyundai/Kia products, and please don`t point to the 15 year warranty..........not worth the paper its written on.

12 April 2011

[quote jonfortwo]I really connot see why the world is getting so excitied by Hyundai/Kia products, [/quote]

Would you say the same for Volvo, Honda, Skoda, Mini, Land Rover, Seat, Mazda, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Fiat?

Like it or not (and your dislike of Hyundai has become very predictable) both Hyundai or Kia outsell the above more 'significant' brands - and in combined sales they can outsell Nissan, Mercedes and Renault. They might not be on your radar, which is fine but you better get used to the fact they are on many other peoples.


....and Ford used to sell lots of Escorts, sales do not equate to ability.

And i think the i10 is a terrific little car.

12 April 2011

[quote jonfortwo] they can`t reach a decent handling/ride compromise so they offer a choice (and still neither do the job properly)[/quote]
Not entirely fair to hold this against them when clearly both cars tested were engineering prototypes designed to find the final customer setup...

12 April 2011

Sure, but the car is very close to launch so things must be very close to production spec.......Plus what is the point of giving something to the press to test if its going to be radically different in finished form.

As stated before, I dont have any particular dislike of either brand but equally I cant see why the gushing statements are made almost universally with every new product released. Neither brand is particularly cheap to buy anymore (with the exception of Picanto and i10 offers) its only USP is a long warranty.

12 April 2011

i think this is Hyundai's best design yet and i would drive this it looks good, Maybe a few years ago when both Kia and Hyundai offered rubbish i.e Pride,Clarus,Stellar,Pony i wouldnt have considered them but now they are well worth a look. not surprised Hyundai and Kia are doing so well in the sales charts. Koreans are ones to watch.

12 April 2011

Why when all the direct (but more expensive) competitors offer 2 litre diesels are they launching this with a 1.7? Hyundai are already pretty good with the bigger diesel in the Santa Fe (194 BHP on a 2.2) etc so why not do a 2.0 like everyone else.


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12 April 2011

[quote The Apprentice]