Hyundai i40 review
The spacious and practical Hyundai i40 saloon offers bold looks, great economy and lots of kit
The Hyundai i40 saloon is a stylish and practical alternative to well-established rivals like the VW Passat and Peugeot 508. Top-spec models come very well-equipped but do come at a price, while the punchy 1.7-litre CRDi diesel is efficient and cheap to tax, which should make the i40 a hit with company car buyers. Private buyers will be tempted by the excellent five-year triple care package, which includes five years' free warranty, servicing and roadside assistance. A Tourer estate version is available at a premium of around £1,500, and comes with a 553-litre boot space or 1,719 with the rear seats folded.
Our choice: i40 1.7 CRDi 136 Style
The Hyundai i40 looks great, thanks to sleek lines and sporty flourishes like the subtle boot spoiler and standard-fit alloys and LED daytime running lights. Although it's not quite as attractive as is sister car, the Kia Optima. The cabin is one of its best features - there's lots of top-quality trim, high-class switchgear and acres of space. There are three trim levels - Active, Style and Premium - and all versions come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-con, automatic lights and Bluetooth. Top-spec Premium cars come with 18-inch alloys, heated seats, leather upholstery, a panoramic roof, a touchscreen sat-nav with reversing camera, and keyless entry and start.
The refined Hyundai i40 is an impressively quiet cruiser. Even with the optional sport suspension, it proves comfortable over rough roads, while the seats are soft and supportive. The i40 isn't as good to drive as the Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb, though. But the biggest issue is the steering, which is vague and light at the straight-ahead and then weights up artificially as you turn. There's just one petrol and one diesel to choose from, with the latter available in two power outputs and some come with Hyundai's eco Blue Drive technology, which costs an extra £300 and adds stop-start. The 1.6-litre petrol produces 133bhp and 164Nm of torque, which means it can go from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds and has a top speed of 122mph. The 1.7 CRDi diesel is available with 114bhp and 192Nm or 134bhp and 240Nm. The lower powered version can go from 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds, but the more powerful version with Blue Drive cuts this to a more respectable 10.3 seconds (11.6 seconds if you opt for the six-speed automatic 'box).
The Hyundai i40 has a five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP, with an impressive 92 per cent for Adult Occupant. Every i40 comes fitted with ABS, ESP, hill-hold assist and seven airbags as standard. The optional Assist Pack adds a lane departure system, which automatically steers the car if it wanders out of its lane. Although the i40 is too new for us to judge its long-term reliability, Hyundai does have a very good reputation - it finished seventh out of 30 in the 2012 Driver Power reliability survey. Every Hyundai comes with a five-year warranty.
The i40 saloon had a 525-litre boot, which is slightly smaller than the Ford Mondeo. The rear seats fold and the opening is wide, but the resulting hole through to the bulkhead to the cabin is a bit small which makes loading larger items a bit tricky. If you want more practicality, it might be best to opt for the i40 Tourer, which has a massive 1,719 litres of space with the rear seats folded. There's plenty of space for five adults and legroom is very good in the front seats, especially. Plus there's lots of clever stowage space.
The lower powered diesel comes with Hyundai's eco-friendly Blue Drive technology, and offers fuel economy of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 113g/km. But even the more powerful diesel can manage 62.8mpg and 119g/km of CO2, which means it's no more expensive to tax than the entry-level diesel. It's best to avoid the non-Blue Drive diesel, though, as it can only manage 43.0mpg and 134g/km. It's the same for the 1.6 petrol, with the Blue Drive version returning 47.1mpg and emitting 140g/km, compared to 42.8mpg and 155g/km for the non-Blue Drive model. Hyundai also offers a five-year triple car promise, which includes a five year warranty, a five year servicing package and a five year roadside assistance package.