Hyundai i40 1.7 CDTi Style Blue Drive Tourer
Sleek lines are stylish and help aerodynamic efficiency
- Spacious interior has plenty of legroom for all passengers
- Clear displays make it easy to monitor speed, revs and fuel consumption
- Punchy diesel engine is also smooth and very quiet
- Relatively small external dimensions are a big benefit in town
- Obvious hard plastic seat backs let the cabin quality down
- Excess road noise due to harder-compound low rolling resistance tyres
- Instant fuel consumption meter only displays up to 50mpg
- Engine revs at 70mph could, and perhaps should be lower
The i40 is a brand new model, which Hyundai hopes will win new ground in the company car and fleet sector. In mid-range Style trim, with efficiency-boosting Blue Drive technology, it has its work cut out against established competitors like the Ford Mondeo, but it has plenty of strengths from interior space to running costs.
Hyundai anticipates that 60 percent of i40 sales will be in the fleet sector, so many of the car's strengths are biased towards high-mileage comfort, space and practicality. That's part of the reason why the estate version has been released before the saloon. Key to the car's abilities is a smooth, quiet and economical selection of engines, along with comfortable seats and enough legroom to easily accommodate tall passengers in any seat.
The most popular model is likely to use the more powerful of the two diesel engines, a 134bhp 1.7, combined with Blue Drive technology and the mid-range trim level, Style, which has lots of standard equipment. There's touch-screen satellite navigation, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a reversing camera among many other standard touches. For the price, its kit list is outstanding.
Although Style models usually get 17-inch alloy wheels, Blue Drive reduces them to 16-inch ones complete with low rolling resistance tyres for extra efficiency, as well as aerodynamic revisions and a stop/start engine system. Fitted with the smaller wheels the i40 looks slightly under-wheeled, but being smaller on the outside than its rivals, the effect isn't so negative. The daytime running lights, however, are sculpted around the headlights in a pleasing curve.
On the road the i40's suspension is quite soft, but body roll stays largely at bay if steering inputs are smooth. It's comfortable and adept at covering long distances, although road noise is noticeable on most surfaces at motorway speeds, partially thanks to the harder tyres. The 134bhp 1.7-litre engine is extremely smooth and quiet, with a useful amount of torque available. It never feels out of its depth, but revs relatively high at 70mph, at 2,250rpm.
Our verdict on the Hyundai i40 1.7 CDTi Style Blue Drive Tourer
The i40 is built to efficiently transport up to five people long distances in comfort. Returning 62.8mpg, the Style Blue Drive also attracts a low benefit in kind charge, and costs a modest amount per year to tax. As a cheap to run, stylish, spacious, practical and reliable option, the i40 has all the boxes ticked, but it can't match some of its rivals for driver enjoyment.
The i40 Tourer promises buyers considerable savings over its closest rivals. It boasts a generous level of standard equipment and, in Blue Drive trim should prove inexpensive to run - low fuel consumption, tax and Benefit in Kind performance.
Space and practicality
People over six feet tall have more than enough room in the front, at the wheel and in the back, even with an equally tall driver in the seat in front. The boot is large and comes complete with handy cargo net as standard, while split folding rear seats allow for even larger objects to be accommodated with ease.
Controls and display
The main dashboard display, including the speedometer, rev counter and trip computer, is stylish and clear, with simple illuminated white numbers against a black background. The ancillary control stalks are easy to use, and the touch-screen sat nav is simple and clear to look at, while also being straightforward to use and understand.
Comfort is one of the i40's main strengths. All models are extremely comfortable with a soft ride that soaks up all but the worst of British road surfaces. The seats are equally comfy, again on the soft side but with plenty of adjustment including electrically adjustable lumbar support on Style and Premium versions. The steering column might not extend out far enough for some drivers, though.
The i40 covers the basics comfortably. Remote central locking with a Thatcham Category One alarm and immobiliser is standard on all i40 models. There's also anti-hijack door locking, locking wheel nuts and deadlocks so that if a window is smashed, thieves still can't open the door even from the inside.
A good selection of key safety technology includes seven airbags all around the car, ABS, ESP, child locks, ISOFIX child seat mounts on the two outer rear seats, and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which prevents the car from rolling backwards when pulling away uphill. It doesn't break new ground in this area, but the i40 covers all the important technologies well.
Keen drivers won't be impressed by the i40's soft suspension setup, as it's not as sporty to drive as some of its rivals. That said, drivers who like to sit back, relax and enjoy a comfortable ride in comfortable seats will find the i40 very appealing, especially on the smaller 16-inch wheels.
Family car appeal
This would be a great car for families. With interior materials that should be hard-wearing, a large boot and low running costs, the i40 satisfies a lot of the typical wants and needs of a family with two or three children. Premium versions' leather seats will wipe clean more easily, but they are also more costly to repair if damaged.
First car appeal
As practical as it is, the i40 is probably too large for most young or inexperienced drivers to consider as their first car. In theory the i40 would make a great choice if you needed its luggage capacity and comprehensive warranty, but even Active models are considerably more expensive than a typical first car buyer's budget.
Quality and image
Arguably this could be the i40's main stumbling point against its competition. Everything inside and out is solidly put together, but the obvious hard plastic seat backs and the lack of a prestige badge, or at least one familiar to fleet buyers, might mean that some people dismiss it before they look further under the skin.
The boot is huge and perfectly suited to a family trip away or a business trip involving large amounts of support material. There are no problems with the width of the door apertures, although rear seat passengers will need to duck their heads to avoid the sloping roof. The boot also has a relatively low loading lip, making loading and unloading heavier objects easier than it might otherwise be.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
Style and Premium models feature a seven-speaker stereo system with an amplifier and subwoofer. The same models also have touchscreen sat nav, which displays what the reversing camera can see when reverse gear is engaged. It's a comprehensive system that provides the mix of audio power and in-town flexibility that a wide range of drivers look for.
Colours and trim
Active, Style and Premium models all come with the same choice of colours; standard flat white or five optional metallic hues at an extra cost. Style spec cars offer the best combination of equipment and value, while Premium offers more luxury with extras including leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. Active lacks sat nav but does still have a good spread of essential equipment.
The i40 is surprisingly narrow, which is useful in car parks. For parallel parking there's a system that comes as part of the optional Assist Pack that does all the necessary steering for you, leaving you to work the accelerator and clutch. It even guides you via messages on the dashboard as to when you need to select first or reverse, but it's only available on Premium models.
Temporary space saver spare wheel supplied as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.6-litre (133bhp); 2.0-litre (174bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.7-litre (114bhp, 134bhp). Transmission options: 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Trim levels: Active, Style, Premium.
Ford Mondeo The ubiquitous large family car is the keen driver's choice in the sector
Vauxhall Insignia Similar in styling to the i40, the Insignia is no more spacious inside
Volkswagen Passat Commands a more premium image than rivals, but can be expensive
Honda Accord Capable with good a diesel engine and generally well equipped