Hyundai i40 1.7 CRDi 136 Blue Drive Style 4dr
Handsome i40 saloon won't embarrass you in the company car park
- Interior has plenty of legroom for all passengers
- Clear displays and intuitive controls are a major plus point
- Diesel power is smooth and refined
- Saloon bodystyle is easy on the eye
- Hard plastics let the cabin quality down
- Road noise is noticeable at modest speeds
- You'll need to be smooth and sensible to make serious economy gains
- Tourer remains the plum choice if versatility is important to you
Making an attempt at breaking the stranglehold on the affordable mid-size saloon market by the established European car makers, Hyundai's i40 promises contemporary design coupled with high levels of standard equipment, a generous warranty and a business-friendly diesel engine line-up.
Alongside the Tourer-branded estate model, the i40 saloon is a similar proposition to sister brand Kia's Optima. The four-door saloon layout should appeal to value-conscious buyers seeking an alternative to the likes of Ford's Mondeo and Peugeot's 508.
With a European market-friendly diesel power option, Hyundai has positioned the i40 as a car mainly for business users. As a relative newcomer to the company car environment, the Korean firm sees the i40 as a way of securing sales and goodwill in a mature market dominated by established brands.
Key to the i40's success is its bold looks and generous levels of standard equipment. Regarding the latter, all the key items are present - Bluetooth, air-con, quality audio - while the availability of sat-nav at this price point as a component of the car's large, clear colour touchscreen display give it sufficient credibility to stand head and shoulders with the competition.
While it's fair to say that the Tourer variant is the more versatile choice, in saloon guise the i40 is still a visually attractive and genuinely practical option. The car's large boot is devoid of any sizeable load lip to impede you, while even rear seat occupants experience a reasonable amount of head and, crucially, legroom.
Our verdict on the Hyundai i40 1.7 CRDi 136 Blue Drive Style 4dr
There's no denying that the i40 saloon is a handsome car. It boasts enough kit and reasonable economy and emissions credentials to make it onto the lists of business car users. Hyundai's generous warranty isn't unique in the market but it is the exception, and is sure to please both fleet managers and owners keen to minimise running costs.
With diesel power the focus for the i40, day-to-day running costs won't be huge. Factor in the car's high level of standard equipment and Hyundai's generous multi-year and the car should prove to be an affordable proposition for both private and business users.
Space and practicality
Occupant space in the i40's cabin is good, with those in the front benefiting the most while those in the back are unlikely to complain unless exceptionally tall. Cabin oddment space is also good, allowing you to store a wide variety of essential items. At the rear, the i40's saloon boot is a decent size and access is also straightforward.
Controls and display
The i40's main display, including the speedometer, rev counter and trip computer, is stylish and clear. The control stalks are easy to use, and the touchscreen display is simple and clear to look at, while also being straightforward to use and understand. And with plenty of assistance from the steering, ease of use is the i40's major attraction.
All models prove to be extremely comfortable with a soft ride that soaks up all but the worst of any road imperfections. The seats are equally comfy, again on the soft side but with plenty of adjustment. The steering column might not extend out far enough for some drivers, though.
Remote central locking with an 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. And in saloon guise you can lock valuables away in the boot in confidence.
A good selection of safety technology includes seven airbags all around the car, ABS, ESP, child locks, Isofix child seat mounts on the two outer rear seats. While it doesn't break new ground in this area, but the i40 covers all the important technologies well.
It's unlikely that keen drivers will be drawn to the i40. Rivals from the likes of Ford and Vauxhall offer a more engaging driving experience, although the Hyundai's strengths lie in its refinement and ease of use. There's plenty of assistance from the main controls, and the diesel motor power's delivery is smooth and predictable. And only on poorly surfaced roads does the i40 start to lose its composure slightly - ordinarily it serves up a pleasingly refined ride.
Family car appeal
The flipside of a cabin fitted out with lots of hard materials is that it should be hardwearing. That said, it would be wise to avoid leather upholstery if you have a small family for all the obvious reasons. Although an accommodating car, the saloon is trumped by the estate in load carrying terms despite its capacious boot.
First car appeal
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 ample carrying capacity and comprehensive warranty, but there are smaller and cheaper models within the Hyundai range that would better suit your needs.
Quality and image
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. Hyundai's generous multi-year warranty is, naturally, something that could easily tempt any undecided buyers.
The i40's saloon boot is a good size and access is straightforward. There are no problems with the width of the door apertures fore and aft, although rear seat passengers will need to duck their heads to avoid the sloping roof.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The standard audio provision is a solid performer that delivers good sound quality and is easy to use. The car's dominant central display adds sat-nav, with the touchscreen element offering large buttons and exceptionally clear graphics.
Colours and trim
Bold colours do a good job of flattering the i40, while the car's cabin is largely made up of dark materials - hopefully this lends the i40 some added credibility in the important business user sector. That said, the leather option could be a little more convincing and hard plastic surfaces are a little too commonplace.
Despite being a large car the i40 is easy to drive and park at low speeds. Rear visibility could be a little better thanks to the saloon boot lid, but with the help of parking sensors and a reversing camera the learning curve is relatively flat.
Temporary spare wheel supplied as standard.
Diesel engine options - 1.7-litre (114bhp, 134bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Trim levels: Active, Style, Premium.
Ford Mondeo The ubiquitous large family car remains the keen driver's choice in the sector
Vauxhall Insignia Refreshed Insignia is an important contender in the saloon market
Volkswagen Passat Commands a more premium image than rivals, but can be expensive
Kia Optima Sister car to the i40 offers an almost identical driving and ownership experience