Hyundai i40 Tourer – Review
By Liam Bird
“A premium car without the premium the premium price” is how Hyundai, the Korean car manufacturer who brought Korea its first car way back in 1968, describes its latest addition: The i40 Tourer. And, after spending a few days with one it’s becoming clear that’s not such a bold statement after-all.
Ok, so it’s probably easy to dismiss Korean brands as not nearly as sexy as some. But, I wouldn’t mind betting, like me, you too have probably given a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone or a 42 inch LG telly more than just a fleeting glimpse. Are Korean brands, then, becoming desirable?
Like sister brand Kia, Hyundai have gone to great lengths to make the cars it sells in Europe appeal to Europeans, even opening a new design studio in Russelsheim, Germany. Kia’s Sportage was designed by the same man who originally penned the Audi TT. Not to be out-done, Hyundai’s i40 Tourer, together with the soon-to-appear i40 saloon, is from the hand of ex-BMW stylist Thomas Burkle. As challenging as it may be to take on the more established brands, Hyundai it seems are hiring the right people to help them do it.
“A pleasant place to while away the miles”
Designed to take on rivals such as Ford’s Mondeo Estate and Vauxhall’s Insignia Sport-Tourer, the i40 is not only capacious – there’s 1,719 litres of storage space with the rear seats folded – but it’s also handsome, well-equipped and surprisingly well put together. The body may be a host to some pretty dynamic creases but none of them have an effect on the interior’s space. Everybody, including the centre rear-seat passenger, gets acres of head and leg-room and, except for the enormous A pillars which block your view at roundabouts, from the driving seat at least, things appear to be more than comfortable.
Don’t go thinking that there’s an abundance of hard scratchy plastics inside either. The i40’s finish and fit represent a quantum leap forward for the brand. Aluminium door handles, soft touch materials and a standard equipment list that would put some of the more familiar family orientated brands to shame all add up to make the i40’s cabin a pleasant place to while away the miles. You’ll pay extra for niceties such as dual zone climate control, parking sensors and sat-nav, but even the basic “Active” spec cars get air-con, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, 16” alloys and an electronic parking brake with auto-hold.
“Competent and relaxing”
One of the other things you don’t get is a rock-hard ride. Hyundai have resisted the urge to fit the i40 with super stiff springs resulting in a ride that seems to smothers the worst of those B-road bumps. The steering can feel a little over assisted, especially on the low friction tyres as fitted to Blue Drive specced examples, and a 0-62mph time of 12.9 seconds isn’t exactly what you’d call sporting, but never-the less over long distances the i40 proves itself to be both competent and rather relaxing.
Not only is the i40 cheaper than its competition, its level of standard fit goodies and gadgets is higher too. Throw in Hyundai’s five-year warranty, its new found build quality, the promise of 65.7 mpg and low road tax rates too and there’s a lot to like. With the i40 Hyundai could well be on to a winner.
Hyundai i40 Active 1.7 CRDi Blue Drive
Engine: 1685cc. 4 Cyl 16V DOHC Diesel
Transmission: 6 speed Manual
Power: 114 bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 192 lbft @ 1250 – 2750rpm
0-62mph: 12.9 sec
Max Speed: 118mph
Mpg: 65.7 (combined)
Price: £19395 (car shown £19,840)