Hyundai i40 Saloon (2011 - ) review
Read the Hyundai i40 saloon (2011- ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drivesThe Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.7 The Hyundai i40 saloon is a likeable and capable family car which will worry the established manufacturers in the class with its quality and value.
- Up to 65.7mpg with Bluedrive Techology
- Attractive styling
- Classy and spacious interior
- Engines aren’t the most flexible
- Not as fun or as comfortable as the best
- Awkward driving position
At a glance
Standard features with the Active trim level include 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth with voice recognition, leather steering wheel, heated door mirrors, electric windows and an electric parking brake with auto hold. Style trim adds touch-screen sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and dual-zone climate control. Premium i40s get leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and supervision instruments. Three optional packs are available; Vision, Comfort and Assist.
The i40 is a handsome car, and can more than cut it in the style stakes when compared with its family car rivals. The angular detailing of the grill and headlamps combine with the swooping lines of the bonnet and roof to give a really sleek look. The rear end is characterised by LED tail lamps and a steeply raked rear screen. All models feature alloy wheels and chrome trims around the windows and exhaust pipes, and that means you get the same sleek looks, even if you opt for an entry-level version.
While Hyundai’s interiors were once blighted by cheap and nasty plastic, the i40’s cabin can stand toe to toe with the quality of the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Insignia. Not only are the materials plush, but everything feels well assembled, too. The infotainment system is reasonably intuitive to use, but the driving position could be better. There’s lots of adjustment, but the seat won’t go low enough and the steering wheel won’t go high enough. Rear visibility isn’t great, either.
All i40s come with a 1.7-litre diesel engine giving either 113bhp or 134bhp. Neither is particularly quick, but the more powerful version has a useful bit of extra punch in the mid-range. Both feel rather flat at the bottom, but they’re just about man enough for the job of hauling the car around. Make sure you choose a car with a Bluedrive badge, though; they’re no slower than non-Bluedrive versions, but much more efficient.
Despite appearing fairly compact from the outside, the i40 has a very roomy cabin. There’s enough head- and kneeroom in the back to comfortably accommodate a brace of lofty adults, and a third can (just about) fit if needs be. The boot is similarly expansive with 525 litres of capacity, and there are split-folding rear seats that let you extend the cargo area into the cabin for bigger loads. However, the saloon bodystyle limits your access to the space, and the narrow, oddly-shaped opening between the boot and the passenger compartment will prevent you from carrying some bulkier items.
Hyundai is gaining an excellent reputation for both owner satisfaction and reliability, and the brand currently sits near the top of the Warranty Direct manufacturer standings. And, if anything does go wrong, the car comes with a five-year/unlimited-mileage triple-care warranty, which includes road side assistance and car health checks.
Ride and handling
Because most i40s will be sold as company cars, they’ll spend much of their time pounding up and down motorways. Luckily, that’s where the car is at its best. The soft suspension gives a smooth, comfortable ride and refinement is generally good. When you’re going slower, the ride doesn’t quite have the same polish as a Ford Mondeo’s, feeling a bit lumpier over bumps, but it’s still pretty comfy. The Hyundai can’t match the Ford in the bends, either; the body control isn’t as tight and the steering feels vague and artificially weighted.
The reason for the extra efficiency of the Bluedrives is that these versions get engine stop-start and low-resistance tyres. That gives the 113bhp car low CO2 emissions of 113g/km and a claimed average fuel consumption of 65.7mpg – just the ticket for high-mileage company car drivers. The 134bhp Bluedrive model isn’t much higher with 119g/km and 62.8mpg. Without Bluedrive, though, these figures go up to 134g/km and 55.4mpg.
Every i40 is fitted with anti-lock brakes, an electronic stability programme, hill-start assist and seven airbags. What’s more, the car has achieved the maximum five-star score in Euro NCAP crash tests. A lane departure system is available with the optional Assist Pack, which automatically steers the car if it wanders out of its lane.
The Hyundai i40 isn’t the best family saloon out there, but it’s very likeable and it’s capable in every area. It’s also great value for money, with competitive pricing and generous equipment. Private buyers will like its generous warranty, and company car drivers will like its low running costs.