Hyundai i40 Estate (2015 - ) review
The i40 Tourer is a highly competent family-sized estate car, but it’s up against some formidable opposition including the Skoda Superb, Ford Mondeo, and Vauxhall Insignia.
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The i40 Tourer looks a lot slinkier than your typical Euro-box estate car, which typically, tend to sacrifice a degree of style in the quest for maximum capacity. The angular detailing of the i40’s large hexagonal grille and headlamps combine with the creases in the bonnet and down the sides of the body to give a sharp, stylised look. What’s more, all versions get LED daytime running lights and tail lights, plus alloy wheels and chrome-effect detailing around the grille, windows and boot lid. Although that sloping roof line can’t help but impact on ultimate boot volume, unless you really need a vehicle you can cram to the rafters, the i40 will certainly provide sufficient space to satisfy the needs of most growing families.
Although not quite a match for the standards set by the Skoda Superb Estate, the overall quality of materials used throughout the i40’s cabin is probably on par with a Ford Mondeo. This means you get a mixture of plush materials where you most often feel them, such as elbow and knee touchpoints, combined with tougher plastics lower in the cabin and in the load area designed to resist the typical scuffs and knocks handed out by daily family life. On top of this, all the switches, stalks and buttons work well, and the infotainment system is reasonably intuitive too, even if the display screen is rather small.
The driving position could be better, however. Although there’s lots of leg-room adjustment, and the front seat provide excellent support over the whole length of the spine, they don’t go low enough and the steering wheel lacks sufficient height adjustment. Additionally, those who are shorter and tend to sit quite close to the dashboard may find the gear stick is located too far back for comfort.
There’s certainly enough head- and knee-room in the back of the i40 to comfortably accommodate a brace of lofty adults in comfort, plus there’s just about enough shoulder room to carry a third passenger if you need to. The boot is also a decent size with 553-litres of load space available with the rear seats in place, and with the exception of the rather fiddly load cover, it’s a breeze to load, thanks to a low sill height and no load lip to overcome.
The split-folding rear seats will also let you extend the cargo area to accommodate longer loads, but the seat backs don’t fold entirely flat and it’s not exactly the squarest of load bays, either. While some hefty wheel arch intrusions limit the overall width, the roofline plunges quite steeply towards the rear tailgate. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re just carrying holiday luggage, such as a bunch of suitcases and some pillows and duvets, but it’s not really ideal if you’re in the washing machine repair game.
Ride and handling
A lot of i40s will be sold as company cars, and as such they’ll spend the majority of their days pounding up and down long stretches of motorway. It’s obvious Hyundai’s engineers are aware of this predilection because this is where the Tourer performs at its best. Its soft suspension delivers a smooth, comfortable ride, and overall refinement is excellent at typical motorway cruising speeds. Low levels of road- and wind-noise and a subdued engine note all do their bit in making the i40 deliver a quiet, stress-free environment.
When the roads do get a bit twistier, the i40 doesn’t display quite the same level of polish. Although the steering is nicely weighted, the nose of the car doesn’t respond as intuitively or as smoothly to inputs as we’d like, and when the Tourer does change direction it does so with a fair amount of body roll.
One neat trick that sets the i40 apart from all its competitors is its ability to maintain steering assistance, even when the engine falls silent in stop-start mode. This comes in handy when waiting at a junction, as you can pre-set the steering direction without needing to summon the engine back into life.
You’ll need to be a fan of diesel power if you’re buying an i40, because petrol engines aren’t available. The 1.7-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel unit is available in two power outputs – 116 and 141PS – and both come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the more powerful engine is available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Both versions are reasonably refined, providing you keep them in their comfort zone, but neither feels particularly strong.
Both engines feel equally flat at low revs. All things considered, the more powerful version can probably just about justify its price premium, as its stronger mid-range pull makes it easier to drive in a less frantic fashion, and the additional muscle will come in handy if you intend to haul around heavier loads on a regular basis. There’s little point revving either engine hard, as they are all but spent power-wise by 2500rpm. Although this may sound like a rather limited power band, once you’ve perfected the technique of giving the engine a quick blast of revs and swiftly shifting though the gearbox, you’ll have no bother keeping things rowing along at a reasonable rate of knots.
The i40 certainly shouldn’t break the bank when it comes to everyday running costs. With CO2 emissions as low as 110g/km, official average economy is as high as 67.3mpg for the lower powered car. The more powerful diesel emits 114g/km, and fuel consumption is quoted at a combined average of 65.7mpg. That said, because they’re so closely matched, both models fall into the same BIK banding. Those figures do rise to 129g/km if you choose the more powerful engine with an auto gearbox, and while fuel economy falls to 56.5mpg, your BIK implication will take an upward hike. Although all i40s are attractively priced, resale values are similar to that of a Ford Mondeo: in other words, not particularly great. At least insurance premiums are affordable and Hyundai offers several low-cost maintenance plans.
The i40 hasn’t featured in the latest JD Power survey, and isn’t listed by Warranty Direct, but the Hyundai brand sits near the top of the standings for both. The company is gaining an excellent reputation for both owner satisfaction and reliability, and if anything does go wrong, the car comes with a five-year/unlimited-mileage triple-care warranty, which includes roadside assistance and car health checks.
Along with the mandatory electronic stability control and a tyre pressuring monitoring system, all i40s get seven airbags, and Hill Start Assist, while a Lane Departure Warning system with Lane Keep Assist and additional rear side airbags come with top of the range Premium trim. The i40 performed well in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, garnering a maximum five-star rating. It got 92% for adult occupant safety and 86% for the child occupant test.
Standard kit on entry-level S trim includes 16-inch alloys, air-con, Bluetooth, heated door mirrors, all-round electric windows, remote central locking, a USB socket and tinted glass. SE Nav is our favourite trim, as it adds dual zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus a touch-screen featuring sat-nav and a parking camera. Front and rear parking sensors are also included, as are cruise control, auto wipers, a DAB radio, a heated steering wheel and front seats, and LED front foglights. SE Nav Business adds ventilated front leather seats and keyless entry. Premium models feature a smart tailgate, which opens automatically when you stand in close proximity to the rear of the car with the smart key pressed for three seconds, 18-inch alloys, heated rear seats, and an opening panoramic sunroof.
The Hyundai i40 Tourer is a very likeable estate car. It’s not the biggest, the fastest or the most dynamically engaging car, but it is refined, very comfortable and an easy car to live with on a daily basis. It’s also great value for money, thanks to competitive pricing, very generous levels of standard equipment, an extensive warranty, and low running costs.