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Driven: Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.

Driven: Hyundai i40 Tourer
Midlife facelift for Hyundai's excellent D-segment i40 estate.

   



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Hyundai i40 Tourer

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: sharp exterior, attractive and spacious interior, ride comfort, economy.

Not so good: never that exciting to drive, limited engine choice.

Key Facts

Model tested: Hyundai i40 Tourer SE Nav 1.7 CRDi
Price: i40 from 20,850; car as tested 24,200
Engine: 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 114g/km (Band C, 0 VED year one, 30 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 65.7mpg
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Power: 141hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 340Nm from 1,700- to 2,500rpm

Our view:

Launched in 2011, the Hyundai i40 was one of the first products from the Korean manufacturer that really made critics sit up and take proper notice of the brand. Here finally was a car that was not just a bargain alternative to the mainstream, D-segment establishment, but actually a genuine contender for class honours. It featured attractive styling, a decent and huge interior and plenty of equipment too. Crucially, it drove in a manner that felt every bit as cultured and well-developed as anything from Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and all the European/Japanese competition.

So, for 2015, the i40 saloon and Tourer ranges have had their mid-cycle makeover. Hyundai decided not to make sweeping alterations, instead grafting in the hexagonal, corporate grille seen on all its models, introducing some new alloy wheel designs and making a few extra paint colours available.

As with so many cars, the Tourer estate is prettier than the i40 saloon and in this high-ranking SE Nav guise, it looks great. The new styling revisions do enough to make the i40, a familiar shape on the UK's motorways, feel fresh. The interior quality is also ramped up, although there are just one or two hangover dud items of switchgear that will hopefully be phased out for the next-gen i40; it's as if Hyundai's improved interior quality, seen so emphatically on the i10 and Santa Fe models, is taking its time to fully filter into the wider model offering.

Not that the i40's cabin is poor, though, far from it. It's easily nicer than that in the Toyota Avensis and Vauxhall Insignia, if perhaps not quite up to the look and feel of the current Ford Mondeo - and some way off the Volkswagen Passat MkVIII. However, the redesigned satnav system on the seven-inch touchscreen is superb, DAB radio is standard fit across the range, the LCD display in the instrument cluster is rendered in lovely, modern graphics and there's a general excellence to the dashboard layout that makes it very easy to get comfy behind the Hyundai's wheel. Good driving position, too.

And you'll remain comfy once on the move, as the i40 is supremely refined. The 1.7-litre CRDi unit is the only engine offered, in just two power trims - 115hp as an entry point and 141hp here. That represents a 3hp increase over the pre-facelift i40, which is nominal, but the torque rises 15Nm to 340Nm and it's also on tap at a lower point in the rev range. So while 141hp may not be a huge number by today's class standards, the i40 feels suitably brisk. It pulls cleanly and quietly in lower gears, building up to traffic flow speeds with little drama or cursing from the driver, while on the motorway it's flexible enough to be able to surge away from those infernal 50mph SPECS zones that litter our main routes, without having to drop down a few gears in the process.

Not that it's a problem if you have to use the six-speed manual, as it's a pleasure to deal with it - there's a nice chunkiness to the throw and each cog slots home with little effort but plenty of precision. And unless you're trying to hurl the i40 Tourer along a back road, it puts on a polished dynamic display, led by a fantastic ride. There are very few road surfaces that upset the Hyundai's composure, which means it covers distance with incredible ease; that's probably in part down to the Tourer's self-levelling rear suspension. The body control is good too, with a little pitch, roll and dive evident, although not enough to make the i40 feel loose in bends.

The only criticism is that, like many cars in this sector, there's not much reward for a driver who revels in the occasional 'spirited' drive. The i40's capable, no doubt about that, with lots of grip and strong brakes, plus the facelift brought in the addition of Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC), designed to mimic the work of a limited-slip differential. Yet the steering remains an area where Hyundai is yet to catch up with the best opposition - it's still too light and lifeless in comparison to, say, the Ford Mondeo's EPAS set-up. And once you start revving it hard, the 1.7-litre's output deficits make themselves felt. So it's certainly not a car for the ragged edge, although as a lot of the competition in this class possesses the same 'safely, safely' driving manners, the Hyundai shouldn't be singled out for criticism here. If you're a really keen driver, stick with the Ford.

If we were to call the i40 Tourer a cut-price Volkswagen Passat, it would be very cruel on it - it's not quite at the exalted quality levels of the Volkswagen, but it's so close that it doesn't just feel like the value alternative to the Passat. Indeed, when the Hyundai's excellent five-year warranty comes into play, it makes itself very hard to resist if you're after this sort of family wagon. Class leader? Perhaps not quite, but it's certainly on the podium - something that would have been inconceivable to have said about Hyundais six or seven years ago. The refreshed i40 Tourer is a remarkably likeable and excellent car.

Alternatives:

Ford Mondeo: handy chassis and improved interior/exterior styling. Wider choice of engines than the i40 but the Ford is more money to buy.

Toyota Avensis: recently overhauled and there or thereabouts in terms of class honours, yet the Avensis still struggles with a boring image. We'd rather have the Hyundai.

Volkswagen Passat: the car that leads this class of vehicles that all aim to challenge Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Classy interior, clean styling, refined - but dull to drive.


Matt Robinson - 27 Aug 2015



  www.hyundai.co.uk    - Hyundai road tests
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2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.

2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.2015 Hyundai i40 Tourer. Image by Hyundai.








 

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