In my first proper job, I worked for a publisher who produced a driving instructor magazine. One of the first features we ran, was a review of the Hyundai Pony, timed to coincide with the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Hyundai even had two special editions available, the Gold & Silver medal Ponys. Back then, Hyundai were little known in the UK, even though they were & still are, one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world.
Over the next 15 years, they gradually became better known here & launched an increasing number of new cars such as the Accent, Sonata, S Coupe & Getz, all well made, cheap to buy & very reliable. Then around the mid 2000’s, they started to produce cars with all of their usual traits, but cars that were more attractive, more European if you will & slowly but surely Hyundai increased sales to both the UK retail & fleet market, with new models such as the i10, i20, i30 & now the i40 & much advertised Veloster.
Mid January is not my favourite time of year, but this was the time I was set to drive an i40 Tourer, which came out last year & will shortly be followed by an i40 saloon later this year. Estates as I know them, have been starting to look better for a few years now with both the Toyota Avensis estate & Vauxhall Insignia estate for example, being better to look at than their saloon stable mates. This too, is true of the i40 Tourer which looks fantastic, with a very attractive back end & smooth curves on it’s outside.
The insides not bad either. Taking a leaf from the expensively plush BMW 3 & Audi A4 Tourers, has meant that Hyundai like others have designed an interior that wouldn’t be out of place in a much more expensive car. All of the buttons & switches fall easily to hand, with my top of the range Premium model including a really nice SAT NAV system & an easily worked Bluetooth hands free phone connection. Predominantly black, the dash board & leather seats were well designed & very comfortable, with good room in the back for 3 passengers. The real bonus of the Tourer of course is the boot space & the i40 comes with 553 litres of it & a mammoth 1719 litres with the rear seats folded down, perfect for a family, especially those with young children.
Start the engine & the real star of the car springs to life it’s 1.7 CRDi engine, a unit shared with sister company Kia & one I had experienced last year in their Sportage model. Not only is the engine smooth & quiet it’s 136PS power unit delivered power too, particularly on the motorway, with an impressive 0 – 62 mph time of 10.2 seconds & a top speed of 124 mph. What makes this engine so good are it’s emissions, 134g/KM & it’s fuel economy, with a combined MPG of 62.8. Even with my right foot & predominantly urban driving, I managed almost 46 MPG in the week I drove it.
I did saunter over the Pennines to Batley in the i40, in very poor weather & found that it shone brightest on the motorway, where I tootled along quite happily at just over the speed limit. Not once did the car feel anything other than exact in some testing road conditions & both I & my passengers felt safe & secure in a very comfortable car.
Back in my local area, I found the Tourer very easy to maneuver & park. It’s slick gear change was a bonus too. Only a couple of times did I find that my laziness at not changing down into second to take a corner, left me with a lack of power, a common mistake when driving a diesel. Other than this, I couldn’t really fault the i40 & unlike Jeremy Clarkson, who drove the same car recently, warding it 3 out of 5, I can highly recommend it to fleet users, particularly if you are using our country’s motorway network on a regular basis.
Overall, it’s well worth a look & scores 4 out of 5.