£19,695 - £27,595 Price range
56 - 67 MPG
Even as recently as five years ago you’d have called us crazy for saying you’d willingly buy a Hyundai family car on looks alone, but the i40 saloon, like the tourer before it, looks great.
It also gets pretty good reviews, so it has talent to back up those sharp lines. It is comfortable, cheap to run and has excellent safety ratings, are these qualities enough for Hyundai to outclass the market-leading Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat?
Cheapest to buy: 1.7-litre Blue Drive S diesel
Cheapest to run: 1.7-litre Blue Drive S diesel
Fastest model: 1.7-litre Blue Drive DCT SE Nav diesel
Most popular: 1.7-litre Blue Drive DCT SE Nav diesel
All testers agree that the Hyundai i40’s interior feels a lot higher quality than the badge suggests – it’s well-finished and well-built. There’s also plenty of room inside for four or five adults, and although the saloon boot is less practical than that of the estate, there’s still 525 litres of space. You should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel too, and the cabin remains a refined place to be once on the move.
There are one or two patchy areas in terms of material quality, but this is only a minor criticism of an otherwise pleasant interior.
One car keeps cropping up in i40 reviews: the Ford Mondeo. Unfortunately, this is as a reference to a car that the Hyundai doesn’t handle as well as, but then few family hatchbacks do, and in the greater scheme of things, the i40 is decent to drive.
Some testers complain of odd steering feel from the electric power assistance, which results in inconsistent weighting on occasion. It rides well most of the time, and settles down to a happy cruise on the motorway.
Most customers buying a car in this class choose diesel, rather than petrol. As such, it’s no surprise that Hyundai dropped the i40′s only petrol offering a while back – leaving the 1.7 CRDi diesel the only unit available, in two different power outputs.
For a car of this size, you might be forgiven for thinking the i40 wouldn’t be that quick… and you’d be right. Even the punchiest 134hp diesel lump hits 60 after a full ten seconds, and you can add another couple for the 113hp unit. Importantly though, much of the engine’s torque is accessible from fairly low revs – whichever unit you choose. The real benefit of the lower-power model is fuel efficiency – in “Blue Drive” trim, it’s capable of 65.7mpg.
Buyers looking at family cars are increasingly starting to look towards diesel as a way of improving their economy, to reduce fuel costs. Hyundai’s 1.7 CRDi can be had in 115bhp and 136bhp options, so it doesn’t offer massive power, but economy is very impressive. Over 60mpg is achievable from the eco-conscious (and stop-start equipped) Blue Drive models. The 115bhp version reaches 65.7mpg, with a tiny £30 a year road tax bill.
Reviewers aren’t overwhelmingly positive about the engine, unfortunately. While economy really is good, some feel the engine is a little underpowered for such a large vehicle, and you’ll need a few more revs than expected to make decent progress. This means extra noise at low speeds, though testers do say it settles down on the motorway, so it makes for a refined long-distance car.
The i40 has scored excellently in the Euro NCAP crash tests, where it was awarded the maximum five-star rating. This score was helped by the comprehensive list of standard-fit safety equipment, which includes seven airbags, emergency brake assist and electronic stability control.
Its impossible to fault the i40’s safety credentials, and for that reason alone it makes it an ideal candidate for carting the family around.
Predictably, the i40 is good value. In addition to the low fuel costs, the car also comes with Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, that’s sure to provide peace of mind for buyers, and kicks most rivals’ warranties into touch.
You get a lot of car for your money, with lots of gadgets and toys as standard. It’s a fair bit cheaper than the aforementioned Mondeo, though doesn’t offer as great an engine range.
The range-topping i40 Premium SE was added in March 2013. It adds to the Premium trim with the Comfort, Vision and Assist packs. Reviews reckon mid-spec Style models have the best price and equipment compromise, while Blue Drive versions are the economy choices.
If you need extra space from your i40, or simply a more practical body shape, then the i40 Tourer estate is the model to go for. It has the same engine range as the saloon, as well as offering a 2.0-litre petrol.
Hyundai are catching up with the competition all the time, and the i40 saloon is a genuinely talented vehicle in its class. It may not quite have the driver appeal or quality of the Mondeo or Passat, but once you consider the huge warranty, good economy and great value for money, the i40 is clearly a sound choice for families on a budget.