Hyundai is growing up in more ways than one, it still believes in the adage of “sell on price, warranty and youth appeal, but now adds quality, size a sense of respectability. Offering buyers stacks of standard kit and low-running costs at a bargain price might work in the small car market, but going up against the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Holden Sportwagon is a completely different challenge altogether. The wagon market is a lucrative area, due to all the company car drivers, and this is where Hyundai hopes its i40 Tourer Active can start making some impact. As the brand has steadily improved its cars and slowly crept up on the big European and Japanese rivals, the i40 marks another step forward for the brand in terms of performance and quality. If you’re buying a wagon then your priority is practicality and space – and this car has both in abundance. Not only is the boot impressive but there’s also a huge amount of room for all rear passengers, who will be able to stretch out in comfort. Even as Hyundai continues to up its game, it still hasn’t lost sight of the core values that have brought it to the attention of Australian customers – affordable and reliable motoring. All versions come with a huge amount of kit, on top of this; you also get the company’s excellent Five Year Warranty package. So can this car tackle the established competition or will Hyundai find itself at the back of the queue? Read on to find out…
While the ix35 bought the manufacturer up to scratch with its European counterparts, the i40 has moved the game on that little bit further. All dials and buttons are easy to find and use, while the flowing dash design gives the inside of the car that little extra stylish touch it needs to take on the competition. Some of the plastics are disconcertingly shiny, but this is mixed in with the more upmarket feeling stuff and doesn’t cause too many problems.
There are two engines available in the i40 line up. First and best option is the diesel option. Based on a 1.7-litre engine it gives ample grunt when needed. Our tester featured the 2.0 litre petrol engine mated to an auto box. The 2.0-litre choice will hit the magic 100kph mark in 9.7 seconds. Despite the top power and best sprint time in the range, the petrol engines labour and need to be worked much harder than the diesel option. The six-speed automatic gearbox is available as an option. While it’s not the most advanced of automatic gearboxes available, changes are pretty smooth and owners even get paddles if they feel like they want to get more involved.
The i40 might not be quite as good in the handling stakes as the Ford Mondeo but it’s ahead of say the Volkswagen Passat for driving involvement. Hyundai Australia has put a lot time localising the i40 Tourer’s suspension tune. The steering is well weighted, despite it being an electronically-assisted system. These usually tend to be overly light and lacking in feel, unlike conventional hydraulic versions but not in this car. It’s also speed sensitive which means it’s light when you’re tackling tight city streets then becomes heavier as you get up to motorway speeds, giving the driver plenty of confidence.
There’s plenty of adjustment in the front seats, so getting in to a comfortable spot should be easy. Even at its lowest point the driver’s seat felt a little too high, however, while there was limited reach and height movement for the steering wheel. The front seats are comfortable enough for long journeys although the side bolstering could be better to hold you in round tighter corners. There’s minimal road and wind noise which makes the Hyundai a very pleasant place to be.
There’s masses of room in the i40, even with two taller people in the front of the car there’s enough legroom for six-foot plus rear passengers to be comfortable. Boot space is even more impressive with 553 litres of room on offer with the seats in place – that’s bigger than most of the competition. Drop the two rear seats and this expands to a mammoth 1,719 litres. Unfortunately the rear seats don’t fold completely flat, making it a little more difficult for hauling around longer items. Despite the sloped roof styling, the boot lip is a reasonable height that should make hauling heavier items in the back straightforward. The glove box and centre storage are both good sizes so you will have no problem stashing things away, while there are plenty of smaller cubbies around the cabin for smaller items.
This is where the Hyundai continues to impress and trump its rivals. The spec line-up is the now recognisable Active, Elite and Premium, and all cars come with the kind of high level of standard kit now synonymous with the South Korean manufacturer. Active models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity delivered via the multimedia entertainment system which includes hands-free operation (telephone hands-free and audio streaming), and an MP3 capable CD player with full iPod® compatibility, USB / auxiliary inputs and AM/FM radio with voice recognition, leather steering wheel with audio controls, electric heated door mirrors with integrated LED indicators, electric front and rear windows and electric parking brake with automatic hold function.
Nine airbags, the full kit, including – corner braking, stability and traction control, brake assist, brake force distribution and a hill holder – add to a five-star crash rating and a full-size spare wheel.
The i40 Tourer does show how far Hyundai has come in the past 10 years, particularly in terms of quality, styling and refinement. It’s well built, refined and is good value. Add in Hyundai’s Five Year unlimited warranty and the i40 looks a winner. The Hyundai i40 Tourer is quite possibly the best wagon ever to come out of Korea. Hyundai may have improved its small family cars in recent years and launched an excellent crossover in the form of the ix35, but it’s never had something in the same mould as the Ford Mondeo or Holden Sportwagon or the Volkswagen Passat but it does now and it’s a winner.
What is good and not so good?
What is good?
Good value for money,
Comfortable and easy to drive
Better looking than rivals
Huge amount of space
What’s not so good?
Rear visibility is a little difficult
Not the best auto box on the market
Vehicle Hyundai i40 Tourer Active $34,490*
Drivetrain 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine
six-speed automatic transmission
Power and Torque 130kW @ 6500rpm
213Nm @ 4700rpm
Safety Emissions 5 star
CO2 Emissions g/km 176 g/km
Green Vehicle Guide Rating 4 star
Fuel Economy L/100km (ADR comb) 7.5.L/100km
Tow Capacity N/A
Tow Ball Rating N/A
Warranty 5 year/Unlimited km,
Alternative VW Passat
Alternative Ford Mondeo
Alternative Holden Sportwagon
* Manufacturers List Price does not include government or other statutory charges, insurance or dealer-delivery fee.
AnyAuto Ratings 81/100
Behind the Wheel 8
Fit for Purpose 9
Value for Money 9
Build Quality 9
Ride & Handling 7