Hyundai i40 saloon review
Its rakish, fastback design suggests that it could be a hatch, but it’s actually a four-door with a boot.
The i40 saloon has the same stylishly designed, pleasingly finished interior as the Tourer and gets folding rear seat backrests as standard, although the gap through to the cabin is narrow.
Mechanically the saloon is identical to the Tourer, and it comes with a similar engine range. All versions are powered by either a 1.7-litre turbodiesel that’s available with outputs of 114bhp and 134bhp, or a 133bhp direct-injection 1.6-litre petrol. The saloon does miss out on the 2.0 litre petrol offered in the estate.
Unsurprisingly, the diesel is expected to be the bigger seller, and it’s the 134bhp version we sample here, with emissions of 134g/km of CO2.
The lower-powered, 114bhp version puts out an excellent 113g/km of CO2, incidentally, although it’s performance is likely to be a touch leisurely. Stop-start is offered on all models.
What’s it like to drive? We’ve driven both the manual and six-speed automatic versions of the higher-powered 134bhp unit.
A 1.7-litre engine doesn’t sound stout enough for a car this big, and indeed, the manual i40 will stall away from rest if you're light on revs.
Once on the move, however, it performs well provided you keep it above 1600rpm. It’s a little noisy at low speeds, but is very relaxed when you’re cruising on the motorway.
The automatic is similarly guttural at low speeds and the gear changes struggle to keep pace with the revs as the car picks up speed. In the higher gears, however, the noise drops away for a smooth, effortless ride.
As you’d hope of such a sizeable, well-finished car, the i40 rides well for the most part, although some sharp bumps can have the suspension crashing unexpectedly.
The i40 handles pretty well, too. Just don’t expect it to cut through corners with the precision of a Ford Mondeo.
At lower speeds the steering can feel decidedly odd because its electric assistance sometimes causes the wheel to pulse in your hand as you turn. This is rare, though.
What’s it like inside? The i40 is a big, comfortable car that provides refined long-distance travel, particularly in the top-of-the-range Premium form we tried. This comes with leather trim, a sizeable glass sunroof, sat-nav, a parking camera, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and more.
The stylish facia, comfortable seats and generous accommodation heighten the feeling of modest luxury, as can some of the options, which include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and even a heated steering wheel.
Unfortunately, taller drivers may struggle with the i40’s higher-than-average driving position, and the head restraints jut too far forward for comfort.
Oddments space is good – though not as good as in the latest i30 hatchback – and the boot is big, but the styling forces a shortened bootlid that could make loading awkward.
Should I buy one? This car is easily the most impressive big saloon Hyundai has ever offered, and it certainly bears comparison with mainstream rivals.
Low running costs and the protection of a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty that includes roadside assistance and an annual vehicle check strengthen its case, as does reasonably keen pricing. However, enthusiastic drivers will prefer the Mondeo’s road manners.
The driving position and uneven power delivery may also dissuade some from considering this otherwise good-looking, stylishly furnished car.
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