The i40: great for visiting the in-laws

 
Ryan Borroff
There are a number of criteria that make up the ideal family car. First of all, it needs to be big enough to carry gifts from the opposing sides of the family you’re obliged to visit, plus any bulky items you manage to raid from what’s left of the January sales. It’s also got to be effortlessly amenable and leisurely to drive in order to absorb the stress of visiting the “outlaws”, all of whom live at disparate ends of rural south east England or indeed, even further afield. So your ideal car needs to be big, easy and positively Scrooge-like on fuel. These are the simple motoring needs of a family driver at Christmas.

So great, then, that Hyundai proposed I test a snow-white i40 Tourer, its new Mondeo-sized family estate. On paper the i40 Tourer met our needs easily but in reality far exceeded them. First of all, it looks good. This is something I can get genuinely excited about because secretly, deep down, I have always harboured a fixation with estates. Before becoming a father I was rather embarrassed to admit this abnormality. Real car people lust after hot hatches and fast saloons. Not me.

Which means for me the i40 Tourer is a very attractive proposition. There are other handsome saloon cars, but currently, none that look as good as this. Sleek and curvaceous the i40’s side profile is streamlined, almost elegant, and it looks fast and cool. This is not the kind of thing one has come to expect from estate car design.

Inside the cabin looks and feels decent. It isn’t outstanding but it is very good. The switches and dials are well laid out and easy to use and access, although the central console is not very intuitive and I disliked its wing-like form. The interior is very spacious and there’s plenty of headroom too – even for adults – despite that sweeping rake of the roof at the back.

The 1.7-turbo diesel version with a manual gearbox, which I tested, is likely to be the biggest seller in the UK. It is rammed with the kind of technology that can reduce a BMW buyer to tears in a dealership. In the i40 cruise control, satnav, parking camera, dual-zone aircon, cooling glove box, folding mirrors, a stop/start system and even the huge panoramic sunroof all come as standard.

On the road the i40 is great to drive. It’s not the fastest diesel available and it can be a bit noisy at lower speeds but on the motorway it’s relaxing and efficient. I found the ride to be a little soft on the motorway, and around the City and across speed bumps and potholes, it could be a little bumpy. One of the major downsides of this car was the limited rear view visibility, but I felt it was a small price to pay for such a dynamic looking car.

So what about Scrooge? Well with just one tank of petrol, the i40 took us from N4 to Brent Cross and around North London for last-minute panic Christmas shopping. I then took a round trip to visit family in Canterbury, then Colchester and then back home – a total of 300 miles or thereabouts – and we still had more than half a tank of fuel left. This meant our wholly unscientific fuel economy test found the i40 is capable of 600-plus miles on a full tank.

Overall the Hyundai i40 Tourer feels like an accomplished car. Only the ride and handling lets it down a bit. Is in the best in class? No but it’s close. I found it attracted a great deal of positive interest. The i40 Tourer is a very compelling family car.

THE STATS: HYUNDAI I40 TOURER 1.7-TURBO DIESEL

PRICE: £24,395
0-62MPH: 10.6sec
TOP SPEED: 124mph
CO2 G/KM: 134g/km
MPG COMBINED: 55.4mpg

THE VERDICT:

DESIGN ****
PERFORMANCE ***
PRACTICALITY ****
VALUE FOR MONEY ****