Revolutions are made quietly, South Korean engineers would say. It is certainly true for the latest Hyundai i40 we tested.
The car proved to be a stylish, quality built, comfortable saloon with excellent economy and performance. On top of that, it comes with (very) lavish equipment.
This i40 is certainly born to make its mark in the saloon car class, and it will certainly also find its place in the company and fleet car market.
Reason enough for us, to have a test drive with this Hyundai , and experience for ourselves the Korean (r)evolution on wheels…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
We drove the car with the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine, coupled to an excellent and smooth changing 6 speed automatic.
The combination proved very refined, which is very much into character with this car. The car performs quite well, and will accelerate from 0 to 100 in 11.6 seconds, climbing to a maximum speed of 197 kmh.
But one is rather invited to drive the i40 not too aggressively. The gearbox will see that the gears are chosen in function to the very good torque characteristics, being some 33.7 kgm between 2,000~2,500 rpm.
The advantage of the smooth and alert transmission is that there is always enough power at hand, and this gives a very reassuring feeling to the driver.
Maximum power of 136 HP is developed at 4000 rpm. Of course you can use the steering column-mounted paddles, for example when going on a long downhill road or slope, to leave the car in a lower gear than it would normally choose. But this we did quite rarely, and we just let the transmission do its work.
The economy was quite good, which is no surprise as most engines and transmission are quite efficient nowadays. The factory indicates 7.6 litres in urban traffic, and some 6 litres on average use.
Quite frankly, out measured test consumption was 6.3 litres, being a mix of motorway and heavy Brussels city traffic. The engine is smooth, quiet and vibrationless.
The know how and experience of Hyundai as a “motoriste” or engine builder is clearly evident. One should remember that Hyundai engines power many supertankers on the global seas and oceans , so…
Comfort and space
The engine and transmission being refined and unobtrusive, an upmarket feeling is also very much present in the interior.
Our test car came with the top equipment level “Executive”, and this means having heated leather seats and even a …heated leather steering wheel.
Of course we had a rear-view camera fitted with a 130 degree wide angle lens, full navigation system and an excellent “Infinitiy” audio system with external amplifier and subwoofer. Listening to classical music and jazz proved to be a joy every time we sat behind the wheel. Of course cruise control and speed limiters are present, so pleasant on longer journeys.
On the trim of our test cars, the leather seats are heated… and also ventilated. It is worthwile noting that also the rear seats can be heated…
Xenon headlights also turn their beam in bends, which is an extra we like very much, and the beam alters itself also in function of the speed. The lane change warning and the “blind spot” control where the left rear view mirror signals approaching cars on your left side is also an accessory we like very much.
The Hyundai i40 is spacious both inside and in the boot. Even with tall persons in the front seats there is ample room for two rear adult passengers. The boot space is very impressive, with the seats upright available loading space is some 525 litres.
We also liked the styling of the dashboard, and the (blue) illumination of the well designed round dials.
Good and efficient handling
Handling is agile and predictable, and of course the i40 has “variable” steering servo. The steering feels light at lower speeds and city crawls. When driven with verve, the car will hardly lean over, and the front wheels provide plenty of grip. Last but not least the car is very safe: it was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP and it comes with a host of safety features including seven airbags.
Quality abounds, and this is all combined with grace and style. Indeed, we find the styling of the i40 also a good point worth mentioning. The car is spacious, well designed mechanically, and comes fully equipped, even in the base” lounge” version.
So take this car into serious consideration when you consider the purchase of a saloon…
Hans Knol ten Bensel