Hyundai i40 Video Review Transcript
The Hyundai i40 is perhaps the best new Hyundai yet – a great blend of standard features and solid driving dynamics. The i40 is excellent value for the money – but it’s not exactly a cheap car. The i40 is better to drive than a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord Euro, but not quite as sharp as a Mazda6, and it’s a little less compelling overall than a Kia Optima.
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Here’s some more about the i40.
The i40 kicked off as a station wagon – Hyundai callis it a ‘tourer’ – but it’s since been joined by a very sleek sedan version. Prices kick off at around $30,000 driveaway for the base-model petrol manual … at least they do when there’s a sale on, but you can spend up to about $50,000 driveaway for the ‘works burger’ of i40s. The wagon is about $2500 more than the sedan.
Three model grades are available: Active, Elite and Premium. You get more fruit as you step up but even the base-model ‘Active’ is very well equipped. And the mechanical underpinnings are standard across the range.
All three models get Bluetooth, daytime running lamps, nine airbags, five-star crashworthiness, and steering wheel-mounted buttons for phone and audio.
The i40 Elite steps up from 16 to 17-inch alloys, adds a smart key, auto wipers and parking sensors at both ends.
Top-spec i40 Premium adds 18-inch alloys, privacy glass, a panoramic glass roof and a reversing camera. It’s pretty much fully loaded.
If you want a manual transmission, you’ll be stuck with a base-model Active i40. An auto is optional on the Active, but Elites and Premiums are automatic-only. Both transmissions are six-speed.
To me, the i40 – and Hyundai’s current design generally, which is called, unfortunately, fluidic sculpture – tries about 50 per cent too hard to look elegant and upmarket, and there are some slightly unfortunate curves in the rear of the wagon. Less might have been more when it comes to styling, but the sedan and even the wagon are extremely quiet and refined, with low noise and vibration levels. The wagon is not at all boomy like the wagons you might have ridden around in as a kid. And, apart from being absolutely loaded with standard features, there’s a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is two years more than the majority of brands manage to offer.
Overall, the i40 is much better than most people think a Hyundai could ever be.
There are two engine options: a 2.0-litre petrol and a 1.7-litre diesel. The diesel is the pick, by a country mile. It’s got loads more torque, and significantly more real-world performance. I’ve driven several thousand kilometers on both engines, and frankly the petrol is just a little too anorexic – that can make life interesting when you’re overtaking on the highway. Too interesting. The two engines are not only not in the same race – they’re not even in the same postcode. If you want to make the petrol perform, you need to push it hard, and then fuel economy flies out the window. The i40 urgently needs the 2.4-litre direct injection petrol four from its bigger brother, the i45. That’d make it a great car.
The diesel costs a couple of grand more, but it’s a much stronger performer, and more economical as well. That’s a very worthwhile investment. Just remember that modern diesels need about 30 minutes of dedicated highway cruising every fortnight for their exhaust particle filters to do their hi-tech voodoo. (Actually, car companies don’t use the ‘V’ word: they call it ‘regeneration’ in the owner’s manual.) If you don’t get out on the open road at least that often the filter can clog up – and then you’ll be off to the dealership for an unscheduled, time-wasting, demoralizing pit stop. But at least it’s easy to fix.
If you’re in the market for an i40, make sure you drive a Mazda6, which is pretty much the benchmark for dynamic precision in this class of car. You’d also want to test drive the Kia Optima, which is the best appointed car in the segment – not to mention one of the best looking, and it’s got more rear legroom, too, which is an important consideration if you’ve got kids taller than you are. As for the Camry, the Honda Accord, and Accord Euro, the Falcon, the Commodore, and even the Hyundai i45 – they’re pretty much on the B-team here.