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Hyundai i40 Tourer Review (2012): 1.7 CRDi 136PS Blue Drive Style

Sun, 01 Jul 2012

We have the Hyundai i40 Estate in for review in the guise of the i40 1.7 CRDi 136PS Blue Drive Style Tourer.

Even though we’ve become used to Hyundai’s offerings becoming more credible every year, the Hyundai i40 Tourer is a different kettle of fish altogether.

It’s one thing producing ever more credible small budget cars – and even budget crossovers/SUVs – that become less budget and more competitive with each iteration, but throwing your hat in the ring to take on the Mondeo with the new i40 is a big jump.

But, certainly in style terms, Hyundai are on to a winner with the i40 Tourer. Looking remarkably like the iFlow concept on which it is based – which was a surprise as production models rarely live up to the styling of the concept – the i40 is as good looking as anything you’d think of as competition.

But are good looks enough to make the Hyundai i40 Tourer a winner?

There’s no question the i40 Tourer looks good in photos. Thankfully, it also look good in the flesh.

We’ve got a fairly basic i40 Style Blue Drive, but even the planet-saving 16″ alloys don’t spoil the purposeful stance of the i40.

The front end of the i40 looks complicated, but works, and the low roofline and small glass area, together with a big, butch crease down the flanks – rising from the back of the front wing to the tail lights – gives the i40 Tourer a distinctly premium look and sporty stance.

Inside is good looking too, and well-equipped. Even in this modest Style trim you get AirCon, Bluetooth, auto lights, electric windows and mirrors, Hill Start and  Stop-Start and it’s a genuinely nice place to be.

The materials on offer may not be class-leading, but they’re up with the average. What is a surprise, especially considering the very coupe look of the i40 Tourer, is the amount of room inside.

Not only is the front a decent place to be, the back is too. There’s enough headroom and legroom for even the tallest of passengers, and the seats are comfy. Five-up for two hours plus and no complaints from anyone.

The controls are well laid out and easily accessible and the gloss black trim adds an air of class. The instruments are clear and appealing, the HVAC controls simple and to hand and the steering wheel buttons logical and useful. Even the air vents manage to be stylish and contrive to mimic the shape of the front fog surrounds.

So all that’s left to judge is the load capacity – the reason to buy the Tourer in the first place (although you could argue the Tourer is more stylish than the Saloon).

Again, we’re pleasantly surprised. Despite that trendy coupe shape the i40 Tourer swallows a lot of stuff. With the back seats up there’s 553 litres of room and with the seats down there’s a very accommodating 1719 litres, at least as good as the sector average.

With a 1.7 litre diesel – and a Blue Drive eco version at that – it would be unreasonable to expect fireworks on the road, and you’d be right.

That said, a 0-62mph of 10.6 seconds isn’t shocking and the i40 rows along quite pleasantly, especially if you’re gentle with it. Then, it feels well-damped and with decent body control and very neutral handling. Really, it’s as light and easy to drive as just about anything, and it goes exactly where you point it.

But the i40 Tourer – especially on 16″ low rolling resistance tyres – just doesn’t like to be tortured. It goes from being quiet and benign to a bit thrashy and unwieldy. A blat round the B-roads is doable and you don’t at any time feel like you’re going to end up in a ditch, but the tightness and control that more modest requests on the i40 return are lost when you try to push on with a real purpose.

But if you want to drive like your hair’s on fire, you wouldn’t be buying an i40 Tourer with a Blue Drive badge and a 1.7 litre diesel engine. What you want is a car that’s easy to drive and returns decent economy, and the i40 Blue Drive offers exactly that.

We averaged 44mpg when the official figures say we should get 62.8 mpg. But with a predilection for seeing just how hard we could push the i40 before it fell over, that’s no surprise. In the real world, driven normally, the right side of 50mpg would be easy to achieve.

There’s a lot to like about the Hyundai i40 Tourer, and very little to moan about. Hyundai should be suitably chuffed with their efforts.

With a list price of £22,295 and five year warranty, the i40 manages to undercut the competition, but its no longer the main reason to buy a Hyundai.

The i40 Tourer really is a Korean car that can sit amongst equals with Europe’s best, and in terms of how it looks we’d go so far as to say it’s the pick of the bunch. Take off the Hyundai badge and the i40 could be from any of Hyundai’s European rivals – premium makers included.

The i40 is a very compelling blend of style, affordability, economy and refinement. We may moan that at the edge of its handling it’s a bit more ragged than something like the Mondeo, but how many Hyundai buyers would ever push it that far?

Drive the i40 Tourer in a sane manner and it’s quiet, comfortable and refined with well-weighted steering and good body control. It manages to negotiate our rotten roads with as little protest as anything else and is truly appealing.

We spent almost a month with the i40 Tourer and went from moaning that it was no fun to blat to appreciating its ability to mop up boring journeys with aplomb, and pack in people and ‘stuff’.

We even found ourselves taking the i40 in preference to much more expensive, and dynamic, metal when the journey was anything other than a blat beckoning.

Which makes the Hyundai i40 Tourer – even a lowly eco i40 Tourer – a properly grown-up offering in our book.


By Cars UK