Hyundai i40

The Essentials

  • Price from £17,400
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 65.7mpg
  • What is it? It may not be the best in class, but the i40 is a smart, well-equipped family saloon with an attractive price tag.

Great

  • Appealing looks, inside and out
  • Well equipped for convenience and safety
  • Reasonably priced with efficient diesel engines

Gripes

  • Some may have problems with front headrests
  • Strangely shaped boot
  • Not as good to drive as rivals
  • Drive

    Reasonable all round, but doesn't shine in any area

  • Inside

    Driving position could be better but soft-touch plastics help it feel classy

  • Safety

    Everything you expect of a family car

  • Reliability

    Five-year warranty is good news, as is the respectable score in Euro NCAP crash tests

  • Space

    Plenty of space, but it could be used in a cleverer way

  • Standard and extras

    Even base-level model is well equipped with air-con, Bluetooth, alloys and automatic lights and wipers

  • What's it like to drive?

    Both 1.7-litre diesels give decent performance as long as you keep the revs up. The 114bhp version can haul the car around with purpose, while the 134bhp has noticeably more oomph.
    The standard six-speed manual gearbox is a tad notchy, too, and the optional automatic gearbox could be smoother. Otherwise, though, refinement is pretty good; the engines never get too rowdy, and the i40 shuts out wind and road noise well.
    The car stays stable at motorway speeds and remains composed on bends, so it's a shame the steering doesn't inspire more confidence; it feels artificially heavy in turns and rather vague around the straight-ahead position. Meanwhile, the ride never quite settles, even on smooth roads.

  • What's it like inside?

    The i40's stylish dashboard looks a little confusing at first glance, but most of the controls are clearly labelled and easy to use, and the appealing, soft-touch plastics give a quality feel.
    Unfortunately, the driving position isn't so great: you sit quite high up and the front headrests put your neck at an awkward angle. Your passengers get plenty of head- and legroom, but the one sat in the rear centre seat has to straddle the transmission tunnel in the floor.
    The i40's boot is a decent size, but a squarer shape would make it more useful. The seats fold to boost carrying capacity, but they don't go completely flat. Equipment is generous.

  • How reliable is it?

    The cabin is made with appealing materials and feels built to last, and Hyundai performed well in our last Reliability Survey, coming joint sixth out of 36 manufacturers. Additional peace of mind comes with Hyundai's five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and five years' roadside assistance.
    Every i40 includes emergency brake assist and electronic stability control, and there are seven airbags including one for the driver's knees. The i40 scored 92% for adult protection and 86% for child protection in Euro NCAP crash tests, which is better than the VW Passat (91%/77%).

  • Should I buy one?

    The i40 is an attractive, well-specced saloon car that's reasonably priced, so it's well worth a look. It doesn't undercut big-name rivals to the extent that other Hyundais do, but it'll still cost you less to buy than a Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen Passat. Both diesel engines average over 60mpg, and have low CO2 emissions, especially when fitted with stop-start technology. Strangely, though, this is fitted only on the cheapest trim level.