2012 Hyundai i40 Tourer Launch Review
In fact, it’s the opposite.
More expensive, it sits above the i45. For the extra money you get a better interior, more equipment and improved on-road dynamics compared to the i45. Not only that, there’s a sizable boot.
It’s pricey though: the top of the range i40 Premium diesel costs $9000 more than the i45 Premium. Is it worth it? Our first taste of the i40 range suggests that yes, it is.
The cabin styling is immediately identifiable as belonging to Hyundai - there’s the brand’s button-heavy steering wheel, swoopy centre stack design and blue back-lit LCD panel. The execution though is a cut above any in the range.
Soft-touch plastics are everywhere, panel gaps are tight and the switchgear feels like it could belong in something European. The i40 in fact was styled at Hyundai’s design centre in Russelheim, Germany; it’s no surprise to see European levels of quality and refinement in the i40’s interior.
Only the base Active and flagship Premium grades were available at the launch, with the mid-level Elite in low supply for the short term.
The Active’s cloth upholstery seems hard-wearing, but the Premium stands out not only for its nicely-trimmed leather seats, but also its impressive list of standard equipment.
The Premium’s front seats are both heated and ventilated. The outboard rear-seats are also heated as standard - a first for a car retailing under $50,000. All models get a cloth roof-lining: no fuzzy cardboard nor hard plastic pillar trims here.
The only downside to the Premium’s cabin was a shortage of headroom due to the panoramic sunroof (another standard feature), and a small rattle coming from the cargo area, most likely the retractable blind.
Rear-seat knee and headroom is good (again, the Premium has less headroom at the rear thanks to the sunroof), and a set of air outlets for back-seat passengers is a definite plus for buyers with children.
The Premium and Elite’s boot is also equipped with an adjustable luggage rail system in the boot, similar to those used by Audi and Skoda.
Four tie-down points clip into the rail, and a movable cargo-barrier helps keep shopping bags and other luggage in place.
Hyundai says it is targeting family buyers who are deliberately not seeking an SUV. With 553 litres of luggage space with the rear seats up (1719 litres with them folded), there’s plenty of room to accommodate a young family.
One thing to note is the lack of a cargo blind in the entry-level i40 Active, which also misses out on the luggage rail system.
Hyundai says a dealer-fit cargo blind accessory will be available for the i40 Active, however it was not available at launch for us to test. Unfortunately no i40 variants are fitted with bag hooks - highly underrated yet very useful devices.
On The Road
At the launch we drove the i40 Active with the 1.7 litre diesel and the i40 Premium with the 2.0 litre GDI petrol engine. Of the two, the diesel is our pick.
The 2.0 litre direct-injected petrol four has respectable numbers (130kW and 213Nm), but it feels strained pulling the 1600kg i40 Premium along.
With the peak torque arriving at 4700rpm, the 2.0 GDI it needs lots of revs to get anywhere at a decent speed. Up hills it can feel lethargic, and isn’t helped by the six-speed auto’s reluctance to kick down.
The diesel - with 100kW and 320Nm (330Nm with the manual transmission) - is the better powertrain of the two.
It produces its peak torque from as low as 2000rpm, resulting in more relaxed performance than the petrol and improved driveability. It’s also a better pairing for the automatic thanks to its plentiful torque.
Most surprising however is how refined the diesel is. It’s quiet at idle and free of the usual diesel clatter at cruise.
So, not only is the i40 a match for many European mid-sizers in the interior department, it also has an engine that’s just as refined as some of the better European turbodiesels.
It’s not bad around a corner either.
Hyundai Australia put a lot of effort into localising the i40 Tourer’s suspension tune, resulting in damper-settings, swaybar stiffness and an electric power-steering calibration that is 100 percent unique to our market.
The result is a suspension that resists roll and turns in accurately, without being too crashy or firm over bumps.
On the Premium’s larger 18-inch alloys, the ride has a sharper ‘edge’ in the way it responds to bumps, but is otherwise comfortable and stable on road.
TMR First Impressions Verdict | Overall
Our first taste of the i40 Tourer is promising - it is a fine car.
But gone are Hyundai’s bargain-bin pricetags. And while the i40 Tourer Premium diesel is particularly impressive, at $46,490 it’s expensive for a midsize wagon - let alone a Korean one.
Our opinion, on the basis of this first drive, is that it isn’t shaded by either, and arguably offers better value on a straight nose-to-nose comparison. Best you have a look for yourself.
i40 Tourer Active 2.0 GDI manual: $32,490 (+$2000 for automatic)
i40 Tourer Active 1.7 CRDi manual: $34,490 (+$2000 for automatic)
i40 Tourer Elite 2.0 GDI automatic: $39,490
i40 Tourer Elite 1.7 CRDi automatic: $41,490
i40 Tourer Premium 2.0 GDI automatic: $44,490
i40 Tourer Premium 1.7 CRDi automatic: $46,490
Petrol manual: 6.8 l/100km
Petrol automatic: 7.5 l/100km (7.7 for Elite and Premium)
Diesel manual: 4.7 l/100km
Diesel automatic: 5.6 l/100km (6.0 for Elite and Premium)