2013 HYUNDAI i40 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Medium sedan
Price: $39,590 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy claimed: 6.0 l/100km| tested: 8.1 l/100km
With the i45’s over-blinged styling now looking a little tired, it’s perhaps a good thing that the fresher and sharper-looking i40 takes its place.
The i40 Sedan however may find a problem close to home - its styling is a mirror of the latest, and large-ish, Elantra. While unique in i40 Tourer guise, the sedans don’t have much separating them visually.
But it’s more than a bigger Elantra. We put the i40 Sedan through the TMR-ringer and squeezed out a result.
Quality: First, the good. The i40’s interior is lovely to look at. The swoopy wing-inspired centre stack is modern, and the integrated sat-nav looks the part.
Despite the hard plastics in use, most tactile surfaces are good to the touch with nice textures and finishes.
Second, the not-so-good. The leather is coarse; this line in the spec-sheet tells all: “Finishes specified as leather and/or leatherette may contain elements of genuine leather, polyurethane leather (leather substitute) or man-made materials, or a combination thereof.”
In addition, the piano-black trim shows up dust instantly, and the lower dash fascia doesn’t respond well to scuffing.
More concerning was the creaking which came from the centre console during cornering. If you rest your leg against it while driving, the constant plastic ‘chattering’ hints at cost-cutting and cheapens the tone of the interior
Comfort: Here’s where the i40 shines. While the leather may be less-than-premium, the seats are very comfortable and the electrically-adjustable lumbar support is appreciated.
There’s plenty of space up front, but the big surprise is the rear. For a mid-size car, the legroom is commendable. Sure, you wouldn’t want five-up for a long time, but it’s do-able.
Headroom is ok for shorter passengers, but taller passengers may end up with a flatspot in their hair.
Ergonomics are fine with all controls in easy reach. We’d like more vertical adjustment to the steering wheel however; it’s reminiscent of the Falcon with the wheel feeling like it sits in your lap.
Equipment: On test was the i40 Elite and its standard inclusions are impressive: 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lamps, auto-on headlamps, an automatic electronic parking brake, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise and climate control, Bluetooth (phone and audio), reversing camera (with steering guides), parking sensors front and rear, plus auto up/down on all windows.
The clear standard satnav is extremely quick to accept address inputs but struggles with fast directional changes while in operation (lefts and rights in succession). Drive a bit slower and it’s not so much of a problem.
Storage: Open the boot and you’re greeted with 505 litres of space – that’s more than the full-size Holden Commodore.
On the centre console there’s a bread-bin-style lid that reveals two cupholders, with a decent capacity compartment under the armrest.
A small flip-up lid at the base of the centre-stack reveals a small hidey hole while the front doors have small but wide door pockets capable of holding water bottles.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Overall, the i40 Sedan is pleasant, but not mould-breaking.
Its 1.7-litre turbo-diesel is willing enough, but in an age where you can buy small hatchbacks with more powerful engines, its 100kW and 320Nm outputs is nothing to write home about.
There is the tiniest bit of lag, then, around 2000rpm, it hits its stride and it’s off. There is certainly enough urge underfoot for overtaking safely, or bolting into a hole merging into the freeway, and it’s untroubled by hills.
It’s not overly happy when asked to rev right out, but the smooth six-speed auto keeps the engine in its sweet spot when left to its own devices.
And while there are shift paddles, just leave it to the auto to look after the ratios.
The steering is a little inconsistent in its weighting – it slackens off in weight close to the lock stops – and feels a little remote, but there’s enough resistance to know where the wheels are pointed.
Refinement: Commendably, the engine is quiet and smooth at low revs (where it’s happiest) but at its highest revs the cabin becomes boomy and annoying. Best to use that low down torque and a ‘middling’ throttle.
Suspension: While a bit of work has gone into making the i40 tailored to Aussie conditions, it still gets thumpy at lower speeds on hard ridges. The suspension is on the firmer side of comfortable, but is definitely better at speed.
Braking: Braking feel is good in all situations. The i40 Elite is equipped with larger discs than the Active (a solid reason for paying more) with 320 mm ventilated front discs and 300mm solid rears.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars
Safety features: For a mid-sized car, nine airbags (front, front side, rear side, full-length curtain and driver's knee) is quite impressive, and front seats get height-adjustable seatbelts with pretensioners and anti-whiplash headrests.
Then there’s the i40's ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Five years, unlimited kilometres.
Service costs: Servicing costs vary, so consult your Hyundai dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Honda Accord Euro Luxury ($37,840) – In the mid-size segment the Accord Euro is one of the best. It’s not as edgy inside as the i40 but the interior quality is easily better.
The i40 just pips the Honda on total space, but even in petrol form, it’s worth paying the extra for fuel. (see Accord Euro reviews)
Skoda Octavia 103 TDI Liftback ($33,990) - The Skoda Octavia is ageing (gracefully?), but its handling, ride and more powerful diesel make this a more convincing drive.
Its boot is just huge but the back seat is more cramped than the i40’s. It is cheaper and better built. (see Octavia reviews)
Peugeot 508 Active - HDi ($37,490) – A left-field choice, the 508 feels decidedly upmarket in comparison, though it’s not as well stocked. It’s also a fraction slower, though it’s a better steer and cheaper. (see 508 reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
As a wagon, the i40 is pretty compelling - and certainly stylish.
However, as a sedan, it works less well. It’s not as handsome, there are some soft spots in its handling and performance, and it lacks the versatility of the seemly Tourer.
Its $40k (plus) price puts it head-to-head with local large sedans - the similarly priced EcoBoost Falcon has it beaten all-ends-up - and it’s mixing with some accomplished and well-established competitors in the mid-size category.
So, that’s our take. Hyundai’s i40 Elite CRDi Sedan comes with an excellent warranty and is certainly cheap to run, but as a mid-sizer, there is better buying out there.