HYUNDAI’S 2016 i40 TOURER CAN RIVAL THE PREMIUM EUROPEAN BRANDS FOR SEXY STYLING AND ON-ROAD PRESENCE. Originally penned by former BMW designer Thomas Burkle, it made its Australian debut late in 2011, and looked then, and remains, one of the smartest and best featured wagons on the Australian market.
Now, with a newly revised suspension that has been tuned for Australian conditions, it is also among the better-handling wagons in the medium segment.
And, for 2015/2016 it has had a price haircut; the 2.0 litre petrol-engined automatic model we’re testing here is particularly sharply priced at $32,490 and very well-equipped.
Vehicle style: Mid-size wagon
Engine/transmission: 121kW/203Nm 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol | six-speed automatic.
Fuel consumption claimed: 7.5 l/100km | tested: 8.2 l/100km.
The i40 Tourer is a good-looker in a range from Hyundai that is both mature and convincing.
On the strength of well-engineered, smart and appealing-to-drive products, the ‘big Korean’ is now a powerful force in the Australian market and globally.
While the Series II i40 Tourer Active is the base model in the range, it doesn’t shortchange on feel nor features, and the impression, in fact, is of a more expensive car.
It loses a little in dynamism compared to the Ford Mondeo Ambiente and the 2.5 litre Mazda 6 wagons, but it otherwise competes on even terms.
- Standard features: Air-conditioning with dust and pollen filter, trip computer, cruise control, daytime LED running lights, dusk-sensing headlights, electric parking brake, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors (with indicators), parking-distance control, roof rails, reversing camera and a full-size alloy spare
- Infotainment: 4.3-inch multi-function-control screen, six-speaker AM/FM radio and MP3-compatible CD player, AUX/USB input sockets, iPod and Bluetooth mobile-phone connectivity
- Cargo volume: 506 litres (1672 litres rear seat folded)
Quality: The interior is largely unchanged from its predecessor i40 but the new 4.3-inch screen – a tad small really – has had a technical upgrade. It is now more intuitive to use and comes with features such as iPod and Bluetooth connectivity.
The overall impression of the interior however is that it’s a little sombre.
Dark grey is the order of the day, although there is some piano black and chrome to add some variation, and a stylish brushed-alloy-look plastic belt that runs from the front doors across the dash.
While the only leather is on the steering wheel, the grey fabric upholstery is better than most.
Comfort: The i40Tourer is certainly comfortable – even in entry-level Active guise. There is heaps of room for both front and rear-seat passengers and even with the front seats right back, rear legroom is more than ample.
The front seats offer firm hip-and-thigh bolstering and the rear bench seat – especially in the outer two positions – are fine. Importantly, the rear-seat passengers have air-vents to add to their comfort.
Equipment: For an entry-level variant, the i40 Active has an impressive standard feature list (see the full list above) that extends to a full-sized alloy spare, dusk-sensing headlights, parking-distance control and reversing camera, along with some unexpected higher-end features such as heated exterior mirrors and dust pollen filter.
Storage: With the rear seats occupied, the i40 Tourer provides 505 litres of luggage space.
Flop the 60:40-split-fold rear seat-backs down and this rises to a delivery-van-like 1672 litres. There is also a cargo blind and a cargo safety net to hold things in place and roof rails to put things up top.
Other storage cubby holes include a roof-mounted sunglasses holder, two front and two rear cup holders, a good-sized illuminated glove box, map pockets behind the two front-seat backs, a storage compartment in the rear centre armrest, a centre-console storage compartment and a small lidded bin at the base of the centre stack that also houses the USB, AUX and 12Volt power outlet.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Tourer get strong marks here and it starts with driver comfort and behind-the-wheel set-up.
While there is no electric-seat adjustment, I found plenty of manual adjustment and with the height and reach-adjustable steering wheel it is easy to get ‘set’ in the right driving position. There is also a perfectly positioned footrest for the driver’s left foot.
The 2.0-litre 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder engine has continuously variable valve-timing and while it’s no fire-cracker, it is adequate on the highway when needing to overtake.
That said, I couldn’t help thinking that if Hyundai slipped the new Sonata’s 180kW/350Nm turbo under the i40’s slinky bonnet, they’d have a sensational sports wagon on their hands.
Even in Active guise, the Tourer has steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles which can be used to keep things on the boil, especially when cornering or needing a burst of speed.
The six-speed automatic is matched well with the engine and the changes are nice and slick.
Refinement: There is limited intrusion of wind and road-noise into the cabin. That said, if you really tramp on the accelerator and crank the revs up towards the redline, the in-line 2.0-litre ‘four’ can become a tad raucous.
An issue common with four-cylinder engines that have to work a little harder in a bigger car.
Ride and handling: The i40 comes with lots of work by Hyundai’s Australian suspension-engineering consultants to configure it for Australian roads and driving conditions.
This has resulted in changed spring, damper and stabiliser-bar suspension combinations, which, in real-world driving, work very well.
The Tourer rides on a MacPherson-strut front-suspension with amplitude-selective dampers and the rear is a multi-link arrangement.
The steering is assisted by a new electric motor and this, combined with a lighter front stabiliser bar, there is more feedback about what’s going on under the front wheels.
Braking: Stopping power comes from 300mm ventilated discs at the front and 284mm solid discs at the rear. This combination has no trouble dealing with the weight of the i40, and we experienced no fade in our week of use.
SAFETY | RATING:
ANCAP: The i40 Tourer has been awarded a 5-Star ANCAP rating.
Safety features: The i40 comes with nine airbags, as well as ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, traction and stability control, hill-start assist, three child-restrain anchor points in the rear, ISOFIX connection for the outside rear seats, pretensioners and height-adjustment for the front seat belts, height-adjustable active front head restraints and height-adjustable rear head restraints.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Like all Hyundai models, the i30 comes with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Five years is better than many of its rivals but does not match its Kia cousin’s seven years.
Service costs: There is lifetime capped-price servicing and a complimentary 1500km first service. Service intervals are annual or 15,000km.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Mazda6 2.5-litre petrol Sport wagon ($33,840) – The Mazda remains the pick of the bunch in the medium-wagon class and its 2.5-litre is good for 138kW and 250Nm – quite a bit up on the i40”s 121kW/203Nm.
Despite its smaller-capacity engine, the i40’s 7.5 l/100km fuel figure is nearly 1.0 l/100km thirstier than the Mazda6 with its 6.6 l/100km figure
With the rear seats occupied, the Mazda has a litre more storage space than the Hyundai but drop the second-row seat backs and the i40 rises to 1672litres compared with the Mazda’s 1640. (See Mazda6 reviews)
Skoda Octavia 1.4 litre 110TSI Ambition Plus turbo-petrol wagon ($27,090) – With 103kW and 250Nm, the capable Czech has less power but more torque than the i40 Tourer.
In terms of its cargo space, the Skoda’s 568 litre figure with the rear-seats occupied is roomier than the i40 but drop them down and the Octavia’s 1558 litres can’t match the Hyundai’s 1672litres. At 5.7 l/100km, the Octavia is quite a bit more fuel efficient than the i40. (see Octavia reviews)
Ford Mondeo 2.0 Ambiente EB wagon ($34,640) – With its 137kW/345Nm two-litre turbo-petrol engine, the new Mondeo is way more spirited than the Hyundai. The downside is that at 8.2 l/100km, the Ford is thirstier.
The i40 Tourer does however win in the luggage-space department and its 505 litres and 1672 litres figures crunch the Ford’s 488 litres/1585 litres. (See Modeo reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturers’ List Price and do not include dealer-delivery and on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
In summary, the i40 Tourer is a classy package. It comes generously equipped, beautifully put together and has a stylish on-road presence.
Because of its Australian suspension tuning, the electrically-assisted steering and ride and handling are excellent and the wagon’s noise, vibration and harshness levels are reasonably low.
It could do with a little more urge under the bonnet, but is quite an enjoyable and settled highway drive.
In these days of increasing SUV dominance on Australian roads, the i40 Tourer offers a real alternative for family motoring and the five-year warranty adds icing to the cake.
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