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  • Looks, build quality, interior spaciousness, diesel engine, fuel economy, practicality
  • Needs sat-nav and better multimedia system interface

8 / 10

Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1

If you’d shown us a Hyundai i40 six months ago without any badges we would’ve said it’s likely to be a next-generation wagon from one of the three German luxury marques. Its European-inspired styling is the most successful example yet of the South Korean brand’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language.

As with all Hyundai cars that start with the little Apple-inspired “i” (except for the Hyundai i45), the Hyundai i40 tourer was designed for Europe. That shouldn’t mean much to us in Australia but let’s be fair, the Europeans have pretty high standards when it comes to cars, meaning the i40 had a lot to answer to. Despite Hyundai being a South Korean company, the i40 was actually styled at its design centre in Russelsheim in Germany, which probably explains why it looks so darn good.

Hyundai has loaned us an i40 Premium diesel for six months, so that we can properly and comprehensively test its new flagship model. Priced from $46,490 the Premium diesel automatic is the second most expensive model in the Hyundai line-up (behind the Santa Fe Highlander diesel) and we were initially a little hesitant to welcome the i40 wagon as our main family car, given its relatively large size (4770mm long). But one month after picking up our silver wagon, it has already become a near-inseparable part of our family.

Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1

Our test car is powered by a 1.7-litre turbo diesel with 100kW of power and 320Nm of torque. It has a kerb weight of 1610kg but manages to officially sip just 6.0 litres of diesel per 100km. So far this month our overall fuel economy has been around the 7.5L mark, quite reasonable considering it has spent most of its time in suburbia.

From the outside the Premium i40 is a standout on the road. The curvy LED daytime running lamps (DRLs) portray a new Hyundai signature look that can be mistaken for an Audi from afar. The sweeping silouhette shape flows from the bonnet all the way through to the sharp and edgy rear end with an overstated line going through the doors.

You might think the low roofline and sporty look would cause visibility problems, but it’s actually a rather open and spacious cabin.

Our first job was to fit our four-month-old son’s baby seat to the i40. This may seem like a straightforward task, but the i40’s baby seat anchor points are actually located on the boot floor behind the rear seats, making the use of an extension safety cable necessary.

Despite the enormous room taken up by the backward-facing infant seat (which we have difficulty fitting in most of our test cars), the i40’s generous cabin space presented no problems. It’s also handy to have the window-mounted sunshades placed separately to the window itself, so you can open and close the rear windows without affecting the sun block. Clever stuff.

Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1

The Hyundai i40 Premium gains leather for all seats, with heated and ventilated front seats, a 4.2-inch TFT LCD display and a unique centre door trim. You’ll also be on the receiving end of a gigantic panoramic glass sunroof that encompasses the entire roof. This is perfect if you have kids but it also changes the whole ambience of the cabin, paving the way for a very spacious and open atmosphere.

The front seats are powered and the option for air ventilation (air blowing through the seats) makes it ideal for the scorching Queensland summer. (Incidentally, don’t go leaving the i40 in the Queensland sun with the panoramic roof wide open as it makes for a nice oven.)

There is an overwhelming amount of blue backlighting for the controls, but the missus, who’s spent the most time behind the wheel so far, says it’s one of the things she loves about the car.

One thing it does lack, though, is satellite navigation and a more advanced entertainment system. Given the low cost of electronics (and particularly the world-dominating electronic industry of South Korea which includes the likes of LG and Samsung), it’s surprising that Hyundai is yet to offer a more compelling multimedia system in its range-topping models. We hear that’s coming before year’s end and if it’s anything like the one found in the Hyundai Veloster, we think it’ll be a hit.

Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1

Behind the wheel the Hyundai i40’s diesel engine is well suited to the six-speed automatic transmission (it’s also available as a manual but not in Premium trim), with effortless gearchanges and no hesitation when driven around town.

It’s not the most powerful car in the Hyundai stable and suffers from the common turbo diesel lag, but it does the job of getting up to speed and performs the occasional overtaking manoeuvre with ease.

On the highway it sits quietly in sixth gear and the diesel clatter is barely noticeable inside.

Steering feel and ride quality is substantially better than the i45 with more feedback and a more assured ride. Overall, it presents painless steering thanks to the motor-driven power steering system.

We haven’t yet had a chance to treat it like a sports car on winding roads but as a city runabout and for daily trips to the shops (which, let’s be honest, is what the majority of buyers will use it for) – it’s perfect.

Safety wise it comes packed with all the common active safety systems, which in combination with driver and front passenger SRS and side airbags plus a knee airbag, full-length curtain airbags and a rear seat outboard side airbag, has earned the i40 the maximum five-star safety rating from ANCAP.

The missus says:

The Hyundai i40 is very smooth and easily manoeuvrable for a large car. It looks fantastic and I love the daytime running lights in the front and the panoramic sunroof. The audio interface is easy to use and looks great in blue.

Hyundai i40 long term report 1
Hyundai i40 long term report 1

The car is roomy and comfortable both in the front and back. The boot can fit most items easily, but given the car’s length, it should. The length of the car can make parking an issue but thanks to all the sensors (eight in total) and the built-in rear-view camera, it’s made easier.

The Hyundai i40 is a great, safe and convenient family vehicle. If I could add anything to the car, I would have a button to automatically open and close the boot and a satellite navigation system.

Check back next month as we bring you more on our Hyundai i40 long-term test car. Also make sure to checkout the gallery for more detailed photos.

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Hyundai i40 long term report 1
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  • O123

    great looking car, I think it needs to have a centre consoled LCD screen though .

  • Lucii Pooky

    Sorry Hyundai, but its way too much. For the same price I can get a Titanium Mondeo which has a bigger engine, better gearbox, more equipment, is more practical and is by far the best to drive wagon in the segment. Its a good car, but it needs to be at least 3-5K cheaper to make any sense.

  • waza


  • Gus

    Would only consider one if it had a beefier engine.. Why not use the 2.2 Turbo Diesel powerhouse from the SantaFe??

    • Henry Toussaint

      Or the 2.4 GDI from the i45?

    • Matthew Werner

      The 2 litre turbo the US cars get

  • Tlaxcala

    “If you’d shown us a Hyundai i40 six months ago without any badges we would’ve said it’s likely to be a next-generation wagon from one of the three German luxury marques.”

    Sorry, but no. While nice, anyone who thought six months ago this could have been a BMW or Mercedes is an idiot. 

    • Joe

      Being fwd it’s probably on par with an audi thoough…

    • Joe

      Yeah, the Hyundai looks better than anything the Germans design (if you can call it that!), so don’t embarras the Koreans.

    • bd

      Have you seen the Mercedes F800 Design concept?

      The F800 is to be the basic template for Mercedes design going forward and it has a very i45/Sonata look to it (esp. up front with the headlights).

    • Justin

       Completely agree. This has been Hyundai’s design formula for a couple of years now. Elantra, i45, ix35. Not to mention that the dog leg rear window reeks of Subaru Liberty wagon – hardly “one of the three German luxury marques”. But it wouldn’t be a Hyundai / Kia review on caradvice without a bit of hyperbole thrown in these days…

  • Gus

    It’s more Merc than Audi/BMW.. similar to the R series wagon

  • Jlcgicp

    Sorry Hyundai, I would much rather buy an Aurion with almost 300HP

    • Duckula

      Yes cos you do see sooooooo many Aurion wagons for sale… I think they sell them next to the pigs that fly…. 

    • Henry Toussaint

       Ohh, we talk in kw’s here…

  • David

    This isn’t the first time Alborz has criticised a car for not having satnav. I’m sure I am not the only one who disagrees and is happy not to have an expensive accessory that is expensive to update and impractical to repair. Much better using the cash on a standalone satnav you can throw away in a few years and replace. Has anyone actually priced map updates for factory fitted satnavs? Ridiculous.

    • Lumpycamel

      Agree with you David, hate Sat Nav, never use it dont want it and dont need it… nor the usual $3000 extra for something that probably costs a dollar to make…

    • Guest

      You’ve never discoverd the world of torrents have you?

      Stand alone nav whilst cheap becomes a projectile in the car in the event of a crash. Do you want to risk being clobbered in the head with one?

    • Dave S

      For a car is a premium model, it should be included. From the outside it could be a base model, apart from the LED’s. All the premium models these days seem to have ‘big’ screens in the dash, often touch screens.

  • Matthew Werner

    Finally saw one parked outside someone’s house yesterday, looks fantastic. I haven’t driven one, but sounds like it could do with a bit more grunt… but then I’m a single male who does like to throw a car around the bends, not someone with a family

  • Tom

    I think this is the first attractive looking Hyundai ever made. Congratulations!

  • come on

    What is it with satnav ?? What happened with all the gripes with cupholders !

  • KIA

    Is this Korean car good for picking up a date? Will the girl be impressed?

  • Anthony Mindel

    I still do not understand why Honda refuses to bring in the Accord Euro wagon,as they look like they would be very close competitors…another missed opportunity from Honda………

  • WayneTSV

    Very impressive vehicle.
    Imagine just how great Hyundai (and KIA) will be 5 years from now?

  • Robj

    Why no petrol engine? and 6 spd manual while yr at it…

    • Dave S

      maybe they are targeting camry owners. ones who need a wagon or think they can money getting a diesel over a petrol.

    • Henry Toussaint

       They do sell the 2.0L petrol at $42,990

  • Gan Tan

    i40 was high up on my car list, but the midhigh models are WAYYYY too expensive. Bought a Ti+2 Dualis, and saved $8000

    • Dave S

      how? they are nothing alike. small suv (based on tiida) vs medium / large wagon.

      • Gan Tan

         You might want to research a Dualis+2. Its quite a large car. You must be thinking of the regualr Dualis

  • Vic

    No,Dualis whether +2 or regular is not a large car. It is simply an S.U.V.

  • Dave

    Beautiful design but the 1.7L diesel seems a bit light on. Anyone know why Hyundai  hasn’t used the 2L or 2.2L to give more grunt?

    • Summford

      the I40 was built mainly for the euro market as they are tax on emission etc..
      if Hyundai put the 2.0 or 2.2 it would have defeated the purpose of the car.

  • Steve

    I sold my Mazda 6 hatch after 4 years and bought the I40 Premium ($44ish) on the road you just need to look around and bargain.  I much prefer the effortless pulling power of the diesel over the 2.5lt petrol Mazda which was better up high but not down low, this is much more suited to relaxed driving and since it’s quite and accelerates easily you have to keep an eye on the speedo.  The Mazda 6 was a great car but this is so much better specced and for satnav I just use my android phone, cheap, much better than most factory satnavs and easily upgradable.  All up I’m very happy with my purchase.

    • Antony Neeson

      I get mine this week. White i40 Premium Tourer. Got the diesel too. Just nothing out there that a: looks as good for the $ and b: is as good value.
      Also got 3 years unlimited car wash from dealer.

  • Andrewroywaters

    in uk i40 premium is at 28k it ok get lots of people like the look of it but there is a lot of problems with getting parts that are damaged on delivery mine is 1 year old now and still waiting on bit to be sorted at basildon hyundai uk and that is with taking the car to the main head office in west london im start to enjoy the car now as i have had a few mouth with out it being in storage waiting for parts and get about 40-50 mile a gallon satnav keep failing but the tmc is very quick to work in the morning about 2min and it tell you if there is traffic on route at the monment i give the car 7/10 but i did want a car wit ele windows and sunroof as it is quite hard to get cars with sunroofs in the uk and auto and aircon

  • Rocky

    Best looking Hyundai for me, its up there in terms of design againts the competition, unfortunately its up there in pricing too. The premium variant is a looker with the standard 18 inch wheels. The base model looks proportionally wrong with the 16’s – like a skateboard (long body with tiny wheels), the elite slightly better.
    Competition has better engines for this size class though, and so better overall perfomance.