After a week driving the Hyundai i40 wagon it was easy to see why it has been winning awards around the world knocking other rep-mobile station wagons off the top of their class lists. Cars that were once the best are now second best to this stunning offering from Korea. And what has the i40 knocked off the perch in the UK for the best wagon, or estate as they call it? The Skoda Octavia Estate, Volvo V50 and amazingly one the most popular cars for years for fleet buyers, the Ford Mondeo Wagon.
Hardly surprising when you look at the styling, quality and equipment available in the Hyundai i40 Elite, from heated leather seats front and rear, dual climate air conditioning, rain sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, electronic park brake, keyless entry and starting, in fact you don’t even need to take the key out of your pocket to unlock the door, just press a little button on the door handle and your in. Again just press a button to fire up the brilliant 1.7 litre, fuel sipping Common Rail Direct Injection (CRDi) diesel engine, yes diesel. Whilst it does emanate a sound reminiscent of a Mack truck the power output of 100kW at just 4000 rpm and a wonderful 320 newton meters of torque at a low 2000rpm will put the audio inconvenience to the far reaches of your mind. Also helping you to forget the diesel clatter is the economy, a claimed 6 litres per 100 kilometers will see much less visits to the wallet emptying fueling stop place (can’t bring myself to call it a service station).
During the test I certainly wasn’t light on the make it move pedal and in the few days I was privileged to transport myself and family around town with a trip to Thames thrown in for good measure, the beautiful i40 wagon was returned with the trip computer showing there was just under 300 kilometers left to go before coughing to a stop and having travelled nearly 600 k’s in that week. For those of you that are as bad at mathematics as I am that’s around 900 kilometers on one 70 litre fuel tank, roughly 7.7 litres per 100k, or around 36 miles per gallon in the old money. That’s pretty damn good as far as I’m concerned and for a rep-mobile I’m pretty sure the company accountant would be fairly happy too.
Comfort wise the i40 is a wonderful place to be seated and no matter how long your journey you will want to just keep on driving. It will handle wet roads with ease and can be a lot of fun on a twisty back road, not bad for a family wagon but if you are to have fun with the sport button on or using the paddle shifters you might not want to do it with the young ones in the back or they might get a bit queasy! At least the 9 air bags and various acronyms like ABS with EBD, CBC, BAS, VSM, ESC and TCS will look after you all. No surprise there then that the i40 has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
Unfortunately the photos don’t do this test vehicles’ colour justice. The beautiful ‘Blue Passion’ provides a stunning blue metallic tinge on a sunny day, something that was seriously lacking on the day we did the photo-shoot. Other colour options include ‘Blue Velvet’, ‘Titanium Silver’ and ‘Red Awesome’.
The i40 is available in six model variants, from the base GDi two litre petrol at $44,990, right up to the top of the range Elite Limited at $59,990. The test car was the i40 Elite at $53,990 but my choice would be the Limited model which adds, on top of the already impressive equipment list, fan cooled sport seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic glass roof and a power tailgate.
If I was fortunate enough to win lotto I always thought a top of the line European car would be on the shopping list but to be honest after my time in the Hyundai i40 Elite I have a feeling I’d be stopping off at my local Hyundai dealership instead.