Test-drive Hyundai i40 CRDi Kombi 2013
There’s also more than enough room for adults to travel in the rear in comfort. The rear backrests recline through several positions, while maximum legroom is 10mm greater than that of an Insignia, with 70mm more as a minimum.
The car’s centre stack of heater and entertainment controls is surrounded by glossy black trim, as is the centre console, which lends some richness to the cabin ambience. The positioning and functionality of the main rotary menu controller, the design of its slanted air vents and the shape of its dished steering wheel will make any Honda Accord owner feel at home. Although the cabin’s basic design might lack a bit of originality, there’s nothing wrong with its execution.
As a load-carrier, the i40 measures up favourably, too. As standard, it comes with a useful cargo net that fits together with the tonneau cover and would prevent high-up items from sliding forwards towards the heads of rear passengers under hard braking. The boot has a low load lip and holds 553 litres with all five seats in place — more than a Mondeo. It expands to 1719 litres with the seats folded almost flat. Only the Passat, Superb, Mazda 6 and Mondeo swallow more.
The i40’s mechanical make-up conforms to the class norms. Hyundai offers four different four-cylinder engines that are mounted transversely under the bonnet and drive the front wheels.
Power outputs range from 114bhp for an entry-level 1.7-litre diesel, through the 133bhp of the 1.6-litre petrol engine and the 134bhp of the regular diesel 1.7, right up to 174bhp from the range-topping 2.0-litre petrol unit that joined the range when the saloon arrived. That low-power diesel also comes with economy-enhancing technologies that Hyundai gathers together under the ‘Blue Drive’ banner. An automatic engine starter-generator, intelligent alternator, low-resistance tyres, a gearchange indicator and an automatic radiator blank all combine to lower its emissions to just 113g/km and boost fuel economy to 65.7mpg on the combined cycle. That makes this Hyundai one of the most frugal family cars you can buy at the moment. From a car manufacturer that, until quite recently, had very little experience in producing diesel engines at all, that’s quite some achievement.
Few will hope for more than average outright performance from a big diesel semi-estate like the i40. Good mechanical refinement, good fuel efficiency, reasonable accelerator response, decent grip and a strong and progressive set of brakes will surely satisfy most expectations — and in most of those areas the i40 does that. Perhaps most impressive is how quiet its 1.7-litre common-rail diesel engine is during typical use. When we fully road tested the i40 at MIRA, our test car seemed far more hushed than other diesels in the class, and that’s confirmed by the noise meter readings; the 2.0 TDI Skoda Superb we tested in 2008 was 8dB noisier at idle.
That base i40 is also much more responsive than some economy-biased rivals. Fitted with a shorter final drive ratio than its more powerful diesel sibling, and with an engine that produces peak torque from just 1250rpm, our i40 responded quickly to the accelerator pedal, and with enough outright urge to suffice in most everyday situations. Our tests suggest that it’s slightly quicker than Hyundai’s official claims; 12.9sec to 62mph seems a little conservative, given that we recorded an average 12.2sec dash to 60mph.
For those who desire greater performance, the 134bhp version of 1.7-litre diesel is claimed to dispatch the benchmark spring around two seconds quicker. However, opting for higher-powered variant results in a CO2 penalty of 21g/km, which is considerable if the i40 is being considered as a company car purchase.Either diesel choice is preferable to the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol model. Its lowly 121lb ft of torque makes motorway work tiring despite the six-speed manual gearbox.
The i40’s performance in our brake tests was decidedly poorer than expected. Running on low-resistance Hankook Kinergy Eco tyres — and relatively skinny 205-section ones at that — it needed 53.5m to stop from 70mph on a dry track, whereas other cars of its size have hauled themselves up a full eight metres sooner.
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