Sunday, 5 February 2012

COLUMN - February 2012

Here is my column from the February edition of The Local Herald. The lovely people at Hyundai were kind enough to lend me an i40 Tourer, and so my column revolved around this. The i40 Tourer scored 41/50 which is the sign of a great car, so enjoy this one...


This month I have a treat for you in the form of another vehicle review. People who have or are looking for a family car should pay attention, as it would be a shame to miss this one. I had a week to put the new Hyundai i40 Tourer through its paces.

First of all, this car is a credit to the designer. It manages to be sleek and stylish, but with no compromise to space whatsoever. It actually surprises you that beyond the sleek, almost compact-looking exterior lies a vast cabin with plenty of room for all occupants. The boot space is 533 litres, or 1,719 with the rear seats folded down, with extra storage space underneath the boot floor for items like laptops. Also on the exterior are the daytime-running lights which further add to the sense of style.

I was testing the premium model, which meant 18-inch alloy wheels on the exterior and lots of leather on the interior. The build quality is sublime. Everything feels solidly built, and the materials feel of a high quality. The electrically-adjusted heated front seats offer best-in-class space, and are comfortable with excellent lumbar support.

The list of standard equipment is endless. With the mid-range Style model and top of the range Premium model, the amount of gadgets would keep James Bond busy for a while. Sat-Nav is standard as is a reversing camera and parking sensors front and rear. The electronic parking brake is easily used and isn’t as hard to get used to as one might imagine. There is keyless entry and an engine start/stop button on the premium model, which is user friendly and a very smart feature to have.

The engine in the model I tested was the 1.7-litre CRDi, which develops 136PS and 325 Nm of torque. Considering the car weighs over 1.5 tonnes, the engine pulls rather well. Whilst it will never tear your face off, the i40 never feels slow. I tested a 6-speed automatic, and the gearbox worked well. By making the most of the engines torque rather than being too eager to kick down, the drive was smooth, and there are paddles behind the wheel to change gear should you wish to take over.

The i40 was tested in the UK so that cars coming to this country would be better equipped to deal with our bumpy, pothole-lined roads. Even with the low profile tyres the ride was comfortable and is an excellent car for a long journey.

Being a smaller diesel engine, fuel economy is good for a car of this size. Whilst the auto will do 47mpg, the Blue Drive manual (which still has 136PS) will do 62mpg. Furthermore, with CO2 emissions being 119g/km, road tax is only £30 for 12 months (free for the first year).

The i40 benefits from Hyundai’s 5-year, unlimited mileage warranty for extra piece of mind, though don’t think this is because it will be at the dealers every ten minutes. The way the cars are built now feels much more solid than has been the case in previous years, and reliability is a strong point.

The most popular engine is expected to be the 1.7CRDi Blue Drive, which is available with either 115PS or 136PS. The cheap road tax and good fuel economy lead to lower running costs.

The i40 Tourer is a great all-round car. It will undercut its rivals on price, and offers a comprehensive list of standard equipment. A saloon version is planned for this year, and the i40 could be a major player in the family saloon market. For a full review see my blog. Score 41/50.
Dan

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