THERE is more than a touch of theatre when you settle into the driver’s seat of Hyundai’s stylish entry to the family estate car market.
Touch-of-button entry to the car is swiftly followed by an electrically-controlled driver’s seat that whirrs you forward into your pre-set position.
LED projector lamps illuminate the interior and a dashboard display welcomes you aboard while you prepare for the push-button engine start.
That sort of show alone is enough to show that this is a Hyundai like no other we have seen. With prices starting at more than £18,000, the i40 is a sign of the confident progress Hyundai has made in recent years.
But the bells and whistles that adorn this spacious, high-quality newcomer, are more than matched by good old-fashioned practicality.
First and foremost, the i40 Tourer is a big car, with a spacious, high-quality interior. Cargo capacity more than matches its competitors and loading and unloading is also made easy by the lowest floor level in its segment.
Sleek and elegant with doors that clunk shut with a reassuring thud, the i40 rides smoothly and thanks to nicely-weighted steering, it handles with real precision.
But it really comes to life as a motorway cruiser; solid, relaxing and unruffled, it soaks up miles with ease.
The i40 Tourer, just voted best estate car in Business Car Manager’s annual awards, comes in three trim levels — Active, Style and Premium — with the choice of three engines, four power outputs and manual or automatic transmission. In a segment where diesel models represent 77 per cent of total sales, Hyundai is anticipating that the ‘high-power’ version of the 1.7-litre diesel unit developing 136 horsepower will be the most popular engine among both private and fleet buyers.
It also comes with the lowest benefit in kind cost in its class, a further attraction to company car drivers.
Standard features on the test model, which came in top-of-the-range Premium specification, are simply too long to list, but range from touchscreen satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors with a colour rear-view camera, to cruise control, dual zone climate control and a huge panoramic sunroof.
All models come with seven airbags as standard.
There is also the choice of three option packages, which include lane departure warning and smart parking assist, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats and xenon follow-the-road headlights.
Designed and engineered at the company’s base in Germany, and produced in Korea, with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, this is a big car that could well upstage the opposition.
BUMPER TO BUMPER
Insurance group: 17
Fuel consumption (Combined): 47.1mpg
Top speed: 118mph
Luggage capacity: 19.5 cu ft
Fuel tank capacity: 15.4 gallons/70 litres
CO2 emissions: 159g/km
Warranty: 5 years/unlimited mileage