by Chris Adamson
From almost every angle the Tourer - the estate model in the i40 range that arrived before the saloon which has only just gone on sale here - this car has sharp and stylish panel-work with a strong sense of purpose and identity.
This is emphasised by the rising waistline that incorporates the door handles and leads from the broad angular nose along the slippery bodywork to the wide sweeping rump.
The grinning face is modern and characterful and incorporates piercing headlights wrapped in snaking LED daytime running lights that give it a distinctive appearance when seen in a rear view mirror.
As ever with function and form one has to give at some point and in this case it is the 553 litre boot area which is limited by the shallow rake of the coupe-like rear screen which might look good but restricts standing room for items including dogs, should you wish to transport one.
This is in part compensated for by the low entry height sill, flat floor and neat tap and slide tonneau cover. More space can be freed - up to a total of 1719 litres which is in class leading Ford Mondeo territory - by folding down the backs of the rear seats, sadly these don’t go quite flat which would have been a better touch.
Attention to detail has gone into this latest Hyundai cabin with better quality looking and feeling materials and a cleaner, simpler installation of all the fixtures and fittings.
The sweeping dashboard is neat and tidy with the European styling erring on the side of Germanic influences for precision and order – mind you this is no surprise as it was designed at Russelsheim in Germany.
All occupants are well accommodated in comfortable roomy seating, especially those in the rear where there is a particularly generous allocation of leg room which puts its rivals to shame.
Driver’s aren’t forgotten as the driving position is just about right offering lots of support, a steering wheel that falls nicely to hand and a clear vision forward through the large windscreen.
Under the creased bonnet ahead lives a common rail 1.7 litre diesel that delivers a modest but quietly and efficiently performing 114bhp available through a six speed manual transmission that needs a positive hand for quick changing.
Performance at all levels feels competent, if not spectacular. In this instance Hyundai has kept the power delivery down for the most efficient use of fuel – speed, therefore, isn’t the prime objective.
If you want that, Hyundai has a 134bhp alternative which, to be honest, isn’t that much quicker in a straight line for the extra money and fuel you will burn.
This 114bhp version is badged as BlueDrive so means that it is fitted with Intelligent Stop and Go, which proves to be one of the smoothest and efficient I have yet tried and surprisingly quiet, low rolling resistance tyres.
As a result fuel consumption can see well over 60mpg – its makers claiming a combined figure of 65.7mpg while emissions are kept in check at 113 g/km which is a class leading score and means it falls into Band C for Vehicle Excise Duty.
The assisted steering is light; some might actually think it is too light, but you only really notice this at low speeds where the assistance is excessive – some might actually prefer this.
Suspension is well damped which, when unladen, does induce a little bit of bounce but it is not uncomfortable and the ABS braking is supported by Brake Assist, Hill-start Assist, Vehicle Stability management and Electronic Stability Programme.
The Tourer is available in three trim levels Active, Style and Premium. I was issued with the entry level Active which despite this still comes with items such as 16inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, automatic headlights, Bluetooth connection with voice recognition, electrically headed and operated door mirrors, electric windows all round, automatic electronic parking brake and an RDS radio and CD player with MP3 compatibility and leather clad steering wheel with remote audio controls.
FACTFILE: Hyundai i40 Tourer Active 1.7 CRD1 BlueDrive
For personal preference I would have liked to have seen a few extras thrown in, such as parking sensors - which are a boon these days on larger cars such as estates - and in this case from Hyundai can be had with a rear parking camera for added safety on mid-range Style models and above. Satellite navigation, leather upholstery, LCD display screen, dual climate control a panoramic sunroof plus Smart Parking Assist and Lane Departure Warning are added as you go further up the specification grades.
The i40 Tourer doesn’t disappoint from first impressions, it has a fresh sporting appearance, it is practical and functional with a well laid out cabin and most of all is excellent on fuel economy.
And of course being a Hyundai it comes with a five-year Triple Care pack of unlimited mileage warranty, roadside assistance and annual vehicle health checks.