The Hyundai i40 - iDrive

It plays  the Mondeo at its own game

Price: £22,295 (Style Tourer 1.7 CRDi Blue Drive tested)
Engine capacity: 1.7 litres (4 cylinders, 16 valves)
Power output (PS @ rpm): 136 @ 4,000
Max torque (Nm @ rpm): 325 @ 2,000 - 2,500
Top speed (mph): 124 0-60 mph (seconds): 10.6
Fuel economy (mpg): 62.8
CO2 emissions (g/km): 119

The new Hyundai saloon is an estate.

There will be a saloon eventually, but the Koreans have taken the unusual step of launching the Tourer version of the i40 first, because that’s where they think the sales are. And they’re keen to get it right because the i40 is the company’s first car capable of competing seriously with the big-selling Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.

The i40 replaces the boxy, practical Sonata and the two cars couldn’t be more different. The Sonata was a bland thing, designed to cater to US and Asian tastes, but the i40 has sophisticated lines that will appeal to Europeans as well. Hyundai calls the look “fluidic sculpture”and for once that seems to be more than just designer flannel. Its sleek good looks also do an excellent job of disguising just how big it is; only the enormous Skoda Superb offers similar rear leg-room. All occupants will appreciate the tastefully executed interior, which is Hyundai’s best yet. The i40 is pretty good out on the road as well; I tried the more powerful of a pair of 1.7-litre diesels, which was strong and refined, although the sporty paddle shift on the automatic feels a bit over the top for a Hyundai estate, even if the i40 looks, and is, quite quick. Budget-conscious buyers will go for the slower 115hp version, which in Blue Drive eco form delivers CO2 emissions of 113g/km and 65.7 mpg. Don’t ask me why so many manufacturers use the word blue to describe their green models – I don’t get it either.

But the i40 isn’t quite as cheap as Hyundais of old; prices start at £18,395 and extend to £25,895. But with style, substance and specification on its side, the i40 still represents good value for money.

The big sellers in this bracket are the Ford Mondeo, pictured, and Vauxhall Insignia estates but the i40 will mainly be an alternative to the Toyota Avensis and Mazda 6

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