YOU COULD buy a top used German executive car for £23,400, but you could also have Hyundai’s tasty i40 Saloon Premium 1.7 CRDi for the same amount of cash. Which would you go for BMW, Audi or Hyundai?

It’s a tough choice. No, really it is. You see, after sitting behind the wheel of this Korean car you start to realise just how far Hyundai has come. The new i40 is handsome with a sleek, sporty profile. It’s even more impressive on the move. You can push it into corners and it’ll hug the bends quite spectacularly. All the electronic gadgetry to keep it from flipping out reassuringly kicks in time after time.

However, with a slack sounding 0-62 mph time of 10.3 seconds you’d be forgiven for thinking this i40 is a slug. You’d be wrong; the car feels far quicker than the figures on paper suggest. The i40 Saloon’s 1685 cc, 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo diesel churns out 134 bhp and delivers a decent amount of pulling power. The six-speed manual gearbox is also very precise and fluid.

The Hyundai is very comfortable on long commutes. It sits at motorway speeds quietly and economically and, as I’ve suggested, when you take it off the long, dull stretches of tarmac it can be quite a fun car to tackle twisty B roads. And there’s a reason for its good handling. At the heart of the i40’s class-leading refinement and its responsive handling is an all-new bodyshell. The use of ultra-high strength steel together with advanced engineering has resulted in superior stiffness and a superb structural efficiency that outperforms many rivals. The bodyshell ensures that you are barely aware of any vibrations from the road surface or from the car’s mechanical components.

Inside, and from a driver’s eye point of view, the i40’s controls are very clear and logically set out. The only slight criticism is that the clock is not immediately obvious. It seems you have to have the sat nav/audio information screen on to see what the time is. Not a big problem. The other niggle is the lack of coat hooks in the rear. On a commute to a business meeting I wanted to hang my suit jacket up on a peg. There wasn’t one. Strange – but, again, no biggy. These tiny issues are soon forgotten, helped by a good, relaxed, driving position, made easy to achieve with the i40 Premium’s electrically adjustable leather seats. Room is good in the front and the back too, and the boot is large and accessible.

In terms of safety, the i40 is fitted with seven airbags – front, side, curtain and driver knee airbag. And with its stiffer, stronger bodyshell, Hyundai has attained the maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP’s impact assessment programme.

The i40 is backed up by an award-winning customer care package, 5 Year Triple Care. This demonstrates Hyundai’s confidence in its vehicles. And the self-belief seems justified. From what I’ve experienced, the i40 Saloon, especially in Premium guise, is a car worth owning, or perhaps choosing as your next company car. It may not have the cachet of a BMW or an Audi, but give it time and perceptions might change.


  • Handsome √
  • Sticks to the road √
  • Good driving position √
  • Safe √
  • Clock X
  • Coat pegs X


  • Max speed: 125 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 10.3 secs
  • Combined mpg: 55.4
  • Engine: 1685 cc 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo diesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 134 at 4000 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 240 at 2000-2500 rpm
  • CO2: 134 g/km
  • Price: £23,400 on the road

Click here to read a review of sister car – the i40 Tourer – published in the East Anglian Daily Times Suffolk Magazine, September 2012
Click below to watch the Hyundai Promo video: 

and click below to watch the i40 World Premier at the Geneva Motor Show 



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