Though their model numbers give the suggestion the Hyundai i40 and i45 are similar in size they are quite widely differentiated. So potential buyers are likely to find their individual choices easy to make.
In an interesting marketing move the Hyundai i40 was initially sold only as a station wagon when it arrived in Australia in October 2011. A four-door sedan didn’t reach us for a further eight months.
The Hyundai i40 sedan is the subject of this week’s review and we have had a chance to drive it extensively as two different business trips saw us in the seemingly endless traffic jams of Sydney then in a different i40 in Brisbane, around the Gold Coast during the V8 Supercars race and in the hinterland behind our home on the Gold Coast. Now that’s variety for you.
Three model variants are offered in the new Hyundai i40 range: Active, Elite and Premium. As with all Hyundai models, the new i40 sedan has a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. There’s free roadside assist for the same period provided the car is serviced by a Hyundai dealer.
All i40 models have Bluetooth connectivity including audio streaming, as well as auxiliary and USB sockets. The Hyundai i40 Active has a single CD player, Elite and Premium have a six-disc changer with a more advanced audio system. Both systems can play MP3 and WMA discs. Elite and Premium models also use a proximity key with push button start/stop.
Interior space in the Hyundai i40 has good-sized seats for those in the front. Rear seat passengers will be short on knee room unless those in the front are willing to give up a little of their legroom. Despite the sleek roofline, headroom is good front and rear, even with a sunroof fitted.
Each model comes with the option of a 2.0-litre petrol or 1.7-litre turbo-diesel engine. Our test vehicle in Sydney was fitted with the diesel, it has peak power of 100 kW, and torque of 320 Nm between 2000 and 2500 rpm.
The vehicle unit we used in our home grounds of south-east Queensland had the petrol engine that has up to 130 kW of power. It doesn’t reach its torque peak of 213 Nm until it’s at 4700 rpm. Many drivers will never rev the engine to these heights, but it does have a good spread of grunt from about 2000 upwards so we didn’t find it lacking.
The entry-level i40 Active is offered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; the Elite and Premium only come with the automatic. Both our cars had the automatic transmission.
Standard safety features in all i40 models, sedan and wagon, are ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce assistance and brake assist. The system automatically activates the hazard lights when high brake pressures are applied. Active safety features include cornering brake control, vehicle stability management system and swivelling headlights.
Additionally, the Hyundai i40 Elite and Premium have front and rear parking sensors, supplemented in the Premium with a reversing camera. Nine airbags are the biggest feature of the passive safety items.
The diesel may be small in capacity but it’s a modern design and we were impressed by its strong torque and the fact that turbo lag is kept to a minimum. The added smoothness of the petrol is attractive, as is the absence of the smell of diesel.
Ride and handling are both good, with a sensible balance between firmness and comfort. Cornering is nothing to get excited about, but the Hyundai i40 holds on securely and is well within its limits when driven in the manner likely to be used by the typical buyer.
We would probably lean towards the petrol if it was our money, but the final decision is up to you the potential buyer.
Active 2.0-litre petrol: $29,990 (manual), $31,990 (automatic)
Active 1.7-litre turbo-diesel: $32,590 (manual), $34,590 (automatic)
Elite 2.0-litre petrol: $36,990 (automatic)
Elite 1.7-litre turbo-diesel: $39,590 (automatic)
Premium 2.0-litre petrol: $41,990 (automatic)
Premium 1.7-litre turbo-diesel: $44,590 (automatic)
ABS Brakes: Standard in all models
Automatic Transmission: Optional in Active, standard in Elite and Premium
Cruise Control: Standard in all models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in all models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in all models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in all models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in Elite and Premium
Reversing Camera: Standard in Premium
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in all models
Bluetooth: Standard in all models
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard in all models
Hyundai i40 2.0-litre petrol four-door sedan
Engine: 4-cylinders, 131kW/214Nm
Transmission: 6-speed, FWD
Turning Circle: 10.9 metres
Kerb Mass: 1423-1542 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres
Towing Ability: 700 kg (1500 kg with braked trailer)
Boot Capacity: 505 litres
Warranty: five years/unlimited km
Honda Accord Euro
Price: From $31,640
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cyl 148kW/230Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 8.9L/100km, 91RON
Price: From $31,490
Engine: 2.3-litre 4-cylinder, 118kW/208Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 9.5/100Km, 91RON
Kia Optima Si
Price: from $30,490
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder, 148kW/250Nm
Transmission: 6-speed, sports automatic, front wheel drive
Thirst: 7.9L/100Km, 189 CO2 emissions