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Hyundai i40 2018 review

EXPERT RATING
7.1
People are choosing SUVs without even realising the downsides. In many ways the wagon is the original, and in some cases better 'SUV'. Take Hyundai's i40 Tourer Active with the diesel engine for insta

A wagon and not an SUV, eh? Respect. You see, when most people now think of a new car they think of an SUV, especially when they want something with a bit of cargo space. But not you. 

And for thinking outside the box you’ll be rewarded with something that’s better to drive than most SUVs – like the Hyundai i40 Tourer in the Active grade and a diesel engine we’ve road tested here.

So, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this Korean wagon, and should you wait or buy it now? Read on to find out.

Hyundai i40 2018: ACTIVE TOURER
Safety rating
Engine Type1.7L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency5.1L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$36,285

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

There are only two grades in the i40 range - 'Active' and 'Premium'. And when it comes to engines you again have two choices - petrol or diesel. The latter adding $2600 to the price.

If you’re looking for the most affordable way into an i40 wagon go for the Active. Listing at a base price of $35,690, 'our' i40 Active Tourer diesel had one option – 'Ocean View' metallic paint, adding an extra $595.
 
The Active grade costs $9160 less than Premium, and as much as I’d like to say that top-spec car is pretty much the same, with some shiny bits of door trim added, I’d be lying. 

The Active really does miss out on some decent stuff – the screen is the smallest I’ve seen since I wore a digital watch, at 4.3-inch (the Premium has a 7.0-inch), there’s air-con but not climate control, there’s keyless entry but not a proximity key or push button start.

The screen in the Active is the smallest I’ve seen since I wore a digital watch. (image credit: Richard Berry) The screen in the Active is the smallest I’ve seen since I wore a digital watch. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The Active doesn’t get a power tailgate with a handsfree function like the Premium, or tinted rear glass, or a digital speedo, or a panoramic sunroof, or a power adjustable driver’s seat, or heated seats, all of which are standard on the Premium grade.

Yup, the Active may be as base grade as you can get but it still comes with paddles shifters, LED daytime running lights, an electric handbrake with auto hold function, front and rear parking sensors, cloth seats and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The Active Tourer comes with 16-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Richard Berry) The Active Tourer comes with 16-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Richard Berry)

A list price nudging $36K may seem high, but don’t’ forget you’re paying more for the diesel engine. There’s good reason to spend the extra on the diesel, too – which I’ll explain below.

The i40 Active Tourer diesel undercuts the $39,040 Ford Mondeo Ambiente diesel wagon, while the Volkswagen Passat 140TDI wagon only comes in the mid-spec Highline grade for $49,990 (and is a bit ‘next level’ by comparison), while the Mazda6 wagon in Touring spec with diesel engine is $41,440. 

Other rivals? Yes, the new Holden Commodore Sportwagon diesel is $38,890. So, compared to its rivals the i40 Active Tourer is a bit of a bargain.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The i40 wagon looks good, I even caught myself doing that admiring 'look back' thing you do when you walk away from your car. Thing is, the current i40 has the ‘old’ Hyundai styling that dates it compared to the new i30, Sonata and Kona, which reflect the brand’s latest look.

This brings me to something you should really know – the newer, updated i40 will arrive in Australia soon, and it will be more in line with Hyundai’s current design approach.

The i40 is also up against some hot-looking rivals. The Mondeo is gorgeous, the Passat is stately, and the Commodore also looks stunning. To be honest the i40 is the least attractive of that lot form where I’m looking. It’s also about the same size as that trio at 4775mm long, 1815mm wide and 1470mm in height.

The i40 wagon is about the same size as its rivals at 4775mm long, 1815mm wide and 1470mm in height. (image credit: Richard Berry) The i40 wagon is about the same size as its rivals at 4775mm long, 1815mm wide and 1470mm in height. (image credit: Richard Berry)

My mum would call the interior of the i40 Active smart looking, but she doesn’t mean tech-smart, more school dance smart, and if she ever said that before you went to a school dance you’d get changed immediately.

Yes, it looks smart in a tidy, stylish way, but that tiny screen, cloth seats and ordinary plastics lower the tone compared to the Premium's more 'premium' interior. 

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The i40 wagon nails the practicality category. Storage space is excellent with a deep, wide console bin under the centre armrest, and there’s another big well in front of the gear shifter. 

There are large pockets in all the doors with bottle holders, two cupholders up front and another two in the fold-down rear armrest, plus another storage area in there, too.

The i40 Tourer’s 506 litre cargo capacity is good, but can’t beat the Passat’s 650 litres, while it matches the Mazda6 wagon’s boot space.

The i40 Tourer’s boot is rated at 506 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry) The i40 Tourer’s boot is rated at 506 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Rear legroom borders on limo territory and even at 191cm I can sit behind my driving position with about 50mm of space between my knees and the seat back. Headroom back there is also extremely generous.
The rear doors open wide, making for an easy exit or entry, too.

Rear legroom borders on limo territory. (image credit: Richard Berry) Rear legroom borders on limo territory. (image credit: Richard Berry)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

This is another area in which our test car impressed with its 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and seven-speed dual clutch auto transmission.

The 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel produces 104kW/340Nm. (image credit: Richard Berry) The 1.7-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel produces 104kW/340Nm. (image credit: Richard Berry)

At 104kW, it may be less powerful than the petrol (121kW) but its 340Nm of torque gave it the shove to accelerate impressively from 1750rpm (idle is 800rpm).

The engine and dual-clutch combination performs beautifully; smooth even at low speed in traffic, and shifting down intuitively to make best use of engine braking.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Hyundai will tell you the i40 Tourer diesel will get 5.1L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. The trip computer in our test car said it was averaging 7.4L/100km. Still, that’s not bad mileage.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

Hyundai’s website says the i40 Tourer scores the maximum five-star ANCAP rating. That’s true, but a bit sneaky because that ranking was given to the car back in 2013, and a lot has changed in terms of safety equipment in five years. 

AEB, for example, is becoming common. So is rear cross traffic alert and blind spot warning, along with adaptive cruise control. You can’t get any of this advanced safety equipment on the current i40, not even the top-spec Premium.

Don’t get me wrong, the i40 is extremely safe with its suite of airbags, plus traction and stability controls - it’s just that the bar for safety has been raised higher.

The new i40 is expected to come armed with more up-to-date safety equipment.
 
If you’re fitting child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether anchor points across the rear row. It’s great to see a full-sized spare wheel under the boot floor, too.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

The i40 Tourer is covered by Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 15,000km/12months at a capped price of $339. A servicing plan is also available for three years ($777), four years ($1136), and five years ($1395). 

What's it like to drive?   7/10

A comfortable ride, impressive handling for the class, and a great engine and transmission mean the i40 Active Tourer diesel is engaging and enjoyable to drive. 

The driving position is excellent, the seats are large but supportive, and the pedal feel is spot on. The i40 Tourer is way better to drive than it needs to be and would embarrass some cars from more prestigious brands.

It’s not all perfect: the cabin could be better insulated with wind noise obvious at 90km/h and tyre rumble intruding on course chip roads; visibility is hampered by those slanted A-pillars and the reversing camera image is next to useless thanks to the business card-sized screen in the Active.

Verdict

The i40 Tourer in the Active grade is great to drive, it’s practical, and should be low-cost to run. But you can bet the new version, due to arrive soon, will be, too. If you can wait, it's a safe bet the new i40 Tourer will have an updated look, improved safety equipment and retain all the good points of the previous model. 

Would you buy the current i40, or would you be mad not to wait for the new one, coming soon? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$30,419
Based on 6 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$36,285
Highest Price
$37,857

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ACTIVE 1.7L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $23,870 – 29,480 2018 HYUNDAI i40 2018 ACTIVE Pricing and Specs
PREMIUM 1.7L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $31,130 – 37,510 2018 HYUNDAI i40 2018 PREMIUM Pricing and Specs
ACTIVE TOURER 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $24,500 – 37,857 2018 HYUNDAI i40 2018 ACTIVE TOURER Pricing and Specs
PREMIUM TOURER 1.7L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $33,000 – 39,270 2018 HYUNDAI i40 2018 PREMIUM TOURER Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.1
Price and features7
Design7
Practicality8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Safety6
Ownership8
Driving7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$28,888

Lowest price, based on 3 car listings in the last 6 months

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