A Wheel Thing has spent three weeks with three almost completely different Hyundai models and wraps up the trio with the Series 2 i40 Tourer with Active specification, complete with a 340 Nm, 1.7L, diesel and stylish nosejob.
Straight up, the front end of the i40 Tourer brings it into line with the new family face that Hyundai are presenting to the world; there’s a definite resemblance to the sibling Sonata and forthcoming Elantra with the handsome, angular,headlights with LED driving lights and hexagonal grille. The rear, when seen directly from the rear, is also pleasing enough but in profile the rear looks heavy, too low to the ground, rather than matching the sleekness of the new front.There’s 16 inch alloys all round, with eco look tyres (the sidewalls are festooned with flowers) and they’re high profile tyres too, at 205/60. Somehow, they still manage to not look as if they fill the wheel arches. It’s an unusual look overall and reminiscent of the XF Falcon. In profile, the swage lines joining front to rear and the tapering of the windows front and rear, stand out. Overall length is 4775 mm, with height and width 1470 mm and 1815 mm.The engine,as mentioned, rolls out 340 torques, from 1750 rpm through to Hyundai’s customary 2500 rev point. It’s an astounding amount of torque and wonderfully economic. When picked up and the70L tank brimmed, the onboard computer was offering a range of over 1050 kilometres and that number barely changed, from distance covered to expected range, throughout the week, with a final economy reading of six litres per hundred. That part is simply sensational. Hyundai’s own figures are 5.1/5.9/4.7L per hundred (combined/urban/highway) .What isn’t sensational is the seven speed dual clutch transmission that has been fitted and calibrated for the i40 Tourer. Bluntly, if it were a horse, it should have been taken to the back paddock and shot. A huge gap between Reverse and Drive, an insistence on finding third and holding it on the slightest slope (requiring manual changes to give the engine the appropriate gear plus lower the din from forward of the driver), an unwillingness to offer smooth and unnoticeable changes, an ever persistent feeling that the clutches were given too much time to think about when to engage, a millennium between removing the foot from the brake and feeling forward motion…the love experienced on day one dissipated rapidly.
Although the final driving experience was badly diluted, the interior more than made up for it. It’s the interior the newly released Tucson should have; classy, elegant, sweet, ergonomic, pleasurable to look at and be in. First up, the dash. It’s the dial within dials look that is found in the Santa Fe; it’s smart and it works. Then there’s the centre console; Hyundai have drawn a line down the middle and have mirror imaged the buttons, more or less.All are legible (as expected), with the plastics here (and elsewhere) of a higher quality than seen in other offerings, smart usage of visual cues (LED backlighting is widely used and sensibly employed, such as in the sliding scale look for the fan speed and temperature) and a tasteful mix of colour for the plastics (including piano black), plus the trademark sweeping arch motif from the passenger door into the dash all add up to make it a wonderful location to be in, especially with 1170 mm legroom and 1420 mm shoulder room.
At the rear is a seemingly huge cargo space (576L seats up, 1672L seats down), with storage below the well carpeted covers as well. There was certainly no issue in loading up the Tourer’s cargo with kids stuff and shopping, seeming to not have enough to make it look full. There’s no power option fitted to the review car but there’s an insert in the tail gate’s plastic to indicate there could be. Rear seat room is also considerable at 850 mm.Apart from the transmission issues, it’s a pleasant, cossetting ride, with the 60 profile tyres sponging up ripples and bumps, a luxury tune suspension providing no qualms about handling except for an odd and unsettled skipping sideways on off camber turns and over bumps. The 2770 mm wheelbase and near 1600 mm tracks front and rear offer up plenty of stability. Thankfully there’s no steering mode choice, just a nicely weighted tiller and a decent level of communication between it and the front end.
Brake feel was spot on, with the subconscious knowing that the pressure required resulted in the right brake setting and pedal feel. Being a torquey diesel, there was some noticeable torque steer when pressed hard into action, but not to the point it was intrusive. What it did show is how much grunt Hyundai has managed to screw out of such a relatively small engine and offer such incredible fuel economy, as a result.
In profile it’s dragged down at the rear, yet that is not noticeable when seen directly. The reprofiling at the front brings it into line with its siblings and it’s a pretty face to have. The inside is just beautiful and it’s wonderfully economic. The whole package was let down by that DCT and that, for A Wheel Thing lowered the overall enjoyment considerably and had me wondering what a person that isn’t technically minded would be thinking.
There is another aspect to the i40 Tourer; it’s the only station wagon in the Hyundai range whereas there’s the i40 sedan, Sonata sedan, Accent sedan and the bigger Genesis sedan. For details and pricing options on the i40 range, click here: Hyundai i40 range