Do you want to know what keeps people who work in car companies awake at night? Surprises, that’s what. They like to know what the other companies are up too, they keep their sketch books locked away in huge vaults and only show their hand when they are good and ready.
They eye each other up at car shows, even the MDs drop in to each stand just to make sure there’s nothing surprising from the competition.
With all this watching each other, no one was minding what the Korean car company Hyundai was up to; so seeing the new i40 at the Geneva motor show must have caused untold nights of insomnia and hair pulling.
You see, the i40 was specifically designed for the European market because we are a bunch of fussy buyers and not just any old design will do. The i40 Tourer was an obvious sign that Hyundai had been hitting the study books titled “European car design 101” because they hit the nail on the head. That’s because it was designed in Europe, Russelsheim in Germany to be exact.
The i40 is beautiful from just about any angle; it has all the swoops and lines in just the right proportion, from the front it appears to be both smiling and frowning courtesy of the stylish daytime running LEDs. The goodies don’t just stop on the outside, the inside has a line like no other line. I know it’s weird of me to get excited about a line but this line runs from door to door while draping across the dashboard.
Loads of kit come as standard including Air Con, leather steering wheel, electric windows, 9 air bags and a host of acronyms like ESC, BAS, HAC and VSM all of which mean that you’ll keep on the straight and narrow no matter what the road might throw up.
There are two engines, both are diesel and both are 1.7ltr. You can have the 115bhp manual or the 1v36bhp Auto, while we’re at it; there are only 3 models. The entry Comfort model, the Executive and Executive Auto Tourer, there’s not much difference in kit between the Comfort and Executive but you do miss some of the nice toys like electric drivers’ seat and reversing camera that’s built into the rear view mirror.
The engine pulls very well, there’s lots of torque and it feels like it would make a great towing car. Handling is very competent too thanks to one of the acronyms vehicle stability management (VWM) that keeps the car from rolling about in the corners. While I think the steering is a little on the light side for the enthusiastic drivers it does make it really easy to park. Fuel economy is nothing short of miraculous, I did nearly 500kms on a quarter of a tank; the 70ltr tank gave me 4.4ltrs per 100kms.
The new Hyundai i40 does nothing wrong, even the prices are good. Starting at €26,495 for Comfort and rising to €31,995 for the Auto. The one you want is the Executive Tourer for €27,995 plus the usual charges. I haven’t mentioned the 5 year unlimited warranty and 5 years of roadside assistance, the 5 years servicing for €500! Go too Naas Autopoint on the Dublin Road 045 848800 for a test drive you don’t want to miss.