The new Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon is one of the Korean brand’s more posher cars. It looks good, offers lots of practicality for families, and comes with economical engines.
With prices starting out from over £20,000, it’s clear that the i40 is no longer the budget choice. It’s pricey but there’s a lot of bang for your buck here. Moreover, as the price has risen, so have the levels of quality.
Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries and they have an interesting history. Read more about it in our summary of Hyundai’s history.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon review.
Overview of the Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon
On the Road
The i40 isn’t what you’d call a finesse car in the same way that, say, a Mondeo is, but it’s still enjoyable to drive. Hyundai have placed the onus on comfort here, but while the steering is precise for the most part, it does wobble now and then. This causes the car to feel a bit awkward in bends, but body roll is well resisted. Moreover, the car offers plenty of grip so that it isn’t totally useless in corners.
The soft suspension contributes to the car’s easygoing nature, and the i40 works well as a comfortable motorway cruiser that eats up the miles with ease.
One thing worth mentioning is the speed sensitive steering. At low speeds, the steering lightens up. This will prove handy when you’re trying to negotiate tight urban settings, and you’ll definitely appreciate it when it comes time to park.
In terms of its engines, there’s only one diesel available. This is a 1.7-litre unit that develops either 113 or 139bhp. The former covers the 0-62 sprint in 12.8 seconds, while the latter covers it in a much faster 10.3 seconds.
Because both variants cost the same, it’s a lot easier to recommend the bigger engine.
Both variants also come with a Blue Drive package that boosts efficiency. It gets stop-start tech, which ensures that you’ll be paying less at the pumps.
A manual gearbox is available as standard, and while you can specify a DCT automatic ‘box, it’s much easier for us to recommend that you stick to the former as it’s just nicer to use.
Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon Interior, Design and Build
As Hyundai are now positioning their i40 as an upmarket cruiser, it makes sense that it’s very comfortable inside – which it is. Over long distances, the cabin treats you well. Even on poorer surfaces, there’s a real calmness about this car.
That said, opting for the bigger 18” alloys does come at the detriment of ride quality.
Insulation is excellent, with barely a peep from outside getting into the cabin. Even the diesel engine hardly makes a noise.
There’s been a real improvement in terms of quality inside the i40. Against rivals, it holds up much better than it used to. It’s not quite as solidly built as a Volkswagen – the market leader – but the controls, buttons and surfaces all look good enough.
Is the Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon practical? Its boot measures 525-litres, which is reasonable but not class-leading. Moreover, that’s its total capacity because – as is the case with a lot of these saloon cars – its rear seats can’t be folded down. The i40 Tourer Estate, conversely, can offer up to 1,719-litres of boot space.
Other than that, this is a well-thought-out, practical car that’s ideal for families. There are plenty of handy storage solutions dotted around the place, head and legroom is good for all, and five adults can sit in comfort on longer trips.
Referring back to the i40 Grand Tourer again, if you do need more space it’s a car well worth taking a closer look at.
How reliable is Hyundai? Read our impartial assessment of their reliability to find out more.
Equipment and Safety of the Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon
Standard kit is good across the range, with entry-level models getting Bluetooth, air conditioning, automatic lights and alloys.
The SE Nav range adds sat-nav, heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors.
The SE Nav Business model nets you keyless entry and leather upholstery, while the Premium trim rounds things off with a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats and ventilated front seats.
Optional extras include metallic paint, road sign recognition and bi-xenon headlights.
Safety-wise, the i40 has a 5/5 safety rating from Euro NCAP in the bag, and this includes a score of 92% for adult occupation. It’s a very safe car and all models come with hill hold assist, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, rear curtain airbags and driver and passenger airbags.
The Assist Pack is all worth paying extra for, as it nets you lane keeping assistance among other advanced safety systems.
Costs of the Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon
Prices for the new car start out from £20,355 and rise to £28,235. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page.
In terms of its running costs, the least powerful version of the 1.7-litre diesel engine can return 67.3mpg economy on a good day and emits 110g/km of CO2. The most powerful version of the same engine, meanwhile, is good for 65.7mpg on a good day and emits 114g/km of CO2. It costs more to buy in the first place but is hardly more expensive to keep on the road.
Insurance-wise, the car sits in groups 13 – 20, while resale values are good – or, at the very least, better than they once were in any case. All models come with a 5-year warranty.
Pros and Cons of the Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon
As many as five adults can be comfortable even on longer trips.
As is the case with a lot of cars of this type, its rear seats don’t fold so you can’t increase its 525-litre capacity – but that’s a very good size.
It’s affordable across the board – to buy, run and insure.
Not sharp to drive
It’s enjoyable to drive in the sense that it’s easy, but it isn’t much fun.
It’s a large boot that’s compromised by a narrow opening.
Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon vs Mazda 6 Diesel Saloon vs Kia Optima Saloon
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon review.
Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon vs Mazda 6 Diesel Saloon
The new Mazda 6 Diesel Saloon is one of the best cars in this sector. It’s stylish, affordable and lots of fun to drive.
On the road is just one of the areas where it excels, with the Mazda combining great engines with sharp handling to very good effect. This is well worth emphasising as it isn’t often that you come across family saloons that are such a joy behind the wheel.
In fact, there are even comparisons to be made here with the sporty Mazda MX5 Roadster – yes, it’s that good.
The caveat, of course, is that the ride is a bit on the firm side but we expect all buyers will be loving the brands new G-Vectoring Control system that alters the engine’s output according to your steering input.
In terms of its engines, there’s one diesel available. It’s a 2.2-litre power plant that develops either 148bhp or 173bhp. The former can complete the 0-62 sprint in 9.1 seconds, while the latter races from a standstill to 62mph in 7.9 seconds.
Both diesels are backed by a brand new balancing system that reduces diesel clatter – and it works well.
Running costs? The 148bhp variant is able to return well over 65mpg on a good day and emits as little as 107g/km of CO2. The bigger variant, meanwhile, manages 62.8mpg at best and emits 119g/km. For such a big car, these are good numbers.
Inside, the Mazda 6 boasts a smart, comfortable and roomy cabin. The seats are supportive and adjust to suit most people, while the dashboard is practical but also robust. Mazda have also added a leather trim to give the car a premium feel.
All models get a 7” colour screen as part of their standard kit, although it is easy to smudge with fingerprints.
Is the Mazda 6 Diesel Saloon practical? It’s stylish but not quite as practical as some of its rivals in this sector. It’s spacious but not the most spacious in this class, and there are lots of storage areas dotted around the place.
Visibility is fine up front and out back, but parking will be an issue at times because this is a hefty car.
The biggest issue, however, is rear seat space, which disappoints. Rear headroom is the main problem, caused by a sloping roofline. The boot, meanwhile, measures 483-litres, which is 17-litres less than last time.
Hyundai – £20,355 – £28,235
Mazda – £20,995 – £28,595
Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon vs Kia Optima Saloon
The new Kia Optima Saloon is smart, well-equipped, and comes complete with the brand’s seven-year warranty that everyone loves.
On the road, the Optima isn’t what you’d call fun, but it is very competent. It’s also comfortable and fairly enjoyable to drive.
Kia have updated its suspension recently so that it’s smoother on poorer surfaces, but body lean remains an issue in bends.
In terms of its engines, there isn’t a lot to choose from. In fact, there’s just the one diesel available. This is a 1.7-litre unit that develops 139bhp, and which has a 0-62 time of 10.6 seconds. It’s not as powerful as we’d like and it also makes a fair amount of noise.
Running costs? The sole diesel might lack power but it’s very cost effective. On a good day, it can return as much as 67.3mpg, while emissions stand at 110g/km of CO2. If you specify the automatic ‘box, fuel consumption dips to 64.2mpg.
Inside, the Optima is another example of how far Kia has come as a brand. New sound-deadening materials have improved insulation so that you can drive around without diesel clatter ringing in your ears, there are lots of soft-touch plastics here and there, and build quality is good.
There’s plenty of standard kit available with each model, with even the entry-level model getting all-round electric windows, a reversing camera, air conditioning and sat nav.
Is the Kia Optima Saloon practical? Its boot is a bit impractical in that its parcel shelf is fixed and its opening is too narrow, but these are things that affect most saloons like this. The boot measures 510-litres, which is competitive.
Other than that, this is a roomy car that can seat four adults in comfort. Five can fit in but anyone sat in the middle will have to cope with a raised seat.
A height adjustable driver’s seat makes it simple enough to get comfortable, while storage spaces include a cooled glovebox and a lidded central cubby.
Verdict of our 2018 Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon Review
It looks bold, it can offer a lot of room and it’s well equipped. There’s not a lot that this car does wrong, but for whatever reason, it’s being outsold by its rivals.
Well, it was being outsold. Hyundai hope that a few revisions here and there will make it a contender once again, and us? We like the stylish and usable Hyundai i40 Diesel Saloon very much.