The Hyundai i40 was sold initially only as a station wagon called the Tourer when it arrived in Australia in October, 2011.
A four-door i40 sedan didn’t reach us until May, 2012.
With the Tourer, Hyundai Australia was chasing potential buyers of crossover SUVs, offering a more sensible vehicle than a high riding wagon.
Hyundai wasn’t the first to discover that sensible wagons don’t sell particularly well.
That’s because SUVs are often bought by people looking for the macho image, not commonsense transport.
Keep in mind wagons such as the Hyundai will use significantly less fuel than full-on 4WDs, though the fuel savings won’t be as great as those in so-called SUVs that are actually just tall hatchbacks.
The steady increase in popularity of SUVs saw the i40 withdrawn for the Hyundai range in 2019.
The Hyundai i40 is reasonably popular on the used-car scene.
That’s because buyers are increasingly aware of the engineering and high build quality of the latest couple of generations of South Korean cars.
Those travelling in the front of a Hyundai i40 have good-sized seats that are quite comfortable.
Rear seat passengers will be short on knee room but may have to do a deal with those in the front to give up a little of their space.
Despite the sleek roofline, headroom is good in the rear for all but the very tallest travellers.
Even with a sunroof fitted this still applies, but try for yourself if you’ve some hulking teens in the family.
Other innovations include front windscreen de-fog function in the Elite and Premium; heated and ventilated driver and passenger front seats in Premium, as well as heated rear seats.
The driver’s seat gets 10-way power settings including height adjustment with lumbar support in Elite and Premium models.
Ride and handling have a sensible balance between firmness and comfort.
The Series II benefits from further work by Australian suspension engineers working with South Korean guys to produce the sort of dynamics that are enjoyed by Australian drivers.
Hyundai i40 comes with the option of a 2.0-litre petrol or 1.7-litre turbo-diesel engine.
In the Series I the entry-level i40 Active is offered with a six-speed manual, the mid-range Elite and topline Premium only come with a six-speed conventional automatic.
In the Hyundai i40 Series II, the diesel engine was mated with Hyundai’s new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Major safety features include no fewer than nine airbags. vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, cornering brake control, emergency stop assist, eight sensor front and rear park assist across the range and LED daytime running lights.
A solid makeover created the Hyundai i40 Series II in June, 2015.
The styling in the Series II is even sharper, with a more aggressive grille and projector-beam headlights, plus LED daytime running lights to stylish new tail lights.
The Series I dot-matrix audio screen was replaced with a new 4.3-inch touchscreen not only making things easier for the user, but also giving the cabin more modern styling.
In addition to the existing AM/FM radio, CD-player, USB/AUX inputs and MP3 compatibility, the upgraded system has digital iPod connectivity, in place of the previous analogue, as well as a media ripping/storage facility.
There’s an emphasis on dealerships in the the metro regions, but Hyundai is increasingly looking at country cities and major towns.
Insurance charges are generally moderate and there’s not a huge difference in premiums from company to company.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Earlier i40 models were launched at the time when major improvements were being made in build quality by Hyundai.
Bodies are pretty good, but check them over for panels that don’t fit evenly. The later the car the better it’s likely to be.
At the same time as you’re looking at panel margins check for indications of panel repairs.
Sighting along the body for ripples will give a big clue to time being spent in a panel shop.
Similarly colours that don’t match exactly from panel to panel are a sign that the two were painted after repairs.
Have a good look at the interior in early models as the quality may not be up to the standard that we have come to expect in later Hyundais.
Electrical problems in door mirrors were common in earlier cars, make sure both sides work.
Then again, if you’re the only driver and don’t need to alter the mirrors their failure could be a way to haggle the price down.
Look for seat damage or trim that’s not fitted neatly.
We’ve heard of steering wheels with surfaces peeling, probably because the car has been parked outdoors most of the time.
During your test drive listen for in-cabin squeaks and rattles that may indicate parts not fitting correctly.
Turbo-diesel engines will take longer to fire up than petrol, but if one seems too bad have it checked in a workshop — ideally one that specialises in Hyundais.
Manual gearboxes that crunch on fast changes could be due for an expensive overhaul, but it may just need adjustment of the clutch.
Expect to pay from $5000 to $9000 for a 2012 Hyundai i40 Active; $8000 to $12,000 for a 2013 Elite; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2013 Premium; $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2014 Elite; $13,000 to $20,000 for a 2016 Premium Tourer; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2019 Active; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2018 Premium Tourer; and $19,000 to $27,000 for a 2019 Premium Tourer.
CAR BUYING TIPS
Used car prices have generally increased during the period of new car stock shortages so hunt around for the best deal.
Start looking at adverts for used vehicles several months before you intend buying.
That way you can see the prices being asked and whether they are rising and falling as dealers need to clear stock due to overcrowding.
Keep an eye on adverts for new cars that say there are specials on particular models.
These can mean a lot of traded-in cars are taking up too much space in the yards and will be discounted to get rid of them.
If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot.
This can give you an insight to the quality of vehicles in which the dealer specialises.
If buying privately ask for proof of ownership of the vehicle and make sure it is covered for you taking a test drive.
Take a slow walk around any car you’re considering, looking for obvious defects.
It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details, only to later discover a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.
Ideally any road test of a car you’re getting serious about should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is best.
If you’re serious about buying a vehicle, tell the seller you would like to take it for a good long test drive.
If they insist on coming that’s understandable, but try to avoid them ‘selling” the car to you.
Put bluntly, ask them to shut up,
In their later years, cars with a reputation for being long lived and trouble free sometimes attract buyers who have no intention of ever servicing them.