A Wheel Thing has spent an enjoyable week with the diesel Hyundai i40 Active. Around the same size and shape as the Elantra, I admit, still, to bafflement as to why Hyundai has two almost identical cars….
Slotting nicely into the small mid sized segment, the i40 , like all of Hyundai’s range, is broken down into three levels.
The Active is the entry level model and as such has an interior easily mistaken for an older version if you’ve spent time with the Elite and Premium.
It’s still a comfortable workspace and not unhandsome at all. The cloth seats are wellpadded and supportive, the view forward is airy, with plenty of space around the driver whilst a comfortable seating position sees the bonnet disappear just below the window line, making judging distances a little tricky. However, the i40 comes fitted with front parking sensors. The profile shows a lithe svelte line, with a rising window line terminating in an attractive taillight cluster. Boot space is considerable, with the design of a high waistline over the rear wheels providing plenty of room for the family whilst the rear seats are accessible via the fold down centre. The dash is clear and easy to read, with the centre console showing how a higher model provides a few extra perks.
The Active loses the touch screen radio/navigation system with the dash missing the LCD pictogram. Also, keyless start goes astray, showing how simple technology can seemingly date, by reverting back to actually inserting a key to start a car…The centre console is still attractively styled with ergonomics once again a highlight, with buttons clearly laid out and legible. Soft feel plastics, contrasting shades of black (yes, there is such a thing) with the chrome style highlights combine to give the i40 Active a pleasing ambience. Safety is not compromised, with nine airbags throughout the spacious cabin, including a driver’s knee airbag and full length curtain ‘bag as well.
Hyundai’s “fluid design” starts from the stylish front, with the trapezoid style grille slotted between the wraparound headlights before tapering through a sharp swage line to the rear. The headlight cluster features LED running lights in Hyundai’s now familiar question mark shape whilst night lighting gives both good spread and reach plus adding “around corner” lighting, with light being cast more to the turning side. Aero is helped by the small chin fins, diverting air up and around the side of the car, over the wing mirrors and helping reduce drag and turbulence in the front wheel wells. The tapering rear finishes the aero package, smoothing out the tumbling air whilst helping economy.
And that’s something that really comes into play with the i40. Its 1.7L diesel heart pumps with high efficiency, covering over 430 kilometres on a half tank of the good oil. Power is not huge, just 100kW at 4000rpm whilst torque is a prodigious 320 Nm between 2000-2500rpm. It’s a figure that really came into its own climbing the majestic Macquarie Pass, just south of Wollongong (http://www.whereis.com/nsw/macquarie-pass#session=MTI=) . Covering just 5 kilometres horizontally with a 7% gradient allowing a total distance of 7670 metres, the high torque and low revs combine, for the most part, to make it a sporting driving experience. When the i40 fell off boost, it did struggle momentarily but when on song, gripped well with its nimble chassis following the front wheels around without issue. The ride is fluid, smooth whilst largely unflappable over yumps and bumps. Accelaration, as expected from a smallish engine, is decent enough matched to the six speed auto without being neck snapping.
It’s a sweet looking car and with the Elite and Premium features adding even more to a decent interior and spec package (http://www.hyundai.com.au/vehicles/i40-sedan/specification-range) the i40 really is a great and fun car to have in the garage.