Hyundai i40 CRD Elite 2012 Review

Hyundai i40 CRD Elite 2012 Review

Packaging is important these days. We’re repulsed by the ugly and gravitate towards the beautiful. Today our sister publication NZ Classic Car had an authentic Lamborghini Miura in the studio for a photoshoot. The packaging is right: it says that you, too, could be in The Italian Job (though you’d want to avoid the bulldozer) and you’d better be ready for an existence fending off leggy supermodels.

The Hyundai i40, too, comes in some attractive package. It sits in my driveway, smirking, knowing it can do everything that the package says it can do. And more.

Let’s start with its

‘stationwagoniness’. It’s a new word I invented to describe a car that has the characteristics of a station wagon, predominantly being a bloody enormous boot and even more space when you fold the rear seats down. You won’t even find any references to stationwagoniness in Google, that’s how I know I invented it. In the boot you get a useful cargo net that hooks from the roof to stop things flying into the back of your passengers’ heads when using the ample braking power. The boot’s total space is an ample 553l with the seats up and 1719l with the seats down. It’s the seats up volume which is good (24l more than a Mazda6, 63l more than a Subaru Outback, although 12l less than a VW Passat)

The second item on the box will tout its sex appeal. Not many stationwagons have that much sex appeal. The Audi RS4 pulls it off. Some of BMW’s models look pretty cool. The i40 would have (in bold) on the box, as in ‘Now with added sex appea. It’s no Miura, but starting at the front there are the swoopy lines of the daytime running lights sparkling like diamantes. Follow that sleek shoulder line and the chrome window borders to the back and you’ll notice that the i40 looks like someone has squashed it down to make it look longer and sexier…not that longer is always sexier. Anyway, this doesn’t seem to affect the rear headroom at all as there’s plenty. It is arguably the best-looking Hyundai (although I like the i45, too).

The third item on the box would be the number of servings. The i40 is, for its size, a lightweight when it comes to drinking. For a big lad, it’s almost a relative teetotaler. So, you get a lot of servings (journeys, if you’re not following my analogy) every time you fill up the car. It’ll average around 6l/100km from the 1.7-litre turbodiesel, without compromising too much on overtaking performance. There’s always a sport mode if you want to extract the maximum from the 100kW and 320Nm of torque available.

The six-speed automatic is very smooth. A nice touch is the combined cruise control and speed limiter. It would be more useful if you could accurately set the speed. This, plus the stereo and answering your phone (if you’ve connected it using Bluetooth) are controlled by buttons adorning the steering wheel.

The stereo itself sounds OK and you can connect your iPod or other auxiliary device. Its functions are visible through a slightly dated-looking blue LCD. While this matches the interior ambience and instrumentation of the car (along with the LCD for the dual climate control), I would have expected some nicer graphics and a better screen.

I had the i40 during the first cold snap of the autumn and the heated seats were excellent. They are electronically adjustable forwards/backwards, up/down, plus the lumbar support and seat back can be moved, too. The position can be saved if you have more than one person using the car.

Hyundai is touting the i40 as one of the safest cars on the market. Nine airbags mean that in an accident you will be encompassed almost entirely by inflatable life-savers – that’s if the multitude of electronics for traction control, stability control, ABS and more can’t help you out of the situation.

On the downside (and it’s not much), it’s really just the rearward visibility and a few minor styling issues that were noticeable to me. The reversing camera positioned in the rear view mirror and eight proximity sensors help you in tight spaces, and while some of the styling could be modernised slightly, it does all work well together.

Overall, if someone gave me a box that said i40 CRD Elite on it I would be very pleased with it. I would be even more pleased if it was the Limited version because it would come with a panoramic glass roof, ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel and more. However, this model has a list of features so long it’s impossible to mention them all in one article without it sounding like a list. As marketing gets slicker, many of the items we purchase aren’t truly reflected by their packaging. The i40 is, though.

Price: range starts at $44,990. This model is $53,990


  • The formula is right if you want sensible ‘stationwagonyness’ mixed with a bit of sexiness.


  • Poor general rear visibility (but at least it has an excellent reversing camera and sensors)
  • LCD for the radio/climate control is a bit dated


Transmission  /  Automatic

CC  /  1,685

Fuel Type  /  diesel

Power  /  100 kW / 4,000 rpm

Torque  /  320 Nm / 2-2,500 rpm

Length  /  4,770 mm

Width  /  1,815 mm

Height  /  1,470 mm

Towing Capacity Braked  /  1500

Towing Capacity Unbraked  /  700

Min. Turning Radius  / 5.45 m

Kerb Weight (lightest/heaviest)  /  1514 / 1659 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity  /  70 litres

Boot Capacity  /  553 litres (cargo only) / 1,719 l (rear seats folded) (VDA)

Wheel Base  /  2,770 mm

Tyres  /  Low roll resistant 225/45 R18

Fuel Consumption Combined  /  6.0 l/100km

Fuel Emissions  /  159 g/km


  • ABS braking with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) and BAS (Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control)
  • VSM (Vehicle Stability Management)
  • Cornering Brake Control
  • SRS driver and front passenger front airbags
  • SRS driver and front passenger side airbags
  • SRS dual rear passenger side airbags
  • SRS dual front-to-rear roof curtain airbags
  • SRS driver knee airbag system
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters
  • 3-point tether child seat anchor points
  • 3-point lap diagonal (ELR) rear centre seatbelt
  • Height adjustable seatbelts (front)
  • Reinforced chassis, with rigid cabin and crumple zones (front and rear)
  • Side impact beams and bars
  • Front and rear parking sensors


  • Leather seats
  • Rear seat 60:40 split folding function
  • Driver’s electric sliding, reclining and height adjustable seats, including 8-way seat adjustment
  • Height adjustable front and rear (left and right) Active headrests


  • Front passenger overhead console with dual map reading lights and sunglasses holder
  • Front passenger centre console with storage bin and dual cup holders
  • Glovebox cooling


  • Power windows with driver side safety window
  • Rear view camera
  • Proximity key and engine start / stop button
  • Integrated side repeaters
  • Electric Heated Mirrors
  • Cruise Control
  • Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
  • Paddle Shifters
  • Central locking with keyless entry, anti-theft alarm and engine immobiliser
  • Trip Computer
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel

Audio and climate

  • AUX & USB cable for external music devices and iPod®
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls including seek-and skip function
  • Integrated Bluetooth®
  • Premium AM/FM audio with 6 CD stacker, amplifier and subwoofer
  • Automatic Climate Control air-conditioning with interior pollen filter


  • 10 year / 200,000 km anti perforation corrosion body warranty
  • 3 year / 100,000 km mechanical warranty
  • 3 year / 100,000 km roadside assistance package


Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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