It seems our Hyundai i40 Tourer has been impressing quite a few people recently, as it has just been announced as a finalist for Best Estate Car in the 2012 Fleet News Awards.
Other finalists include some pretty illustrious fleet company, such as the Ford Focus estate, Peugeot 508SW, Skoda Superb Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Volkswagen Passat estate.
Whatever the results are on awards night (March 21st), the fact that the i40 is being considered alongside brands that are so heavily embedded in the market is a huge achievement and testament to Hyundai’s hard work to create a quality product.
Fleets aren’t the only market being won over either, as AM, Fleet News’ sister title for the vehicle dealer market, has just announced Hyundai as Carmaker of the Year.
At the awards, one senior dealership figure commented: “If I was recommending one brand for dealers to take on at the moment, it would be this one..”, as he pointed out Hyundai in the awards shortlist.
Away from the glitz and glamour of awards ceremonies, the i40 Tourer has been living a more mundane existence, sampling the wonder of Britain’s motorway network as I travel between increasingly frequent meetings and presentations.
So far, it has been a solid performer in every area, from fuel economy to comfort and practicality.
The i40 does lack the sense of occasion some manufacturers try to build into their cars, such as Saabs pretending to be planes, or other brands sounding a fanfare just because you started the engine, but it does try in some areas, such as the oversized electronic clock on the central console. However, in my view, I prefer understated to overrated.
Fuel economy for our Bluedrive model remains in the mid-50s mpg, helped in part by the engine stop/start system. The savings are limited though, particularly as the engine seems to restart automatically after about 90 seconds, which limits its value.
For some reason, the fuel economy meter only goes up to 50mpg, with both lacks ambition and makes it a bit pointless when cruising.
The reversing camera is also only of limited use, as it is just as easy to park by using mirrors and the reversing sensors as it is trying to match up the multi-coloured lines on the screen in a very dull automotive version of a video game.
My only other gripe is the colour. Grey may be business-like, but I don’t think it makes the most of the car’s lines, particularly if it is going to be gracing the red carpet at awards ceremonies.
Given the choice, I think I would opt for Red Awesome Pearl or Blue Spirit Pearl, having looked at the Hyundai website. Mind you, Blue Ocean from the Veloster or Sparkle Blue from the i20 would probably work too.
This may look different in the metal, so to be certain, a visit to the local Hyundai dealer may be called for. After all, if you are going to be a winner, you have to dress to impress.
By John Maslen