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Rising to a new Hy.. The i40 Tourer is a quality car at a competitive price that should see even more people buying into the Korean brand, argues STEWART SMITH.

Byline: STEWART SMITH

IN recent years, Hyundai have gone from being makers of cheap and cheerful motors to offering stylish and quality products.

And the Korean company's latest offering, the sleek i40 Tourer, on sale in September, can only take the brand up another notch.

The i40 has sweeping sculpted lines, slim windows and a low stance that give it the appearance of a much more up-market, sporty motor.

I hadn't seen the i40 until I arrived in Norway for the model's European debut.

It's not often that I instantly like the look of new models but the i40 is a real head-turner.

It doesn't only look the business, it handles and drives almost as well as some competitors in the same sector that cost considerably more.

Hyundai say they are majoring on three guiding principles: price, quality and emotion. And in the i40, the car makers have got it bang on.

The i40 estate will be up against the likes of the Ford Mondeo, VW Passat, Vauxhall Insignia and Citroen C5, which are all more expensive. And the Hyundai comes loaded with equipment which makes it even more desirable.

Power for the i40 Tourer comes from a choice of three engines - a 1.6 or 1.7-litre diesel, or a 2.0-litre petrol.

Transmissions are six-speed manual and six-speed automatic.

Hyundai UK say the 1.7-litre 136bhp is set to be the best seller and, having driven petrol and diesel models, that's likely to be spot on.

The oil-burner is quiet and refined, and fuel consumption for the 136bhp unit is claimed at 55mpg and CO2 emissions are low at 119 g/km.

Peformance-wise, there is a top speed of 124mph and a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds.

Designed for the European market at Hyundai's German research and development HQ in Russelsheim, the new tourer's interior is impressive.

There is loads of room for driver and passengers, with quality soft plastic panels and nice touches of brushed aluminium features.

Seating is comfortable and I like the clarity of the dials and switches.

Load space is huge - ranging from 553 litres with the rear seats occupied, up to 1719 litres with the rear seats folded.

I found that all-round visibility was good and a comfortable driving position was easily attainable, with several seating adjustments to choose from.

The car handled extremely well, with the suspension soaking up the few bumps I did encounter on Norway's excellent roads. The i40 Tourer will be available in three trim levels - Active, Style and Premium.

And the equipment level is impressive, even on the entrylevel model.

Features include 16in alloys, seven airbags, air con, anti-lock brakes, automatic headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows and heated door mirrors.

The list goes on - with a brake assist system, electronic parking brake and automatic hold function, front fog lights, hill-start assist, steering wheel audio controls, radio/CD player, trip computer and more.

The entry level Active GDi Blue Drive comes in at pounds 18,395, with the top-range 1.7 CRDi 135bhp Auto at pounds 25,895.

Hyundai are on target this year to sell 64,000 cars in the UK, which will make their market share 3.3 per cent, up from just 1.8 per cent in 2008.

They appear to be on the up and, if they continue to make such stylish, well-built, new models, I can only see them taking a bigger market share.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 22, 2011
Words:571
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