Let’s be honest, there was a time when people only bought an Hyundai because it was value for money. It was the Lidl supermarket of the automotive world – alongside Kia and Proton.
Now, just like Lidl, the Korean company is thriving and we are buying loads of them, instead of stalwart favourites from Ford and Vauxhall.
The i40 goes today and we think it’s one of the best offerings from the Hyundai stable. Great to look at inside and out, practical, reliable and still relatively good value for money.
With a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, anyone looking for medium-sized family estate would be crazy not to take one for a test drive.
We have a SEAT Leon ST FR coming today – perhaps a good comparison for the Hyundai but with a more sporty edge…
Beeping cars – do we need them? Sounds like a good Tweet. It’s often American motors that have been designed for people who live their life surrounded by safety nets.
You know, cars that have phrases like ‘objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear’ stickers on them, or people who consciously note that a McDonald’s apple pie may have ‘contents that are hot’.
It seems the world is slipping towards a giant safety net to ensure corporations aren’t sued for building cars that ‘might run you over’ if you step out in front of them.
The i40 has it’s fair share of beep warnings. Most are linked to the keyless ignition and can be infuriating. I don’t need a car that tells me I have left the key inside, or in gear, or that I’m reversing too close to the car behind. I know, I can see it over my shoulder.
Where will we be in 50 years time I wonder? It could all be a beeping nightmare…
Just for a moment I thought the BMW 3 Series Touring was about to be toppled as my favourite, small family estate car. I was seduced by the lines and styling of the i40 – even prettier than the BMW I thought.
Unfortunately, while the Hyundai is an admirable performer, it just can’t compete with the 3 Series for performance and drivability. The BMW handles like a sports car and is exciting to drive – the i40 is lukewarm by comparison.
You might well expect this from a car that costs considerably less than the BMW but I just wish the Koreans could make a slightly quicker version, then I’d be seriously tempted to buy one.
As it is, the classy looks of the Hyundai aren’t matched by the engine under the bonnet. The 136bhp model we are testing reaches 60mph in 12 seconds, sluggish when compared to many of its key rivals…
September 6 Why is it we still have to mess about with car keys? Pretty much every vehicle Car Couture test these days either has keyless ignition – which means the little fob usually just stays in my pocket, or stashed in the centre console.
The downside is that it’s much easier to lose the bloody thing. Putting a key in the ignition means you know exactly where to find it, every time.
So when I couldn’t find the key to the i40 yesterday, there was the usual moment of headless chicken panic. You only discover a missing key when you actually need it after all.
i40 has keyless recognition, so at least I knew it wasn’t in the vicinity of the car. I’d worn three coats on Friday, so instead of searching through the pockets, all I had to do was bundle them all out to the car and see if the Hyundai ‘recognised’ them hidden in a pocket.
Nope. Thins were getting pretty desperate when I carried he kitchen bin out to the driveway, just in case the key had been accidentally lost in there. The Hyundai didn’t register a thing. Finally, having taken the dog tot he vet earlier, I hauled his basket out to the i40 et voila!
Tucked down inside was the key. Relief. Still, it can’t be long before we have fingerprint sensor pads or voice recognition to make it even easier…
September 5 My favourite estates are built by BMW. I’ve owned a string of 3 and 5 Series, brilliant cars that combine decent load space with great performance. They are sports cars with a large boot.
Yep, if it’s all about luggage capacity, go buy a Volvo. However, if you have children and still want to cut loose when they’re not in the car, there’s very little to rival the Beemer.
The i40 has just arrived at Car Couture and it looks every inch as good as the pictures. Better perhaps, because the interior is seriously cool. Imagine that – a Hyundai with a funky dashboard!
Looking at the spec sheet, it appears to have plenty of standard equipment as well. Even the entry model features alloys, Bluetooth, air con and auto lights and wipers. The Premium adds leather, panoramic sunroof and keyless entry.
The question is, will it drive anywhere near as good as the BMW – or is the i40 just a cheaper, poor imitation?
The Citroen range isn’t blessed with stylish cars. DS apart, the C6 and this C5 Tourer are the pick of the bunch.
And it’s a credit to the Citroen design team that our Tourer has remained pretty much the same since it was launched six years ago.
While it boasts 1500 litres of boot space, the low roof line means it isn’t the largest estate in this class. However, in the passenger cabin, there is plenty of room front and rear.
When the C5 is fully loaded, the hydropneumatic, self-levelling suspension, available on cars higher up the range, helps keeps everything on the straight and narrow.
If your car budget doesn’t stretch to a German estate then the C5 offers an interesting alternative to the everyday Ford Mondeo, VW Passat and Vauxhall Insignia.
While it may not be as much of an all-rounder as those three favourites, the Citroen is a load-lugger that at least looks different and gets kudos points for sleek styling.
Th problem with the top of the range Executive we have on test right now is that costing £30,000, it comes very close to costing as much as premium brand offerings from Mercedes, BMW and Audi.
However, the C5 Tourer is much more roomy inside than any of those rivals, with better leaf and headroom front and rear.
So, you pay your money and make your choice. Personally, I’m loving the C5 Tourer because it is just that little bit different. Would I rather have a Ford Mondeo on the driveway? What do you think!
I can’t help it – I like estate cars. They carry stuff around and I like practical, sometimes. Except these days they call them Tourers and Avants, which seems to make no sense at all.
The latest C5 is no exception but at least it now looks the part, with sleek lines and a huge interior that swallows up people and luggage.
It’s true that Citroen secondhand values may not be as good as German marques but you are getting a whole lot of car for your money in the first place.
The C5 is fully equipped, with air suspension, excellent seats and every gizmo going on the Exclusive model.
Are you going to choose a £30,000 French estate over a BMW or an Audi? Let’s see how we get on in the week ahead…