IT’S amazing to think the i40 arrived on these shores five years ago. Hyundai’s European flagship has aged very gracefully and the Tourer’s interesting lines (referred to as ‘fluidic sculpture’ by straight-faced Hyundai execs) still attract admiring glances from passers-by.

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That’s because it was designed by Europeans (at Russelsheim, in Germany) and extensively tested on European roads before it went on sale. As a result of such strong regional input it looks classy and contemporary - a shape that’s more than good enough to banish memories of the soggy old Sonata.

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The i40 is a direct competitor to the Mondeo, the Passat and the newly introduced Vauxhall Grand Sport. But are the i40’s impressive good looks and a class-leading five year warranty package enough to keep it relevant?

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ON THE ROAD: You’d have to be a real fan to notice the exterior changes which amount to updated front and rear lamps, a different hexagonal grille, a new front bumper, and LED fog lamps. Oh and some new 16 and 18-inch alloy wheel designs too. Luckily for Hyundai there was never anything wrong with the i40’s looks.

Of more interest is what’s going on beneath the skin where there are new technologies designed to make the car more fun to drive. Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC) uses electronic sensors to emulate the behaviour of a limited-slip differential during cornering, providing additional traction, better grip and improved handling. The i40 Tourer also gets Rear Electronic Damping Control System (ECS) which allows you to fiddle with the suspension settings via the drive mode selector, stiffening the damping for fast road work and softening it for motorway cruising.

The i40 is available with two Euro 6-compliant 1.7-litre diesel power units offering 115 PS and 141 PS respectively. The unpopular 1.6 and 2.0 petrols have been quietly withdrawn.

A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available for the upgraded 1.7-litre diesel engine with 141 PS. The test car arrived with the standard six-speed manual but this proved to be no drawback as the change is super slick.

Apart from a brief grumble from cold the 1.7-litre engine is quiet and smooth. It feels at its best on the motorway where the i40 Tourer is a very capable cruiser. At 70 mph engine noise barely intrudes and the chassis settles into a soothing rhythm. There’s plenty of grunt in reserve for overtaking and tackling motorway inclines too.

In town the i40 acquits itself well for a large car. The steering is light and the car responds keenly to inputs. The suspension sometimes fails to deal with high frequency bumps, setting up a judder through the steering, although potholes and expansion joints rarely trouble the cabin.

ON THE INSIDE: The interior is well put together from quality materials. Although the materials chosen are largely black or dark greys Hyundai has attempted to lift the ambience with a strip of brushed metallic plastic which runs through the doors and across the fascia. The swoopy curves add visual interest to an otherwise straightforward design.

Slip behind the wheel and make yourself comfortable in the perforated leather seats. From the driver’s seat you are greeted by two analog instruments. Sitting within the rev counter and speedometer are two smaller LCD clocks which show the engine temperature and fuel reserve. Between the two main instruments is a small colour screen which displays messages and information from the trip computer.

The leather trimmed steering wheel has buttons for audio volume, station seek, cruise control, lane deviation warning, voice control and telephony.

Moving on to the middle of the fascia, the climate control sticks with simple buttons and a twirly knob for the fan speed adjustment.

Inputs for a smartphone or USB device are hidden beneath behind a flap just ahead of the gear lever. This makes it easy to conceal connection wires when you are away from the car.

Space in the back is very good with lots of knee, elbow and headroom. The extended roof line makes the estate version more practical than the saloon.

Passengers in the back get their own air vents and a 12V accessory socket for powering tablets or smartphones.

WHAT DO YOU GET: The test vehicle was fully loaded with equipment. As well as all the usual electric windows, power steering, remote mirrors etc. you get a double-sized glass sunroof, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android smartphone compatibility, plus heated leather seats front and back.

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The infotainment unit responds instantly to your touch input and the smartphone integration is very straightforward. The satellite navigation solution uses clear high resolution maps and gives turn-by-turn voice instructions (although on occasion it can be a bit late to the party when telling you when to turn left or right). It’s good to see a DAB tuner for future proofing and inputs for USB sticks and MP3 players. It would have been nice to find a couple of USB ports but I suppose that’s being picky.

HOW PRACTICAL IS IT?

The Tourer has a 553 litre boot space with the back seats in position. That’s not a lot more than the saloon, which boasts 525 litres, but cargo capacity with the seat backs folded down increases to an impressive 1719 litres.

The automatic opening tailgate is a boon if you have armfuls of shopping. It can be triggered from the key fob.

Along with the generous boot space, the i40’s cabin has several practical touches including a handy centre storage console with a pull out trinket tray, usefully-sized door bins in the front and back and a drop-down centre console between the rear seats.

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RUNNING COSTS: Running costs are low. On the motorway you can expect almost 60 mpg and even in town you shouldn't have much trouble recording 50 mpg. The engine is fully Euro IV compliant - the toughest EU legislative requirement there is - so you need have no fears about diesel pollution charging.

A generous fuel tank size means the i40 can travel more than 600 miles between fill ups. Integrated Stop & Go (ISG), an alternator management system, and active front flaps help to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

VERDICT: Better-looking and more versatile than a crossover, the i40 Tourer is at its best cruising the motorway when its long wheelbase and relaxing mien make it a very pleasant place to spend time. Hyundai’s pricing structure is very competitive, too, and the i40 looks conspicuously good value compared to rivals from Ford and Volkswagen.

Hyundai i40 Tourer CRDi SE Nav.

Price: £24,385.

SPEC: Engine:1.7-litre/four-cy/turbodiesel Power: 141 PS Torque: 340 Nm Top speed: 124 mph 0-62mph: 10.5 seconds Fuel cons: 56 mpg on test CO2: 114g/km