Here’s another sign of the new-found maturity of the Hyundai brand: the firm is now employing designers with the talent to create cars as handsome and contemporary looking as any in the mass market. The i40 is proof of that.

Unfortunately, they’re also the kind of designers who gush in largely meaningless terms about the inspiration behind their work. ‘Fluidic sculpture’ is how those designers describe the philosophy behind Hyundai’s current crop of cars.

Matt Saunders Terminalsecurity

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The i40 has its own, distinct visual identity

In the i40’s case, the creases in the bodywork are supposed to remind you of water flowing over rocks. The car’s headlights are inspired by “the eyes of a falcon”, they say, and the sculpted flanks by “desert sand dunes at dusk”. Both of these areas have been toned down significantly since the 2015 facelift, giving the i40 a subtler presence.

Leaving all of that nonsense to one side, what really matters is that the i40 has its own, distinct visual identity. European tastes have been taken into account, and Europe gets its own version of the car, designed and engineered for us and us alone.

Unusually, sales began with the five-door Tourer version, half-way between an estate car and a hatchback, but now a four-door saloon has joined the range.

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