Hyundai has embarked on the next stage of its evolution with the UK launch of the D-segment i40 Tourer, the first of a wave of new products.

Over the next 18 months there will be 13 new or revised models from the South Korean brand, by which time the ix35 will be the oldest car in a line-up; it was only introduced in April last year.

The i40 Tourer, or wagon or estate, goes into the showrooms early next month and a four-door saloon will follow later in the year. The Tourer is available in three trim levels (Active, Style and Premium) with the choice of three engines, four power outputs and manual or automatic transmission. Hyundai’s Blue Drive technologies – including stop-start – are fitted as standard on all Active derivatives, and on the Style 1.7 CRDi 136PS Blue Drive model to give CO2 emissions of 119 g/km.

In a segment where diesel models represent 77% of total sales, Hyundai is anticipating that the ‘high-power‘ 136PS 1.7-litre diesel will be the most popular engine among both private and fleet buyers. The petrol unit is a new I4 two-litre GDI engine.

Hyundai UK boss Tony Whitehorn described the i40 as a new “brand ambassador” showing that the South Korean company has come of age in terms of style.

He said: “It’s an estate car but it doesn’t look it – the look is dynamic but it is still a very capable load carrier.”

Hyundai is specifically targeting the fleet market with the i40. More than 70% of D segment buyers are fleets and Whitehorn said the automaker has an attractive proposition starting with a lead-in price of just under GBP18,400, 13% benefit in kind [tax liability for company car drivers], low insurance and class leading contract hire rates.

Whitehorn added: “The brand has been evolving over the past few model introductions. The first step change was the i30 which was our first European-designed vehicle, and this was followed by the i10 and i20.

“The next step was the ix35 which brought more style and emotion to Hyundai, now we are into stage three with the launch of the i40 Tourer which will be followed by the saloon and the Veloster later in the year.”

Hyundai previewed its redesigned i30 this week, too.