Review: Hyundai i30

Review: Hyundai i30
Review: Hyundai i30

Has this third-generation family hatchback been improved enough?

Since 2007 Hyundai has been trying to fill as much of the family hatchback market as it can with the i30. Now, with a third-generation car, Hyundai is trying to run with the best. The result is a car with more rigidity, less weight, more size, a lower ride height and the promise of a better, quicker driving experience.

This is a seriously crowded, competitive area of the marketplace, and trying to stand out is hard. Looks are a subjective thing, but it might be a hard argument to make that the new i30 is a stand-out looker.

Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium

i30_international_launch_019_0

Price £22,195
Engine 4cyl, 1353cc, turbocharged, petrol
Power 138bhp at 6000rpm
Torque 178lb ft at 1500rpm
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Kerb weight 1352kg
Top speed 130mph
0-62mph 8.9sec
Economy (official) 52.3mpg
CO2/BIK tax band 124g/km, 21%

However, there is a new engine on offer, currently the quickest in the line-up. The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder has 138bhp but to match the 0-62mph time of just under nine seconds you’d have to do some serious violence to the engine and transmission.

It’s the usual Hyundai product, a sensible, decent engine that works best when you keep away from the performance edges. After all, isn’t that how most people drive their cars every day anyway? The six-speed gearbox is smooth enough and there’s decent torque, so maintaining sensible progress is easy and remarkably quiet.

Another reason not to start thrashing it is that the handling won’t really cope with you going ape. The controls generally feel quite heavy and steady and that’s how it is. The handling lets you lollop along quite comfortably but you soon learn not to start getting carried away.

i30_international_launch_029

From the cabin perspective this actually works quite well, as Hyundai has worked hard to keep things quiet and comfortable inside, so there is little noise intrusion from everything from engine to suspension. The materials and fit seem good and it’s as solid as you’d expect from Hyundai.

We quite liked the new eight-inch infotainment screen, but Hyundai doesn’t seem to have trusted it much so there is a bewildering array of switches to play with on the dashboard instead. However, you get plenty of kit to choose from and this Premium spec comes with quite a few bells as well as whistles.

i30_international_launch_022_0

Overall the i30 is like the cabin in that it offers a lot for the money, and it’s all comfy and sensible enough. Compared to the last generation, it’s a better car, being more refined, better handling and with better performance from the new engine. If you just compared this to the last one you’d be happy enough.

But this isn’t operating in isolation and, compared to some of the competitors like say the Vauxhall Astra, the i30 is a way off providing an enjoyable driving experience. How much that counts against its undoubted and sensibly priced attractions is very much down to the individual.

i30_international_launch_012_0

 

Review: Volkswagen Polo

It’s a sad fact of life that as we get older we tend to, well, expand. To put on a few pounds and spread out a bit more than we once

Review: Suzuki Ignis Adventure

Limited-edition version of Suzuki’s funky mini-SUV focuses on cosmetic add-ons rather than concrete dynamic improvementsIn the list of

Review: Peugeot 208 GTi

This hot hatch is the most extreme version of the 208If you’re in the market for a hot hatch, then the Peugeot 208 GTi deserves a look,

Group test: Used Honda CR-V v Used Mazda CX-5 v Used Subaru Forester

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE Navi auto (3 stars) Engine size: 1.6-litre diesel List price when new: £30,520 Price today: £17,500* Power: