In years gone by, my father-in-law was known as the ” Coupé King, ” with a range of coupé’s that included in the 1970’s a VW Scirocco & Ford Capri & in the 1980’s & 90’s a Toyota Supra & BMW 3 Series. In fact, he still has a coupé, a 1997 BMW 840, which gets the occasional airing. What all of these have in common is that they are two-door cars with hatch or boot & all are what most of us would consider a coupe to be. However, in recent years the term coupé has come to refer to any car that looks coupé -like, such as the Audi A5 Sportback & BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé , both of which offer 4 doors & a hatchback. These models though are in the premium sector, where difference is popular. Could a volume brand launch a similar looking model at a much lower price, that could be considered a coupé ?
Step forward then Hyundai, who have added a five door coupé to their i30 range & called it the Hyundai i30 Fastback. The i30 Fastback arrived at Company Car & Van Towers & immediately caused a stir. With all due respect to the i30 hatchback, excepting the N version, the Fastback is miles better looking, with a longer, lower profile & a sexy integrated rear spoiler. I also really liked the Fastback lettering on the rear.
At the front, the Fastback appears lower & wider than the hatchback version & from the side too, the lower profile – the Fastback sits 5mm lower – adds to this. Step inside & the familiar Hyundai/KIA interior welcomes you, with the 8″ touchscreen dominating the centre of the dash. Like all Hyundais, my Fastback Premium model came well equipped.
All models in the range; SE Nav, Premium & Premium SE, get Autonomous Emergency Braking, Front Collision Warning & Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist & Driver Attention Alert. All cars also get Bluetooth & air-con, 8” touchscreen with SatNav, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. My test car Premium featured dual-zone climate control, electronically adjustable driver’s seat, LED headlights, an electric parking brake, front & rear parking sensors, cloth & artificial leather upholstery, automatic windscreen wipers, Blind Spot Detection System, 18″ alloys, privacy glass & a Smart key. It’s all screwed together well, looks & feels built to last & features some good quality soft touch plastic & finishes.
Uo front, both front seat passengers have plenty of head & legroom & there’s ample drinks & odds & sods storage with a good sized glove box, two decent sized door pockets & twin cup holders in the centre binnacle behind the gear stick. In the rear though, there’s a definite lack of headroom. I sat behind the drivers seat adjusted for me, I’m 5ft 8″ & legroom is fine. However, the sloping coupe roof, takes headroom away in spades & my head touched the liner. I don’t think anyone taller than me would find this acceptable especially on longer journeys.
The boot though is pretty impressive, offering 450 litres of storage, 55 up on the hatch, although the Fastback does have a relatively high lip to negotiate getting stuff in or out. The rear seats do fold flat in a 60/40 split to extend the load bay, which leaves a really useful completely flat floor.
There are two engine option for your Fastback. A 1.0 litre petrol turbo or the 1.4 petrol we tried in manual guise. The 1.4 140PS engine offers up 240Nm’s & is a fine motorway companion. It’s not quick though, rather steady when accelerating, with a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds. Combined fuel economy is 49.6mpg, with CO2 emissions of 134g/km. After a week of driving on a varying degree of roads, 75% of which was motorways, we averaged 39.8 mpg. We also ran the tank dry in just under 300 miles, something unthinkable in a diesel offering similar performance & something diesel drivers should be aware of.
The ride quality in the Fastbacks actually very good. Like the I30 hatch, the chassis does most of the basics pretty well & longer journeys are comfortable. The 18″ alloys add a bit of style, but the trade-off is a bumpy ride over bad roads & tyre roar on wet motorways. The steering is okay, if a little slow to respond & when entering or exiting corners, the Fastback stays flat on the road & drives true to the line you take.
As a man who likes a hatchback, just in case I need to visit the tip, the i30 Fastback leaves me in bit of a quandary. I love the way it looks & up front it’s a comfortable place to be. It’s also well equipped, attractively priced, with the Premium starting at £22,235 & does a really good job of looking, well, like a coupé. On the downside, rear headroom is poor & neither petrol engine really excites like you’d expect a coupe to do, although I’m sure the N version will address this one.
Choosing the i30 Fastback over the conventional hatchback, has it’s benefits, not least an inner calm from knowing that despite a couple of faults, the i30 Fastback is actually a really attractive car & if like me your shallow, this may be enough fir you to choose one.
A Coupé 3/5.