Hyundais original i30 launched 5 years ago, it could be argued was the first ‘ new ‘ Hyundai model to hit these shores that had been designed specifically for the European market. It was successful, particularly in the retail market, but it lacked both the quality & appeal of resident European leaders the Focus & Golf.
Five years on & in tandem with Kias new Ceed, Hyundai have made the i30 better. The i30’s certainly attractive. It has a sleeker modern profile then the previous model, with LED daytime running lightsmaking it stand out from the crowd & one could argue is better looking than the Focus & Golf. The interior, has been modernised & sharpened, with an attractive black & chrome dashboard, a steering wheel with audio & phone controls & a general improvement in the quality seen in the Mk 1. Standard equipment levels are also a high water mark on the 130, with cruise control, rear parking sensors, leather gear knob & steering wheel, as well as an air conditioned glove box.
There’s more room as well, with better head, shoulder & legroom than the Mk1 & a larger boot offering 378 litres with the seats up & 1,316 litres when they’re folded. My only criticism was that the quality of some of the fittings, still isn’t quite up to the standard of the Golf, Focus, or even the new smaller Peugeot 208, which I drove recently.
There’s no problems however, with the way the new i30 drives, with both city & motorway routes being comfortable, as well as fun. There are six gears to make the motorway easier & save you money at the same time. But, on a side road with bends, the i30 holds the road well & offers keen driving, as well as a 0-62 mph time of 11.5 seconds & a top speed of 115 mph.
Don’t be fooled by these pedestrian figures though, because it’s good to drive & with Stop/Start technology, the 1.6 diesel unit offers impeccable economy, with just 97g/km of CO2’s & a combined of 76.3 mpg. Interestingly, I managed almost 50 mpg in my week in the i30, which is pretty good for the way I drive.
Overall, there are major improvements over it’s predecessor which manage to get it closer to the best in class. There’s no doubting the fuel efficiency of the engine range, it handles well & it is very well equipped & being Korean, will no doubt be incredibly reliable. In all these areas it matches or even beats the class leading Golf & Focus, but it misses out on a top of the podium finish against these two, as the interior materials used in the i30 just aren’t as good as either the Golf & Focus. It’s well worth noting though, that the model I tested can be leased from £180 a month + vat, which when monthly costs are King, I can guarantee is a lot less than the equivalent Golf or Focus !
A Bronze medal 3/5