Hyundais original i30 launched 10 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.
The Mk2, from 2012, was a big improvement, being better looking, better equipped & better to drive. With sister model the KIA cue’s it stole business in the sector mostly from the French cars as they struggle dot keep up. Five years on again & Hyundai have launched the third generation i30, which with the competition in it’s sector at an all time high, needs to be better again.
From the outside, the new i30 is off to a good start. This new i30 represents the brand’s new design language coming as it does with a new cascading grille, bold LED headlights & curved tail-lights all give the car a distinctive look.
There’s a good selection of trims & engines available across the range, with Hyundai sending us the 1.4 130 Premium petrol, which as tested retails at £22,780. For company car drivers, the smaller 1.0-litre petrol SE Nav could be the go to company car, ticking the fuel & C02 boxes. This petrol model returns 56.5mpg on the combined cycle, with 15g/km of CO2. That’s comparable to the better diesels – though with this petrol engine, of course, you’d escape the 3% BIK diesel surcharge for company car driver.
There is also a 1.6 diesel, which returns 74.3mpg on the combined cycle whilst emitting 99g/km of CO2, which should be the fleet choice, at least until the government decides to penalise diesel models anyway.
To keep up with the pack, the latest 130 comes with a host of safety kit on board. All cars getting Autonomous Emergency Braking, Front Collision Warning & Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist & Driver Attention Alert. All cars also get Bluetooth & air-con. SE models add extras such as a 5” touchscreen, rear parking sensors, electric folding door mirrors & chrome trim. SE Nav gets the bigger 8” screen with SatNav, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay while top-of-the-range Premium, my test car & Premium SE models include puddle lights, an electric driver’s seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, hand brake & gear knob S 17″ alloy wheels.
The entry-level 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder is currently only available in S, SE and SE Nav specs. The larger 1.4-litre petrol & 1.6-litre diesel are available across all specs apart from the basic S.
All cars get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic available as an option. It costs £1,000 to upgrade, without much in the way of efficiency compromises, perfect for city driving. All models feature Hyundai’s stop-start technology, which shuts off the engine in traffic. I found it to be as good as any I have tried.
There’s no problems 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. On a side road with bends, the i30 holds the road well & offers keen driving, as well as a 0-62 mph time of 8.9 seconds & a top speed of 130 mph. The ride is a little harsh over pot holes, but where it really shines is on the motorway where the 1.4 petrol engine is super-quiet. Both passenger & front drivers seats offer ample support & can be adjusted to fit as well.
Storage space inside the cabin is decent, with with a bin between the front seats, above average sized door pockets good enough for a bottle in each, plus storage ahead of the gear lever for placing your odds & ends, without them sliding about.
The new i30 measures 4.34m long by 1.8m wide. Good leg & head room up front is slightly spoiled by a cramped rear, where anyone over six-foot will struggle to get comfortable. I am five-feet- eight & with the driver’’s seat set in a position that was comfortable for me, my son who is six-feet tall did not have any leg room at all.
The 395-litre boot puts the Hyundai i30’s on a par with most of its rivals. That’s 15 litres more than offer in the Volkswagen Golf’s & 25 litres more than in the Vauxhall Astra. However, I recently drove the taxi-cabs favourite Skoda Octavia & I can see why, because it offers a mammoth 590-litres. Fold down the rear seats in the i30 though & you get a 1,301 litre capacity but that’s still almost 300 litres less than the Octavia, but to be fair, it’s bigger than what’s on offer in either the Astra or the Golf.
Like all Hyundai products, the new i30 gets a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, beating the class leading Volkswagen’s three-year, 60,000-mile offering.
Whilst the latest i30 looks good & drives well, like it’s KIA sibling the cee’d, it lacks the sparkle that can be found in amongst others the Mazda3, Vauxhall Astra & Peugeot 308. The materials used in the i30 just aren’t as good as those you’ll find inside a Golf, Focus or Mazda3. If you want more space then the SKODA Octavia is better too. 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 some of the competition, but overall, it’s not quite good enough for a top of the podium finish
A Johanna Konta 3/5.