New Hyundai i30 Hatchback

From £15,795

Gearbox

Automatic or Manual

Seats

5

Doors

3 - 5

Boot size

500 litres

The Auto Trader verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
3.6
The i30 is not short of appeal, especially if you value comfort over dynamic prowess. It’s not the most engaging thing to drive, however, and it’s certainly not what you’d consider eye-candy, thanks to its styled-by-committee, Euro-box shape. That said, it’s well-equipped, spacious, attractively priced, and comes with the reassurance of a five-year/unlimited mileage, no-quibble warranty. Unfortunately, the i30 is far from a pace setter. It’s nowhere close to the last word in quality or driving pleasure, and we could probably think of at least half a dozen rivals that do almost everything the i30 does, and a whole lot more besides.

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • Well-equipped
  • Frugal engines

Cons

  • Safe but uninspiring handling
  • Generic styling lacks identity
  • Some cheap interior plastics

Full review

By Pete Tullin   Friday 27 January 2017
2017 Hyundai i30

Exterior
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The acknowledged master of the family hatchback and default choice of the middle classes is the Volkswagen Golf, which probably goes a long way to explaining why the latest i30 has been styled to look as much like its Germanic rival as possible. Gone are the previous i30’s organic side swathes and extravagant gaping grille, and in come neater, more geometric lines, including a pinched waist line that runs the length of the car, and a front-end that features a conservative, honeycombed grille. There’s also a pair of meaty air ducts in the front bumper housing two banks of distinctive LED daytime running lights. All models roll on alloy wheels, but adding the optional Visibility Pack adds dual LED headlights and boosts the alloy size to a wheel arch-stuffing 17-inches.

Interior
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

Unfortunately, the quality of some of the materials used in the i30’s cabin undermines its credentials as a true Golf rival. The steering wheel is probably the most obvious item that lets the side down. Moulded and trimmed from some pretty basic materials and punctuated by switches that look and feel like they’ve been lifted from a discount electrical warehouse, the overall feel and appearance falls way short of the kinetic work of art that you use to steer a Golf. What’s more, while we’re prepared to forgive the scratchy quality of some parts of the dashboard, the plastic panels that locate the interior door handles look as if they’ve bypassed the production line finishing process. Even basic models come with a multi-function display for the centre console, but you’ll need SE Nav trim to get the larger eight-inch infotainment screen that gives you 3D sat-nav maps, live traffic alerts, and points of interest information. While both the front door pockets, glovebox, and centre armrest bin are a decent size, there’s also a handy place in front of the gearshifter to store and charge your smartphone, providing your device will support inductive charging. Although the seats are comfortable, they lack some support, and because our top-end test car was fitted with skiddy leather, we ended up giving them an extra polish every time we came across a tight corner.

Practicality
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

A heated windscreen is standard on every i30, which is an absolute godsend on frosty mornings; helping you to stay snug inside while your neighbours are dancing around in the cold with the ice scraper. There’s a decent amount of room inside the i30 and even without the benefit of a tape measure, we’d be willing to bet it matches the vast majority of its rivals to the millimetre for interior space. While there’s plenty of head-, leg- and elbow-room, front and rear, the transmission tunnel running down the centre of the car is quite shallow, so foot space for those travelling in the middle rear seat is far less compromised than in many rivals. As is the norm in this class, the rear seats split fold 60/40 and the step in the boot when the seats are folded isn’t too obtrusive. With the seats back in place, at 395 litres the boot wins the bragging rights over a Golf, but that said, if your priority is load carrying, you’ll be better served by a Skoda Octavia.

Ride and handling
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

Just as with its interior dimensions, the i30 meets the class norm for weight, but it feels considerably heavier. There’s a fair amount of body roll when cornering, and when the weight of the car pitches onto the outside wheels it produces quite a bit of tyre roar. Much of the i30’s lethargy is down to the way its electric steering and soft suspension works. Using weight to suggest feel, this steering heaviness is compounded by the suspension, and the varying amount of weight hung over the i30’s front wheels. Effectively, the heavier the engine, the slower the i30 reacts, and this explains why the hefty diesel-engined car feels so sluggish, and accounts for why the lightweight 1.0-litre, three-cylinder car is the sweetest driving i30. Regardless of powertrain, get the i30 heading down a motorway, and its cushy suspension really comes into its own. Floating over bumps, it feels relaxed, securely planted and exceptionally comfortable. Unfortunately, it’s not as snug as it is comfortable. Quite possibly, the door seals on our test car were poorly fitted – certainly the driver’s door took several attempts to close – but we were surprised by the high levels of wind-noise that forced their way into the cabin at 70mph.

Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The engine line-up starts with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol unit, which is also found in the i20 supermini. It’s only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, but it clearly stands out as the sweet point in the i30 range. In everyday driving conditions it’s willing, emits an engaging three-cylinder thrum, and delivers eager performance. That said, if you regularly carry a couple of passengers, it can feel a wee bit short on puff, especially when encountering drawn out inclines. If this applies to you, you will be better served by the 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. This larger capacity engine pulls with much greater gusto and delivers plenty of mid-range pull. It does get a bit noisy towards the top end of the rev range, but when fitted with the 7-speed automatic transmission, it’s very keen to quick-shift through the gears, so seldom is the engine allowed to stray above its comfort zone. This is all well and good for fuel consumption and noise reduction, but the gearbox can all too often be caught out in general driving conditions. More than once, we found ourselves stuck in too high a gear with limited access to acceleration when trying to coax our way onto busy roundabouts. There’s also a 110bhp, 1.6-litre diesel engine, which because of its low emissions and taxation implications will clearly be of interest to business user-choosers. Although we’ve yet to drive this engine, we have driven a more powerful version of the same motor, and although performance seemed quite sedate, it was impressively quiet.

Running costs
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Although we’ve yet to drive it, the 108bhp diesel-engined car is claimed to return a combined consumption of 74.3 mpg with CO2 emissions of 99g/km, so it will no doubt go down well with fleet users and fleet managers, alike. Given the exorbitant price of fuel these days, it’s encouraging that even the least efficient engine, the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol, manages 52.3mpg, while the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol officially returns 56.5mpg.

Reliability
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The outgoing i30 has proved to be a tough and durable motorcar, and the new one makes use of many of that car’s mechanical components. Hyundai generally has an excellent reputation for reliability and robust construction, so we can see no reason why the latest i30 should stray from this excellent track record. Five years of roadside assistance and vehicle health checks are included with the standard, fully transferable, unlimited-mileage warranty.

Safety
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The previous i30 was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash test result, with 90% for both adult and child occupant protection categories. Active safety elements include six airbags, hill assist systems, electronic vehicle stability management, and brake lights which flash during an emergency stop. The i30 also comes with autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detector, lane-keep assist, rear-cross traffic alert, and traffic sign recognition. Don’t go thinking Hyundai has gone all charitable on us, though, as most of these features are now required by Euro NCAP to ensure a five-star crash test rating.

Equipment
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The i30 range starts with the 1.0 T-GDi S, 6-speed manual, which comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a DAB radio with USB and aux connections, Bluetooth, steering wheel controls, and electric front and rear windows. SE cars adds 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, a 5-inch LCD touch-screen, rear parking assist, a rear view camera, and leather steering wheel. Really though, if you can afford it, you’ll be better off with an SE Nav model, as it brings more connectivity and comfort thanks to an integrated satellite navigation displayed on an 8-inch LCD touch-screen, voice recognition, wireless phone charging, and dual zone climate control. SE Nav specification is also the first trim level available with the 1.4 T-GDi 138bhp engine, and is available with a 6-speed manual, or 7-speed DCT transmission. From this point on, it’s a case of how much you want to spend. Premium trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, electronic parking brake with auto hold function, privacy glass, and heated front seats with faux leather/cloth covering that are electronically adjustable. Top-end Premium SE adds a panoramic sunroof, leather seats, and a heated steering wheel, but it’s very pricey.

Why buy?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The i30 is a decent all-rounder, although it doesn’t excel in any one area. Given the right road, it’s certainly comfortable and refined, so if all you do is run up and down motorways all day, you’ll have little to complain about. Go for a 1.0-litre manual car, and it’s undoubtedly a lot of car for the money. It should also prove utterly painless to own, with little to worry about, thanks to its comprehensive five-year warranty. Trouble is, there are a host of motors in this over-crowded, ridiculously completive class, that do everything the i30 does and more, including the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus, to name but three.

Our recommendations

From the range of the new Hyundai i30, these are the ones we suggest you look at

Pick of the range
1.0 T-GDi SE Nav
The nimblest car in the line-up and comes with excellent levels of kit.
Most economical
1.6 CRDi 110ps SE Nav
Light on the go-go juice and it’s well-equipped.
Best avoided
1.6 CRDi 110PS 5dr DCT Premium
A decent drive with the convenience of an auto gearbox, but with this top spec it’s just too pricey.
Choose your Hyundai i30
At Auto Trader, we have reviews from people who have owned this car and can inform you on what it's like to live with
Owners verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
4.4
Read owner reviews

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