Hyundai i30 Fastback (2018 - ) review
The Hyundai i30 Fastback offers more boot space than the hatchback, plus styling that blends hatchback and saloon into one. This makes it a real alternative to the more traditional hatchback alternatives such as the Toyota Auris, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.
Interested in buying a Hyundai i30?
How good does it look?
The i30 Fastback blurs the lines between hatchback and fully fledged saloon, resulting in a five-door car that is a touch longer than most of its rivals. Of the eight colour choices, the darker shades best highlight the sculpted sides. Wrap-around tail lights and a boot lid that features a neat spoiler lip add to the Hyundai’s sporting looks. The front features Hyundai’s wide honeycomb grille and the Fastback gets a unique front bumper with different LED running lights to the hatchback. All i30 Fastback models come on either 17-or 18-inch alloy wheels depending on engine and specification. Both Premium and Premium SE versions get LED headlights, too. The overall look is modern and is distinctive.
What's the interior like?
From an ergonomic standpoint, the layout of the i30 Fastback’s interior works reasonably well. Both front seats are height-adjustable, with the driver’s seat benefiting from electrically-operated lumbar support. The multifunction steering wheel can be set for height and reach, too, though we aren't keen on the dashboard layout because there are way too many buttons. Nonetheless, all models feature an easy-to-use 8.0-inch infotainment touch-screen that comes loaded with satellite navigation. Aesthetically, the interior is more about function than form, and it is let down a tad by the quality of the materials used. The plastics look alright, but feel cheap to the touch. Finally, the shape of the rear window and height of the spoiler reduce rearward visibility, and there’s no wiper for the rear glass.
How practical is it?
One of the primary reasons for choosing the i30 Fastback over the regular hatchback will be its larger luggage capacity. The tailgate lifts to reveal a 450-litre boot, a modest increase over the 395 litres offered by the Hatch. That small increase makes it larger than most of its regular hatchback rivals', but loading bulky items isn’t helped by a high load lip and an opening that could be wider. The Skoda Octavia is better if you frequently carry big loads. Features like a separate storage area under the boot floor and easy-to-use 60/40 split fold rear seats help, however. Rear passenger space is on par with most of its competitors, but foot space for the middle occupant is restricted. Despite the sloped roof, the back door openings aren’t impinged upon and the doors open to a decent angle, which is useful when strapping little ones into their boosters or child seats.
What's it like to drive?
In a bid to make the i30 Fastback feel sportier than the regular Hatchback, Hyundai has stiffened up the suspension, but this has had a negative effect on how comfortable it is. Especially in the case of the 1.0-litre petrol model, things never quite settle down, and you’re jiggled up and down more than you’d like. Things do improve with the more powerful 1.4-litre petrol engine, because there’s more weight over the front end, which makes the suspension feel more settled. It performs best on a motorway cruise, soaking up surface undulations pretty well. And, although the Fastback doesn’t lean much in the corners, this isn’t the type of car that entices you to drive enthusiastically.
How powerful is it?
If you’re sticking mainly to urban commuting, then the 1.0-litre petrol engine should suffice. It comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox, which isn't the smoothest, but does have a nice light action, and so does the clutch pedal. If you fancy an automatic, you’ll need to choose the 140 horsepower 1.4-litre engine. It’s not a great deal more powerful, but it provides a quieter, smoother driving experience. It is mainly during longer drives that this shines through, settling right down to near-silence at motorway speeds. You will still need to drop down a gear for faster overtakes, but on the whole, it performs well.
How much will it cost me?
There is little difference between the two engines with it comes to fuel consumption. The 1.0-litre unit does score better with Hyundai quoting an average figure of around 54mpg, versus the 52mpg managed by the 1.4-litre automatic. It’s worth noting that wheel size does play a factor in the official figures, as the economy of the 1.4 falls to 50mpg when the i30 is fitted with the larger 18-inch alloy wheels. Correspondingly, the 1.0-litre model has the lowest CO2 emissions of 120g/km, while the manual version of the 1.4 has the highest, at 129g/km, rising to 134g/km with the 18-inch wheels. Hyundai offers owners fixed-price servicing plans to keep maintenance costs in check.
How reliable is it?
Hyundai has earned a good reputation for making cars that are durable, with the company frequently scoring highly in ownership surveys. The engines in the i30 Fastback also appear in many other cars in the Hyundai range. Like all new Hyundais, the i30 Fastback comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, on top of which there is five years of roadside assistance and five years of vehicle health checks included.
How safe is it?
The five-star Euro NCAP safety test score that the i30 Hatchback achieved also extends to the Fastback. All versions come with six airbags, driver attention alert and a lane-keep assist system to warn you when begin to drift out of your lane. The i30 also features two Isofix points in the rear for safely securing child seats. Hyundai’s autonomous emergency braking system is on hand to help mitigate low-speed collisions in traffic, and furthermore, the brake lights will flash during an emergency stop to warn those behind you of the heavy braking. On all models other than the base-level SE Nav model, there's also a useful blind spot detection system and rear cross traffic alert, too, which helps when reversing out from a parking space.
How much equipment do I get?
There are three trim levels in the i30 Fastback range, offering a greater amount of standard equipment than the hatchback variant of the i30. With the entry SE Nav trim, you get LED daytime running lights, manual air-conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter function and electric windows all around. There’s a good spread of in-car tech, too, such as the touch-screen display with satellite navigation, various Live Services and DAB radio. Smartphone users will be happy to see that all i30 Fastbacks get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity in addition to Bluetooth and a wireless charging pad, but only one USB port. Premium and Premium SE versions gain electrically adjustable heated front seats and dual-zone climate control.
If you fancy something a little different to the usual mid-size hatchback models, the i30 Fastback offers more distinctive styling and a larger boot. The i30 Fastback drives pretty well and is quite comfortable on the motorway, and you also get an excellent aftercare package. Even so, this remains a crowded segment of the market with lots of competition from established rivals like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf, all of which will probably remain more popular with buyers.