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Driven: Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi. Image by Hyundai.

Driven: Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi
The Fastback becomes the fourth addition to the Hyundai i30 range.

 



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Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi

3 3 3 3 3

Hyundai has added a sportier looking hatchback to the i30 range, and the Fastback definitely has more head-turning appeal than the standard hatchback. It also gets lowered suspension that Hyundai claims adds a sharper edge to the way the car drives. But is that enough to boost the Fastback's appeal?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Hyundai i30 Fastback 1.4 T-GDi Premium SE manual
Price: 25,155 (as tested)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
Combined economy: 49.6mpg
Top speed: 129mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Power: 140hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 242Nm at 1,500rpm

What's this?

Blurring the lines between hatchback and saloon, the new Hyundai i30 Fastback casts something of a unique silhouette in the hard-fought compact hatchback segment. You can already get the i30 in a traditional five-door hatchback form (which is also available as the searing i30 N hot hatch), and should you require more cargo space there's the i30 Tourer estate. Now the Korean brand is slipping in another model in between.

There is more to the i30 Fastback than merely a grafted on boot extension. Yes, the luggage capacity does increase, but only by a modest 55 litres, bringing the total space up to 450 litres. The ride height has come down by five millimeters, too, and the Fastback sits on springs that are 15 per cent stiffer than the regular hatchback. It's all part of Hyundai's plan to further differentiate the new model - you can even get the Fastback badge on the rear in a (very) Porsche-like script.

However, inside the Fastback is very similar to the rest of the i30 range. The design is good, but you won't have to go searching far before you find some hard plastics. Still, Hyundai does equip the i30 Fastback with decent levels of equipment. There's plenty of practical features, too. The sloped roofline doesn't impinge on the rear headroom in comparison to the regular i30, but it is still a bit tight for whoever draws the short straw and lands the middle rear seat.

How does it drive?

Our initial experience behind the wheel of the smaller-engined 1.0-litre i30 Fastback didn't leave a great impression. The smaller engine has adequate power for the car, especially if you're sticking mainly to urban driving. Even though it felt composed in bends, thanks in part to that stiffer suspension, the ride quality overall was busy, with the car never seeming to settle, regardless of surface condition.

In contrast, the 1.4-litre version delivers a markedly better driving experience, despite both cars having similar suspension setups that include a multi-link arrangement in the rear. The slight adjustments in calibration and weight difference of the larger engine seem to have a bigger effect than one might expect. While we still question the need for Hyundai to try to convey a sportier characteristic by stiffening the springs, the suspension remains soft enough to the point that few will think of it as sporty.

On paper, there is little to set the 1.0 and 1.4 T-GDi apart. The latter unit tested here develops 140hp, whereas the smaller 1.0-litre engine still churns out 120hp. In driving the two back-to-back, there are more characteristic differences, namely with the 1.0 T-GDi demonstrating a typical three-cylinder thrum and feeling a bit perkier than the four-pot engine.

At higher speeds the i30 Fastback has enough refinement to make longer journeys comfortable. The noise levels in the cabin are a little lower with the larger engine not having to work as hard. The four-cylinder doesn't have the same degree of responsiveness as its three-cylinder counterpart, so going for overtakes requires giving a bit more notice.

With an electrically-adjustable driver's seat from mid-level models and up, and steering that can be set for height and reach, it's easy to find a comfortable driving position. The view ahead is helped by A-pillars that aren't too thick, but the rearward vision is more limited due to the nature of the tailgate design.

Verdict

While the i30 Fastback covers most aspects of driving well, it doesn't excel in any one area. Its creators, and those charged with marketing the car may allude to it having a more dynamic edge over the hatchback, but in reality, the modest drop in ride height goes almost unnoticed. As a quasi-saloon, it offers a good combination of cargo and passenger space for its size and remains, for now, somewhat unique in the segment.

3 3 3 3 3 Exterior Design

3 3 3 3 3 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Dave Humphreys - 2 Mar 2018









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2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.

2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback drive. Image by Hyundai.








 

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