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First drive: Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.

First drive: Hyundai i30
Hyundai's stylish family hatchback gains even more mainstream appeal.

 



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| First Drive | High Wycombe, England | Hyundai i30 |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

Sharp looks, a smarter interior, plentiful standard equipment and a generous warranty make Hyundai's i30 a serious mainstream player, with mainstream prices...

Key Facts

Model tested: Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi 110 Active Blue Drive
Pricing: 17,995
Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: Five-door hatchback
Rivals: Ford Focus, Toyota Auris, Volkswagen Golf
CO2 emissions: 97g/km
Combined economy: 51.4mpg
Top speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 11.5 seconds
Power: 109hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 260Nm at 1,900- to 2,750rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Hyundai's march towards mainstream respectability is pretty much complete and the i30's styling exhibits that. Bold and confident, the i30 stands out from the mainstream norm, yet its sharp lines achieve this without looking brash and showy. Impressive stuff, which gives the Hyundai instant kerb appeal over many of its more conservatively styled rivals.

That confidence is carried over inside, where the differences are the greatest over its predecessor. The interior is now of a quality to match and better the majority of its mainstream rivals. It's not quite up to the lofty standards set by a Volkswagen Golf for tactility and fit and finish, but it's at least as good as Ford's Focus and far more interesting inside than Toyota's Auris. Spacious too, with decent head- and legroom front and back and a good shaped, accessible and large boot.

Driving it: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

The Blue Drive name is a clue that the i30's CRDi turbodiesel engine isn't going to be pushing out thumping power, but 110hp is respectable in this class, as is its 11.5-second 0-62mph time. Usefully, the 1.6-litre unit is smooth and refined, which, given it requires working fairly hard to keep it in its relatively narrow band of torque, is a good thing. You'll be busier on the motorway with the gearbox on inclines than you might be in rivals, but on the other side you'll also be impressed by the almost total lack of wind and engine noise. There's some tyre noise on poor surfaces, but on smoother tarmac the i30 is near silent in progress with refinement to rival the best in class Volkswagen Golf.

The suspension is tuned more for a comfortable ride than dynamic prowess, which is no bad thing in this marketplace. Those looking for the sharpness and agility of a Ford Focus will be disappointed, but for everyone else the Hyundai's supple ride will appeal. Oddly there's the option to change the electro-mechanical steering set up from Comfort, through Normal and onto Sport. Sport gets heavier, Comfort, lighter, Normal being normal, though in none is there much of the way of feel.

That Blue Drive specification brings stop-start to the i30, which allows it to achieve its tax and London Congestion Charge dodging 97g/km. It's quick acting - working even when the engine is still on its warm-up cycle - and quiet too.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

This Active specification might be the second trim choice out of four but being a Hyundai it's fairly well loaded with standard equipment. Air conditioning, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connection, LED running lights, alloy wheels and cruise control all feature on the standard list. As does that Flex Steer system - though we'd advise you to forget you've got it. As ever for private buyers Hyundai's five-year unlimited mileage warranty with roadside assist and annual 'health checks' adds weight to the i30's appeal.

Worth Noting

Hyundai had a clear target for its refinement levels - the Volkswagen Golf. It has largely achieved those too, the i30 featuring anti vibration engine mounts, hollow driveshafts, re-profiled door handles and double layer door seals.

Summary

Hyundai's mainstream credibility was driven by its previous i30 and it has been cemented by this new car. Impressive refinement and comfort appeal, as do its comprehensive equipment list and warranty package, though its mainstream push does mean more mainstream prices - the i30 is not the bargain it once was. Nor does it need to be, as Hyundais can now be sold on more than just price.


Kyle Fortune - 29 Feb 2012









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2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.



2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 

2012 Hyundai i30. Image by Hyundai.
 






 

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