"The i30 Tourer is a practical, affordable and well-made family estate."
The i30 Tourer is Hyundai's best-value estate car and is designed to take on family friendly rivals like the Volkswagen Golf estate and Ford Focus estate. Based on the 2012 CarBuyer Car of the Year – the i30 hatchback – the Tourer is 185mm longer and has a 528-litre boot. With the rear seats folded there's 1,642 litres of luggage space. Modern exterior design and a top-quality interior are big pluses, while Hyundai's five-year warranty is another key selling point. You can choose between a 118bhp petrol engine or Hyundai's 1.6-litre CRDi diesel, with either 109bhp or 126bhp output. The range is made up of Classic, Active, Style and Style Nav versions, with prices starting at just over £16,000 and rising to more than £21,000. Standard equipment is generous and running costs are low across the range.
With positive steering and decent body control, the Hyundai is composed in the corners and gives you lots of confidence as a driver. The weighting and feedback of the electric power steering is artificial, but a light clutch and responsive gearshift mean it's easy to drive, while the diesel engine has smooth acceleration - even in its lower output, there's enough power to offer decent performance. Choosing an automatic or petrol engine increases running costs, so we’d stick with the diesels and a manual gearbox. The ride is the only negative - the suspension doesn’t cope very well with rough roads and things can get a little bumpy on broken surfaces.
Even the most basic model has a height-adjustable driver's seat and a full range of steering wheel adjustment – so the driving position is excellent. The seats are comfortable and the interior is well laid out. Some of the audio buttons on the centre console are a bit far away and require a stretch, but as all versions get audio controls on the steering wheel, this isn’t a big problem. In the back, there's lots of head and legroom, and a flat transmission tunnel means there's more room for the middle-seat occupant's feet than in the Volkswagen Golf. On the motorway, occupants are well insulated from road and wind noise, even at cruising speeds.
Hyundai's five-year unlimited mileage warranty shows that the company has confidence in the reliability of its cars. Hyundai also finished in seventh place in the 2012 Auto Express Driver Power Survey. All the i30's components feel very robust and interior materials are up to the standard of class-leading cars like the Volkswagen Golf. The layout is modern and easy to live with, while build quality is excellent. As with the i40 and i20, the i30's solid and robust interior shows just how much progress Hyundai has made in recent years, but the design is dull compared with the Kia Cee’d Sportswagon.
The i30 estate is 185mm longer than the hatchback, with a big rear overhang allowing for a massive boot. With the back seats in place, there's 528 litres below the parcel shelf – that's 23 litres more than a Volkswagen Golf estate. Under the floor of the boot there's a storage tray and spare wheel, while handy luggage hooks mean it's easy to tie down heavy loads. The rear chairs easily fold fully flat and, to stop them getting scuffed, they have a hardwearing material on the back. The maximum capacity is an excellent 1,642 litres – that's bigger than key rivals like the VW Golf estate and Renault Megane Sport Tourer, and is the same as the Kia Cee’d Sportswagon.
Value for money
It's no longer an out-and-out bargain choice but the i30 estate is still cheaper than key rivals like the Ford Focus estate and VW Golf estate. Even the most basic version gets air conditioning, body-coloured handles, Bluetooth and a height adjustable driver's seat. The Style version gets higher-spec equipment like power-fold mirrors, parking sensors, cruise control and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. Across the board, Hyundai's five-year unlimited mileage warranty and recovery package mean's you’re getting a lot for your money. The Golf will hold its value better, though, so choosing a Hyundai means accepting a fraction more depreciation over the life of the car.
The i30 estate isn’t as clean as the hatchback. Still, the 109bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine only emits 110g/km, which means a £20 tax disc. With a fuel economy that's close to 70mpg, fuel bills should be small, too. Choosing the automatic gearbox increases emissions to 149g/km, while the more powerful 126bhp manual version emits 115g/km. The petrol engine is less popular in the UK but it's relatively clean, producing 150g/km. The insurance groups range from 9 to 15, depending on the version. Fixed-price servicing makes it easy to budget for maintenance.