Hyundai i30 hatchback
Price £14,605 - £23,530
- Spacious interior
- Great value for money
- High specification
- High running costs with automatic gearbox
- Lack of rear visibility
- Poor public image
At a glance
"The Hyundai i30 is a worthy contender to the VW Golf thanks to its comfortable interior, economical engines, and excellent five-year warranty.”
The Hyundai i30 is a family hatchback that comes with a range of economical engines and a five-year/100,000-mile warranty. Buyers can choose between three and five-door models, while the Hyundai i30 Tourer estate offers a bigger boot. All models are spacious inside, with enough room for five adults.
Its main rivals include the well-built Volkswagen Golf and the fun-to-drive Ford Focus, but the i30 also competes with the Kia Cee’d. It shares the Hyundai's parts and comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Engines available range from a 1.4-litre petrol to the 1.6-litre diesel. None are expensive to run and the most fuel economic diesel can achieve 76.3mpg. We would recommend the 126bhp diesel, which returns excellent economy and is quick enough for safe overtakes.
Trim levels run from the basic Classic to Active, Style, Style Nav and Premium. All models come with air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection, voice recognition, and a USB port.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Basic Hyundai i30 diesel is free to tax and very frugal
The most economical i30s are the diesel models. Of those, the most frugal is the 1.6-litre Blue Drive, which is capable of 76.3mpg and low CO2 emissions of 97g/km, for free road tax. Fitting an automatic gearbox means fuel economy drops to 51.4mpg and emissions rise to 145g/km for annual road tax of £145. The 126bhp diesel offers extra performance, but can still return fuel economy of 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 108g/km for road tax of £20 per year.
Fuel economy on the 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines is 47.1mpg and 41.5mpg respectively. The 1.4-litre petrol engine produces CO2 emissions of 139g/km for road tax of £130 a year, while the 1.6-litre engine returns CO2 emissions of 159g/km for road tax of £180.
Hyundai offers fixed-price-service plans for three years (from £349) and five years (from £639) to make the regular maintenance of the i30 easier to afford. Insurance costs run from group seven in the 1.4-litre petrol, to group 14 in the 126bhp diesel.
Interior & comfort
Interior is quiet and Flex Steer makes Hyundai i30 easy to manoeuvre
Sit behind the wheel of the i30 and you’ll be greeted by a cabin that is clear to use, but lacks the style of the Mazda3 or the overriding sense of build quality you get in the Volkswagen Golf. It's easy to get a comfortable driving position, though, thanks to a wide range of adjustment for the steering wheel and driver's seat. Driving the car is also easy thanks to good visibility and light controls.
The Hyundai feels like it has been setup with comfort in mind. The interior does an admirable job of keeping wind and road noise at bay, while the suspension gets close to matching the soothing ride of the VW Golf.
A nice feature, which is fitted to Active models and above, is Flex Steer. It lets the driver alter the steering's weight to, say, make it lighter for parking or heavier for more confidence when driving at speed.
Practicality & boot space
Hyundai i30 interior has decent boot and lots of useful cubbys
The Hyundai's 378-litre boot gets close to matching the 380-litre boot in the Volkswagen Golf and is much bigger than the 316-litre carrying capacity offered by the Ford Focus. Folding the seats down reveals a total load capacity of 1,316 litres. The boot opening is wide, as you would expect on a hatchback, but the seats don’t fold completely flat and there's also a load lip that you’ll have to lift heavy luggage over.
Space in the front seats is excellent, but three adults can also fit in the back. Unlike in most rivals, the Hyundai's floor is almost completely flat so there's space in the back seat for a third passenger to put their feet which improves long-distance comfort.
Cubbyholes are also in plentiful supply thanks to deep door pockets, a useful lidded cubbyhole between the two front seats, plus a glovebox that is chilled by the car's air-conditioning.
Reliability & safety
Hyundai i30 warranty puts VW Golf's to shame
The old Hyundai i30 dropped 15 places in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, which indicates that it was falling behind newer rivals. Nonetheless, it still finished ahead of the Volkswagen Golf. Owners liked the in-car tech, but marked it down for performance and build quality. We would expect the current model to show improvements in next year's survey.
Safety is excellent in the Hyundai i30 and it got a five-star rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. The i30 gets electronic stability control, a seatbelt reminder that covers the front seats, and six airbags.
Engines, drive & performance
Hyundai i30 is a comfy cruiser, but not much fun
The Hyundai's suspension is resistant to body lean during fast cornering, but its steering lacks the confidence given by the Ford Focus’ – the Ford is still the model to choose if you want a family hatchback that is fun to drive. Unlike Ford and Volkswagen, who offer performance versions of the Focus and Golf, Hyundai does not sell an i30 that's particularly quick.
The 109bhp diesel gets the Hyundai from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds, which is respectable enough given the fuel economy it offers. The 126bhp diesel drops that down to 10.9 seconds and offers a better balance between economy and performance making it our top choice.
Opting for a petrol engine brings no gain in performance and lowers fuel economy, but they are cheaper to buy than the diesels. The 1.4-litre engine can get from 0-62mph in 13.2 seconds, while the 1.6-litre model does it in 10.9 seconds.
Price, value for money & options
Generous equipment levels, but Hyundai i30's resale values not so good
Hyundai has given all versions of i30 a decent amount of equipment. The basic Classic gets air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection and a USB plug. Active models add 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and Hyundai's Flex Steer, which lets you adjust the weight of the steering.
Style models bring automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensor, plus climate control, while Style NAV models add sat-nav as well. Go for the top-of-the-range Premium model and you also get a leather interior, keyless entry and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Hyundai i30 is priced cheaper than the Volkswagen Golf, however long-term you can expect the Volkswagen to hold its value better. In this respect, the i30 should compare well to cars such as the Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 308.
What the others say
"The range will kick off at around £14,000 when the i30 goes on sale in March, starting with a 1.4 petrol. There’s also a 1.6 petrol plus two 1.6 diesels – we drove the more powerful 128bhp diesel rather than the 110bhp version, but they share excellent economy and CO2 figures of 76mpg and 97g/km, so are exempt from road tax."
"Emissions are lower than ever, while the build quality inside and out has improved vastly."
"What Hyundai really wants to push though is the equipment list, which puts the i30 alongside the class leaders. Expensive toys include Bluetooth compatibility, cruise control, heated seats, LED running and cornering lamps, switchable steering-weight program, Xenon headlamps and a reversing camera."