Hyundai i30 hatchback

£15,195 - £23,595

The Hyundai i30 is a compact family hatchback available with either three or five doors. It was introduced as an alternative to more established rivals in the class like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.

The first i30 was launched in 2007 and since then won Carbuyer Car of the Year in 2012. The i30 used to undercut most of its rivals on price quite significantly, but improvements to the quality of the car has meant it's now a similar price to the Ford Focus. The car is much more stylish than it used to be too, and Hyundai offers more equipment as standard than most of its rivals – even entry-level models feature a Bluetooth connection, as well as LED daytime running lights and steering wheel-mounted stereo controls.

Entry-level Classic models look very basic thanks in particular to their plastic wheel trims. For that reason we recommend the mid-range Active, which has a more refined feels thanks to equipment like alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and cruise control. Style, Style Nav, Premium and the sporty Turbo trims complete the i30 range.

Under the bonnet, there's a choice of 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines . Thee petrol options lag behind the new, compact petrols offered by the likes of Volkswagen and Ford, so a diesel i30 will make more sense to most buyers. The larger 1.6 CRDi is the cleaner and more economical choice, especially if you go for the Blue Drive model, which has claimed 76.3mpg fuel consumption and 94g/km CO2 emissions in Classic and Active spec.

Whether you go for diesel or petrol power, we would stick with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. A new DCT gearbox that was introduced as part of a model update in early 2015 is cheaper to buy and run than the old automatic but we still prefer the manual.

Hyundai offers a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty on its new cars, which adds to their appeal. It's longer than the three years offered by Volkswagen and Ford, though Toyota matches it and Kia covers you for seven years or 100,000 miles.