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Car trim reviews

Hyundai i30 Active

Choosing between the i30 Active and the Ford Focus Zetec isn't easy. The Hyundai i30 does offers higher equipment levels however.

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The Hyundai i30 Active is set to be a very popular model in the new i30 line-up, and competes against similarly classy looking rivals such as the Ford Focus Zetec and Volkswagen Golf Match. Building on the entry-level Classic spec, Hyundai’s mid-range i30 already features LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth and air conditioning. In addition, the Active comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel and gear knob plus Hyundai’s adjustable steering system, called Flex Steer, which allows drivers to alter the weight of the steering. The cabin feels impressively upmarket, as it’s well made and very spacious, while the boot is the biggest in its class, at 378 litres. Buyers have the choice of four engines: 1.4 and 1.6 CRDi diesels and 1.4 and 1.6 petrols. The 1.6 CRDi Blue Drive is capable of an amazing 76mpg, and produces emissions of less than 100g/km - making it exempt from Road Tax. While the Hyundai i30 Active isn’t as fun to drive as some of its rivals, it offers a higher level of standard equipment and boasts lower running costs.

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Good points

The Hyundai i30 is the 2012 CarBuyer Car of the Year – and for good reason. For starters, the Hyundai i30 Active is better equipped than its main rivals, so offers better value for money. Inside, the cabin is smart and attractive with lots of room for taller rear passengers, plus it also feels very well made. Hyundai has also made sure the affordable Active trim is available with its two excellent 1.6-litre engines - in both petrol and diesel form. Finally, thanks to predictable handling and low noise levels, driving the i30 is a relaxing experience, whether covering your daily commute or on longer motorway journeys. All these factors help to ensure the mid-range Active model makes a fantastic all-rounder, whether for business or private use.

Bad points

Other than the slightly unexciting driving characteristics and restricted rear visibility, the i30 is a very impressive family hatchback with very few flaws. Nevertheless, the Hyundai badge is bound to deter some, especially as an increasing number of prestige brands such as BMW and Mercedes enter the family hatchback segment. Lower residual values are likely to be the outcome. It is also worth mentioning that models fitted with automatic gearboxes suffer from hugely increased emissions and much higher fuel consumption, so we’d advise you stick with a manual.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Alarm
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • Cruise control
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Our choice

Protect your investment by choosing one of the larger, more efficient 1.6-litre engines. If you can afford it, the CRDi Blue Drive is our pick of the range.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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