With just 118bhp, the entry-level turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine needs to be worked surprisingly hard before you start to make meaningful progress. Far better is the 138hp 1.4-litre petrol – it’s our pick of the range, thanks to decent shove from low revs that means you rarely need to shift down a gear to overtake or to climb a hill. However, all of the above applies to the regular i30, too, so you’re not getting anything different with the Fastback engine wise.
So, does the Fastback show an advantage on a twisty road? Well, if we’re honest, the i30 Fastback’s handling balance is very similar to the standard i30’s. The chassis may sit 5mm lower than the hatchback version and the suspension may have been stiffened to tighten up what was previously a soft package, but there’s still a fair amount of body lean in corners. For more excitement, you’ll have to go for the i30 Fastback N model, but if that’s too much of a leap, there’s an i30 Fastback N-Line trim level. This is slightly stiffer than the standard car and a tiny bit more agile around corners but retains the smaller engines.
The i30 Fastback really is a car that feels at its best while cruising. Its ride is perfectly agreeable, if a little firmer than in the hatch, and all its control weights –steering, brakes and accelerator – are well matched and deliver a predictable and natural rate of response, although there is little in the way of feel from any of them.