The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
There isn't a great deal of side support from the driver’s seat (although we haven't tried the N Line sports seats yet) but it is comfortable on long journeys and the pedals are positioned nicely in line. Seat height adjustment and electrically adjustable lumbar support are standard on all trims, while the top Premium trim adds electric adjustment.
The steering wheel also moves for height and reach, while behind it sit analogue dials on the SE Connect trim or part-digital instruments on N Line and Premium trims; basically, the central part is a digital speedometer and trip computer, but you cannot turn the whole instrument pod into a sat-nav map as you can, for example, in the Seat Leon or Volkswagen Golf.
The rest of the i30’s dashboard is refreshingly simple. Every button is big enough to find at a glance, and all the controls are clearly marked. That's a big improvement on the mainly touch-sensitive buttons that you get with the Leon or Golf.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Hyundai i30’s small rear screen and relatively thick rear pillars mean over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t particularly impressive. The view out of the front is much better, making it easy to judge roundabouts and T-junctions.
Rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are standard on all versions. Premium trim adds sensors at the front plus LED headlights (also fitted to N Line) with a smart high beam function, which automatically dips the beam when there’s a car in front.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level SE Connect cars comes with an 8.0in touchscreen, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. So far, though, we’ve only tried the upgraded system that comes with the N Line and Premium trims, and this very good. It gets built-in sat-nav and a 10.3in touchscreen – that's bigger than a Ford Focus's and the same size as the one in pricier versions of the Seat Leon.
The screen is sharp and the graphics look smart, plus you get a row of shortcut buttons to hop between menus. They’re touch-sensitive rather than physical buttons, but they’re placed prominently so you can reach them easily.
There’s a slight delay swapping between the main menus, after which the software seems more responsive and it’s easy to find what you want after a bit of practice. The same cannot be said of the Golf's laggy and frustrating system.
Inside, the i30 is conservatively styled. And while the upper surfaces of the dashboard are soft to the touch, there's a lot of hard plastic from midway down, so it's nowhere near as plush as the Mazda 3 or premium rivals such as the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.
It feels more robust than a Focus inside, though, and all of the switches and knobs are well damped.
The Renault Megane is well equipped and has lots of safety kit...
Despite average dynamics and sedate performance, the i30 Fastb...
Good to drive, and has a big boot and lots of standard ki...
Pace aplenty and a healthy dose of practicality, all for a poc...