Driving

Hyundai i30 review

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Hyundai i30
Review continues below...
23 Jan 2017 00:00 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 10:22

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Hyundai i30 hatchback performance

None of the engines in the regular hatchback is especially powerful (the i30N hot hatch is a different kettle of fish), and the range of powerplants is smaller than those in rivals such as the Ford Focus and VW Golf. Performance is no more than adequate, although that’s all that most buyers will expect.

Our favourite engine is the entry-level turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol. It’s reasonably flexible and feels at home in town and on the motorway. It’s so good, in fact, that the more expensive turbocharged 1.4 petrol seems a little redundant – yes it’s quicker, but not by much, and it uses more fuel in the process.

Hyundai also offers the i30 with a 1.6-litre diesel engine, which pulls eagerly at all but very low revs. Ultimately, though, it's no faster than the 1.0 petrol so is only worth considering if maximum miles per gallon is your priority.

Hyundai i30 hatchback ride

A supple ride is one of the Hyundai i30’s most endearing qualities. The suspension soaks up bumps with ease, and even higher-specced versions with larger alloy wheels provide good comfort for those on board. Rough roads make the i30 fidget around more than a Skoda Octavia, but never enough to make you truly uncomfortable.

The downside is that the i30 feels floatier over bigger bumps than some of its sportier rivals, although that’s a small price to pay and something that won't bother many potential owners.

Hyundai i30

Hyundai i30 hatchback handling

Comparatively soft suspension puts the emphasis on comfort so allows more body sway than in cars such as the Ford Focus. As a result, the Hyundai i30 doesn’t feel as sharp or responsive, and you can feel its weight shifting around a little more on twisty roads.

It’s far from unwieldy, however, and grips and handles perfectly well, even if its steering never really involves you in the action. Think of it as a pet dog that can’t be bothered to chase a ball but that you’d trust with your kids.

Hyundai i30 hatchback refinement

The i30 is a reasonably quiet car, but it isn't as refined as the likes of the Audi A3 or Volkswagen Golf. Admittedly, both of those cars are more expensive to buy.

The engines are mostly civilised: the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine is particularly smooth, even when worked hard, while the diesel engine isn't at all uncouth either. The 1.0 petrol sends the most vibrations back through the controls, but it’s by no means terrible.

Whichever version you choose, the gearshift and major controls function smoothly (if not particularly precisely at times) and make the i30 feel relatively effortless to drive. The 1.4 is available with a dual-clutch automatic which shifts smoothly, but does rev the engine harder than is necessary at times.

 

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There are 13 trims available for the i30 hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
S
Entry-level S models come with 15in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a DAB radio, USB connection, Bluetooth, a multi-function steering wheel, automatic emergency braking, lane departure co...View trim
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SE
SE trim adds 16in alloy wheels, front foglights, a 5.0in colour touchscreen, rear parking sensors with camera and a leather steering wheel to S trim...View trim
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£17,834
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OUR PICK
SE Nav
SE Nav adds an integrated sat-nav and takes the screen size to 8.0in, as well as bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We don’t see the need to spend any more money than this...View trim
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£18,548
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Go SE
This limited-edition trim is based on SE Nav, but adds bigger alloys, dual-zone climate control and some bespoke styling upgrades. Not a bad deal given the relatively small price premium...View trim
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£18,706
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SE Nav
SE Nav adds an integrated sat-nav and takes the screen size to 8.0in, as well as bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We don’t see the need to spend any more money than this...View trim
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£19,012
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N Line
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£19,775
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Premium
Premium trim brings 17in alloy wheels, climate control, an electronic parking brake, electric seats in artificial leather, heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors, as well as addition...View trim
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£20,681
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Premium
Premium trim brings 17in alloy wheels, climate control, an electronic parking brake, electric seats in artificial leather, heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors, as well as addition...View trim
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N Line+
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£21,630
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Premium SE
Range-topping Premium SE trim rounds things off with a panoramic sunroof, real leather seats and a heated steering wheel. We’d stick to the cheaper SE Nav trim...View trim
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£21,887
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Premium SE
Range-topping Premium SE trim rounds things off with a panoramic sunroof, real leather seats and a heated steering wheel. We’d stick to the cheaper SE Nav trim...View trim
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£22,159
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N
Even the entry-level i30N hot hatch offers more toys than its rivals, including 18in alloy wheels, adaptive dampers, LED headlights, sports seats, red brake calipers, automatic lights and wipers, p...View trim
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N Performance
Move up to the Performance model and, as well as the limited-slip differential, 19in wheels, sticky tyres and sports exhaust that make the Performance model go quicker and sound better, you add lux...View trim
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