The Hyundai i30 Tourer is the estate version of the companys impressive new i30 hatchback.
On top of all the qualities of that car, the Tourer offers a 528-litre boot. Not only does this make it one of the most spacious cars in the class, it also means it offers more room than many models in the class above.
What's the 2012 Hyundai i30 Tourer like inside?
The most important bit the boot looks every bit as enormous as the figures suggest. It's long and tall, and although it narrows slightly between the rear wheelarches, there's still plenty of space between them.
The boot is thoughtfully designed, too; its floor sits flush with the tailgate opening, meaning that there's no lip to load heavy items over. It also features a 12V power socket, luggage hooks and a deep under-floor storage compartment.
The enormous boot provides up to 1642 litres of space
When you need all the cargo space that the i30 can muster, you can drop the 60/40 split rear seats to free up 1642 litres. Admittedly, you have to pop the rear seatbases up before dropping the backrests in behind, but it's easy to do and leaves a completely flat floor.
When passengers take priority over payload, the i30 is equally impressive. The cabin easily has the space to seat four adults in comfort, and five will fit at a push.
The cabin has a reasonably classy feel thanks to its textured surfaces and swish design, and the layout of the dashboard is easy to understand.
The cabin has a reasonably classy feel, and the dashboard is clearly laid out
What's the 2012 Hyundai i30 Tourer like to drive?
The car we drove had the range-topping 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine. It gives very sprightly performance if you keep the revs above 1700rpm, but if you let them drop below that, it's frustratingly flat.
It also gets a bit clattery if you work it too hard, but keep the revs in the middle of the dial and the engine is relatively smooth and quiet. Sadly, the peace and quiet is broken by a fair degree of road noise, even at low speeds.
The i30 Tourer's steering isn't ideal, either, because it's too vague and there's a disconcerting shortage of weight around the straight-ahead. The Flexsteer system (standard on all but the entry-level model) allows you to choose from three different weighting modes for the steering, but it doesn't do much to help.
The handling is pretty good, but the steering is too vague
It's a shame because the i30 Tourer's handling is pretty good. The strong grip makes things feel secure in bends, and while there's more body lean than you get in a Ford Focus Estate, the i30 never feels sloppy.
The ride is excellent thanks to supple suspension that mops up even the worst lumps and bumps.
Should I buy one?
The Hyundai i30 Tourer costs 1100 more than the equivalent hatchback model. Overall, it doesn't have the sort of price advantage over its rivals that it used to, but this estate version will still cost you slightly less than the equivalent Ford Focus Estate, and it'll come with more standard kit.
Bear in mind, though, that the engine we tested is available only in range-topping Style and Style Nav trims.
Although we haven't driven it yet, we suspect that the sweet spot in the i30 Tourer range will be the lower-powered 109bhp diesel in Active trim.
The i30 Tourer isn't quite as efficient as the equivalent Focus. That said, with the 126bhp engine's fuel economy of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km, it'll still be pretty cheap to run. The lower-powered engine does even better, averaging 67.3mpg and 110g/km.
So, which small estate car should you buy? Well, the Ford is the more enjoyable car to drive, but the Hyundai's enormous boot makes it a better estate. If boot space is your be-all and end-all (and if youre considering an estate, it might well be), there's a strong case for choosing the i30.
What Car? says