First DriveFacing increasingly formidable opposition, the Hyundai i30 has been overhauled for 2017. The result is a recognisably mixed bag
First DriveWe get early access to the third-generation Hyundai i30 1.4 Turbo. Does this prototype show promise?
What is it?
This is a new, greener version of Hyundai’s European-built i30 hatchback, featuring a stop-start system and ‘Blue Drive’ sub-branding.
It was unveiled at the Geneva motor show last month, and goes on sale in the autumn. The newly developed ISG (for Integrated Stop and Go) system is made by Bosch, and will initially be fitted to the 1.4 and 1.6 petrol versions of the i30.
It’s been designed to ensure that the engine restarts particularly quickly, and also comes with an intelligent alternator that performs most of its charging duties when the car is coasting or braking to further save fuel. On the 1.6 litre petrol these systems reduce CO2 emissions by seven per cent to 142g/km, a 10g/km gain on the standard car.
What’s it like?
Identical to a stock i30, except that the engine cuts off when you push the gearlever into neutral and are doing less than 2.5mph. The switch-off is seamless – if you have the radio up loud you may not even notice that the engine has shut down – and the motor fires up again well before you’ve fully sunk the clutch, and without any of the transverse engine shake that afflicts the stop-start Mini.
The result is pretty unobtrusive fuel saving around town. The intelligent alternator allows the system to operate at temperatures lower than the Mini’s, which will not switch the engine off in sub-zero conditions, further saving fuel.
Should I buy one?
It’s a shame that Hyundai is not yet offering Blue Drive stop-start on its diesel engines – the 1.6 CRD already sits at a fairly low 125g/km, which would presumably drop below the 120g/km threshold with this hardware installed.
As it is, the 1.6 petrol’s emissions drop from 152g/km to 142g/km is useful, but does not allow the i30 to sit among the low-emission front-runners in its class. Nevertheless, fuel-saving stop-start technology is welcome on any model.
As to the i30 itself, we already rate this Hyundai quite highly as a well-priced alternative in the Ford Focus class, and its greater efficiency can only help.