Critics recognised the big improvement it represented for Hyundai. It was a fine car. It was affordable, convincing and utterly credible. Prophetically, we said it was a wake-up call to Europe’s slumbering mainstream, and we weren’t wrong about that.
Global recession may have given Hyundai a leg-up, but the Koreans have since produced a product range of consistent and remarkable quality. The second-generation Hyundai i30 which we are looking at here first went into production in 2011 and was facelifted lifted in 2015, which saw a brand new grille fitted and a more purposeful and aggressive looking hatchback entering the market. For 2017, the third generation Hyundai i30 was revealed at the Paris Motorshow, with the main headlines being that the all-new hatchback will spawn a family of new models, and be headed up by a high-performance Hyundai i30 N version.
There are five engines to choose from in the i30, and five trim levels: S, SE, SE Nav, Premium and Turbo (although not every powerplant is available at every spec level).
Two four-cylinder petrol units prop up the range – a 98bhp 1.4-litre and a 118bhp 1.6 mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic – but Hyundai’s UK output will be focused on the 108bhp and the 134bhp 1.6 CRDi engines. For those after a bit more oomph, or even a three-door hatchback, there is the Turbo models which sees the 1.6-litre petrol given a turbocharger to produce a heady 184bhp, putting right in warm hatch territory.