The new design is based on Hyundai’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ principle, and with the base of the windscreen pulled forwards and lowered, it has bestowed a more swept-back stance on the car. The inheritance of some of the i40’s DNA is apparent, too, and not just in the hexagonal grille that has now become Hyundai’s signature feature.
This dynamic appearance is further exaggerated in the three-door model, introduced at the end of 2012. In an attempt to attract younger buyers, it trades some of the five-door's maturity for aggression, with a new grille design, repositioned foglights and redesigned rear end. The 2015 facelift gave the i30 some sharper lines and a more defined presence on the road, and the addition of a Turbo models to head up the range.
A 10mm lower ride height and wider tracks have also helped the car’s aesthetic impact and hint at the all-new ‘K’ platform beneath, shared with the Veloster and Elantra. Its wheelbase is the same as its predecessor’s at 2650mm, but Hyundai insists that it has maximised the latest car’s extra length and width to increase interior space.
We applauded the previous i30’s suspension set-up, which adopted the rear multi-link configuration used by the class leaders. The new car continues this legacy, retaining MacPherson struts at the front and adding a FlexSteer system that varies the amount of assistance supplied to the electric power steering via three operating modes.
LED running lights are standard, and are supposed to add a jewel-like quality to the front end. Hexagonal grille is a key feature of Hyundai’s cross-model corporate look. Depending on trim, it comes with one body-coloured horizontal bar or two chrome ones.
Three-dimensional surfaces create a more sophisticated European look; the rear end is particularly reminiscent of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Lower spec models are quite unadorned, but more expensive trims get extra chrome, noticeably along the beltline of the bodyside.
If it’s space you’re after, then the estate version is 185mm longer overall (this extra length mostly affecting cabin and load space) and it offers better headroom front and rear and it has seats-folded luggage volume of 1642 litres. That makes it one of the most spacious C-segment estates going and it beats several D-segment contenders into the bargain.
The 2017 model is a complete departure from the current and first generation cars, with Hyundai, through the guidance of Peter Schreyer, finally giving its cars a proper European makeover. The new i30 has shades of an Audi A3 at the front and the BMW 1 Series at the rear, while its new grille will be replicated across the whole Hyundai range. Underneath the car has been completely overhauled and has been designed in Europe with the new model weighing in 28kg lighter, despite using double the amount of material, all in the pursuit of better handling and performance dynamics.