What is it?
This second-generation Hyundai i30 appears just four years after the first, to go on sale here next spring. Designed, engineered and produced in Europe, it blends contemporary styling trends such as wheel-wrapping front wings, a trapezoidal grille and a wedged glasshouse with Hyundai's fluidic sculpture styling theme that's at its most obvious in the emphatic swage lines flaring out of the front doors before firing into the rear lamp clusters.
What's it like?
The result is a decidedly more distinctive Hyundai i30, and it gets a higher grade interior to go with it. The shapely new dash is stocked with a colour driver information system and a seven-inch screen infotainment option, plentiful splashes of plastiminium creating quite a habitable interior. It's a big improvement, if adrift of the Golf and Focus.
The cabin is roomier and provides a mass of storage, most of it lined to prevent clutter clattering, while back-benchers enjoy decent space and even get their own airvents. And seat cushions that lift to allow the backrests to fold completely flat are further signs of thoroughness.
There's mechanical progress too, Hyundai promising CO2 emissions of under 100 grams for this upgraded 128bhp engine, an output well ahead of the 105bhp or so that most sub-100gram competitors manage.
On the road the i30 feels quite brisk and fairly civilised. There's a bit of a torque vacuum below 1500rpm but it's rarely encountered and the engine pulls with some vigour to 3500rpm, after which its urge tails off somewhat.
But six smooth-selecting gears usually mask this and up front at least, the Hyundai makes a calm cruiser - those in the back are hit with more noise, however. Hyundai is pleased with its three-mode electric power steering, but normal and comfort are little different and while sport adds weight and stronger self-centring, none setting provides much tactile messaging. But, the multi-link rear end serves a tidily competent chassis and a ride only occasionally spoiled by what feels like over-zealous rebound damping.
Should I buy one?
This is substantially more appealing, more capable i30, promising particularly low running costs. As long as Hyundai continues to price it keenly, it should prove even more tempting than its predecessor.