From £14,451
Sharper styling, a roomier, better finished cabin and an excellent power-to-CO2 identify an improved Hyundai i30 that still falls short of the class best
Richard Bremner Autocar
28 October 2011

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.


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Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi Premium

Price: £18,500 (est); Top speed: 122mph; 0-62mph: 10.9sec; Economy: TBA; Co2: under 100g/km; Kerbweight: TBA; Engine: 4-cyls in-line, 1582cc turbodiesel; Power: 126bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 192lb ft at 1900-2750rpm; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Join the debate


1 November 2011

"creating quite a habitable interior. It's a big improvement, if adrift of the Golf and Focus."

I didn't realise the focus's interior was regarded as class-leading.

1 November 2011

[quote 5cylinder]

"creating quite a habitable interior. It's a big improvement, if adrift of the Golf and Focus."

I didn't realise the focus's interior was regarded as class-leading.


The new generation Focus appears to have a decent interior, although I can tell you from experience that the one before was certainly not class leading. Not badly built, just not up to the Ford standard.

1 November 2011

[quote Fidji]The new generation Focus appears to have a decent interior[/quote]

I agree the new Focus interior looks decent, a million miles better than the last one. Just never heard it described as class leading before.

Sometimes I feel that Autocar just cut and paste "not quite as good as the Golf and Focus" into any article about a competitor.

1 November 2011

There was very little wrong with the old i30 when I tested one, and this looks to be even better. One day, maybe sooner than some think, the default Autocar phrase will be "not quite as good as the market leading i30"

1 November 2011

I too liked the first gen i30, and am surprised it's being replaced so soon. This new one looks good, I like it. Not so sure about Hyundai's new dash designs though, they look a bit cliff-like to me.

1 November 2011

The new Civic looks good, and this looks even better. Ibet it drives better too. You've got to hand it to those Koreans, they've jumped ahead of the Japs now.

1 November 2011

This new i30 looks better than the last one and i think the interior looks better than the Focus and the Golf.It could be the new class leader but the Focus and Golf will still get the plaudits,whether deserved or otherwise.

1 November 2011

[quote Flash Harry]It could be the new class leader but the Focus and Golf will still get the plaudits,whether deserved or otherwise[/quote]

Possibly. I like the look of the Cee'd personally, but this facelifted i30 certainly looks the part. Let's hope that they don't make a hash of the SW this time round...

1 November 2011

I really like this car - it would definitely have made my short-list for a test drive if it had been available. Problem is when I enquired about it the dealer had no details on UK specs and had no idea when the UK release date was. They reckoned no chance of it being available until at least March 2012.

1 November 2011

I keep hearing that the Golf "Sets the Standard" , Just how bad is the Focus/Astra/Megan for this to be considered "Premium"? There are some real rough edges if you look hard enough, I've had a few Citrons (ZX's) that were better put together and had less bits falling off/ rattles.

The interior Design does look better than the old one in a 1990s Alba Geto Blaster sort of way which isnt too different from the new Focus if you squint, Wonder if you can still specify the Colour instrument display that I think was standard on the old Top model?, (Striking stuff).

Somehow I really want these guys to teach the Germans/big players a lesson, It is already in the lead with "most powerful 1.6 TD" with 126 Horses, whilst for the same money you get Grey Drizzle105 in a basic Golf S, As for reliability/durability My sister has a Matrix (Not my cup of Tea either) but has been neglected from Birth, I think only one Service in the 8-9 years of ownership and only cost her Tyres and a Battery and despite low rent plastics, unbelievably not one rattle inside.

Hyundai has come along way since the 70s Pony, I think in the next 5-10 years The Koreans are going to walk over the big players, in a Lexus sort of way!


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