Five years ago, a Korean family hatchback that drove as well as an established European alternative would have been considered a revelation. And the original i30 was. It was a breakthrough car, no less.

This time around, a dynamic repertoire at least as sophisticated as that of the Renault Mégane, Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra is a minimum requirement of the i30.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
The Hyundai i30 is a cosseting car to drive

And while consolidating a position among the class’s top acts was no doubt every bit as tough as breaking in among them in the first place, Hyundai’s engineers have nonetheless done a fine job.

Refinement remains the most compelling dynamic reason to buy an i30. Our test example’s 65-profile tyres probably enhanced the rubber-footed suppleness of its chassis, but at any trim level the Hyundai’s capacity to soothe away the pits and disturbances of a nasty surface must rival the very best in the segment. It’s a virtue that complements the car’s roomy cabin and decent mechanical refinement with pleasing harmony.

A bigger relative improvement has been made in delivering that rolling comfort along with chassis balance, body control, handling response and steering precision which are almost as praiseworthy.

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You’ll need to be in none other than this car’s most highly developed rivals to take greater pleasure in sweeping through a favourite bend or, more crucially, to more easily take charge of a potentially dangerous on-limit handling situation. If you’re in any doubt, the i30’s lap time around our dry handling circuit proves it.

An uninformative steering system (regardless of which of the three FlexSteer assistance levels you set it to) is the car’s only really conspicuous shortcoming, taking the edge off an otherwise strong showing here.

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