What is it?
Hyundai’s presence in Europe is now so extensive that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the family-sized i30 hatchback has slipped somewhat in importance – trumped by cooler products (the Ioniq) - or else more profitable ones (the Santa Fe). Not a bit of it, though. The first i30, launched in 2007, effectively set Hyundai on its current trajectory on the back of a eurocentric development programme.
The car's insurgency into the continent’s biggest single market segment continues with this the third-generation model - first shown at last year's Paris motor show, accompanied by the tagline: “the people’s car” – a broadside statement of ambition if ever there was one. Hyundai, as usual, makes no bones about its approach: the competition – all of it – has been ruthlessly benchmarked with the intention of getting the i30 to measure up to the best.
As a result, while the old car’s architecture remains, it has been comprehensively overhauled; doubling the amount of high-strength steel in the body and shedding weight along the way. Rigidity, unsurprisingly, is better too, as is size, with the model being marginally bigger. It's also lower-riding, which is good, because Hyundai wants the i30 to look better, too, citing design as one of the primary reasons why buyers chose the previous model.