What is it?
The i30 five-door hatchback is the first in what Hyundai says will be a ‘family’ of C-segment cars and the ‘most important car Hyundai has ever launched’ in the UK.
It’s easy to forget that Hyundai is a global automotive powerhouse. It sold around 3.5m cars in 2006, half a million of them in the US. Hyundai admits its sights have been set on the US market, but now it wants to conquer Europe.
The i30 is based on the same all-new platform as the Kia Cee’d, but will be made in Korea until production switches to the Czech Republic in 2009.
What’s it like?
In the metal, although it’s 4.2m long, the i30 has a curious modesty about it, lacking the presence of the Golf or Focus. The styling is neat (and curiously reminiscent of the BMW 1-series from the rear) and the exterior is tightly made and well-finished.
The story is the same inside. All residual old-school ‘Korean-ness’ has been expunged. The mouldings are crisp, well finished and it all fits together beautifully. The all-important switchgear weightings are excellent, too.
Thanks to a long wheelbase, rear legroom is excellent. Boot space, though is a touch mean at 340 litres. Shoulder room is the front is fine and the overall sensation is of a light, handy, easy-going car.