What is it?
There are better examples than the i30 Fastback of the Hyundai Motor Group’s reinvention from purveyors of well-built, well-warrantied and, well, decent but not exceptional cars to a bold, ambitious rival of big European firms.
You could look at the Volkswagen Golf-baiting i30N hot hatch or the BMW-bothering Kia Stinger executive GT. Next to those, an i30 hatchback that – to describe it uncharitably – has had its roof squished and rear stretched a bit doesn’t seem all that radical.
Still, even if Hyundai’s marketing talk of how the i30 Fastback is bringing premium five-door coupé styling – as seen on the likes of the Audi A5 Sportback – to the mass market is somewhat exaggerated, the fact that the Korean firm is considering the category at all is a sign of its boldness. After all, in the mid-sized family car market, the i30’s existing hatchback and estate forms are likely to remain the most popular.
We’ve already driven the i30 Fastback with the 137bhp 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol engine in Spain, but this is our first taste of it on UK roads. It’s also our first taste of the car fitted with Hyundai’s seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox.