Perhaps even more so than the exterior, the i30’s interior has been comprehensively rethought.

The changes are wholesale, although the most notable alteration is also the most contentious: Hyundai has opted to extract the infotainment screen from its integrated position in the centre stack and plonk it on top.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Just looking at the Tourer’s boot gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. An Octavia estate might be larger, but the i30 has better applied the ‘simply clever’ strategy its rival boasts about

The advantage of doing so is that it permits a liberal shrinking of the dashboard, thereby enhancing the perception of light and space, yet Hyundai also remains wedded to the use of physical shortcut keys, which are functionally useful but make the new stand-alone display a little unsightly to behold. As disagreeable as the i30’s 8.0in touchscreen is to behold, there’s precious little that’s fundamentally wrong with what appears on it.

The shortcut keys are well chosen — splitting Map and Nav is a wise choice — and the system sensibly retains old-fashioned knobs for the volume and zoom functions.

Doubtless, a Volkswagen Group engineer would point out that Hyundai has preserved such outmoded features because the technology behind the system isn’t fast or glossy enough to make everything happen on screen — and compared with the lustrous sheen coming from the new Golf’s infotainment, the accusation wouldn’t be entirely unfounded.

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However, most i30 buyers are likely to think that the upgraded system is entirely adequate, not least because it comes as standard with Apple CarPay and Android Auto on board.

The stereo is the only glaring weak point: four speakers and two tweeters is probably insufficient given our test car’s range-topping spec. It’s a regrettable state of affairs because elsewhere the overhaul is well thought out.

The layout is now far more horizontal in its design theme than the previous iteration, and although no one would accuse it of over-indulging on imagination, it is a generally satisfying place to pass the time.

All of the switchgear has been thoughtfully reconsidered – the new three-spoke steering wheel is a vast improvement on its button-addled forebear – and although the material choice leans heavily towards dour, cloudburst-coloured plastics, they all fit together well enough, save perhaps for the lid of the centre console cubby, which feels as flimsy as a pound-shop-bought biscuit tin.

In the back, the Tourer’s added-value practicality comes predictably to the fore.

The i30’s leg room isn’t peerless in a segment that includes the Octavia estate but it’s easily worthy of adult-rated knees and the head room – obliged by the longer roof line – is plentiful.

The boot doubles down on the theme: its pleasingly rectangular, very well appointed load space easily equals the appeal of anything made by direct rivals.

The 60/40 seat backs are on the heavy side, but they flop forward to turn a very generous 602 litres of capacity into 1650 litres. Throw in the underrated presence of additional cubbyholes under the boot floor and the Tourer nails its USP with tick-box aplomb.

 

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