With regard to the i30’s turbocharged petrol engine, Hyundai’s main objective is obviously twofold: more peak torque of the low-down, accessible kind, along with a commensurate improvement in the four-pot’s efficiency. In both respects, the unit represents a middling achievement.

Its basic manners, certainly of the audible sort, are generally creditable. Via a thickset gearchange and clutch pedal, normal progress is dispatched with a dependable, innocuous air. The engine’s function is palpable in the cabin but muffled into the kind of nondescript hum that makes it difficult to immediately identify whether it runs on petrol or diesel.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
There’s understeer at the limit – lots of it – and there’s precious little you can do about it

The performance being meted out is barely any more effective a guide: the 178lb ft of torque, available from 1500rpm, is unequivocally the unit’s primary source of propulsion, with all the hard work done before 4000rpm.

Any subsequent industry feels like an afterthought in the modern oil-burner mould, the motor feeling sufficiently stifled by the appearance of peak power at 6000rpm that one wonders if Hyundai expects its buyers to remain almost permanent strangers to the power output they’ve paid for.

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There’s enough obliging energy low down to paper over this subsequent crack, but the idea of a claimed 9.2sec to 62mph being dispensed spiritedly is given short shrift.

The 9.5sec the Tourer on test took to reach 60mph from rest is just spry enough to parry any accusation of real lethargy yet simultaneously too pedestrian to rebuff the thought that you’d be whisked forward plenty more consistently in, say, a Leon ST equipped with the equivalent 1.4-litre EcoTSI.

Deeper consideration of the competition does the T-GDi no favours at all: the downsized petrol engines of most mainstream rivals – all similarly encumbered with turbochargers – do a better, keener, freer job of working at higher crank speeds.

Even allowing for the likely modest requirements of a Tourer driver – which the petrol motor ought to adequately indulge – the absence of any real dynamism is detrimental nevertheless. 

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