Behind the wheel Hyundai i30
DESPITE the trend towards SUVs, hatchback models are still out there and for a few days I journeyed behind the wheel of the new Hyundai i30. Since its arrival 10 years ago, it’s become popular in the Hyundai range but now faces stiff competition from the likes of the Astra, Golf and Focus.
Unique selling points are hard to establish in mainstream cars built with more of an eye on trimming costs than indulging in stitched leather trim. However, the Hyundai has a reputation for good build quality and dependability, which may account for the unlimited mileage five-year warranty that comes with all models.
On the outside, the i30 is pleasantly attractive – it neither appears bland nor does it express any bizarre styling characteristics. Its passenger cabin is a fairly bleak affair but lightened up by the large, colourful touchscreen monitor. Leather and soft, squashy surfaces are lacking in favour of durable plastics but on the whole it appears well constructed – and on the move there are no creaks or groans.
Dynamics and desirability will never be part of the i30’s allure but it will capture the hearts of motorists keen on reliable transport that will not show signs of age after a couple of years. But best of all with this car is that it’s easy to drive, controls are hassle-free, the driving position is comfortable and the boot is reasonably spacious. If regular rear-seat passengers are not over six feet I’ll not be concerned their hair wax will contaminate the roof material.
Under the bonnet of this model is the now trendy turbo-petrol engine of the one-litre, three-cylinder type known in the range as the 1.0 T-GDi (gasoline direct injection). It has an output of 120ps and is linked to a sixspeed manual gearbox.
Owners will find to keep the car moving and maintain progress it’s necessary to make liberal use of the gearbox. I found sixth gear is best left to motorways, while fifth is useful when speeds of around 60mph can be maintained. The rest of the time I used fourth when the car almost adopted an eager sporty personality – this without any apparent effect on fuel economy.
It would be foolish to imagine for a moment this model is a sporty hatchback, however the steering, brakes, handling and ride composure are all totally adequate – and in keeping with a car that’s not going to corner on its door handles, it went about its business in decent silence.
All i30s have an excellent bundle of safety features and the car has come out well in road safety tests, achieving top marks to be among the best in its class. However, to get a i30 with all the goodies buyers must look a little further up the range as entry-level models have a basic boast of steel wheels with plastic rims, Bluetooth and air con.
My model in SE Nav has the benefit of a larger eight-inch touchscreen with lots of easy-to-use features. It also has reversing camera, proximity sensors, folding door mirrors and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity features. In fact, the more time I had with this car the more I liked it. Its swathe of uninteresting dark plastics was soon forgotten, while the ease of driving became a key aspect, with the gears and controls having additional ergonomic appeal.
Hyundai’s sister company Kia offers a sevenyear warranty that is good for 100,000 miles. All Hyundais have a five-year warranty but in their case, they can in this time drive around George Square in Glasgow forever and ever, paying no heed to mileage. This perhaps, after all, gives the car a unique selling point.
The all-new Hyundai i30 proves easy to live with, while it scores top marks for safety