Driven: Hyundai i30

In the last month my car has been a bit unreliable, with this in mind I had a long journey coming up and needed a car. Hiring a car used to be a no go for insurance. This time it worked out more practical and cheaper.  We ended up having a i30 for the weekend. Having driven a Kia Ceed and Ford Focus it seemed a good car to have.

Performance and handling

As engine ranges go there is a range of  a 1 litre turbo, 1.4 petrol or 1.6 petrol. The engine I had was the 1.0 litre three cylinder turbo. I have to admit it didn’t help not being told this to start with. Performance from this engine is 118 BHP (120 PS) with 171 nm of torque. 0-60 is in around 10 seconds. The power is delivered through a 6 speed gearbox helping to gain around 50 mpg. I drove mostly on motorway and was getting around 53 MPG.  The engine doesn’t make much noise unless you really drive it hard. The cabin is really sound proofed from the engine. I was really impressed with the engine’s performance, the acceleration once the turbo kicked in is sublime. I’ve been in faster cars but for a 1.0 litre turbo it really delivers well. In sixth gear there is less to play with but it keeps the fuel economy up.

The i30 isn’t a sporty car – it’s not set up for this. However, I showed it some B roads and it handled very well, it certainly isn’t a hot hatch, more a family car you can have some fun in. You just need to make sure that you keep the turbo on by keeping the rev’s up. Going through bends it grips the road really well. With the right driver you could probably upset a BMW or two.  The only snag to this is the gearbox, it’s a clunky box. I’ve driven worse but it does get irritating when its not as snappy as you’d like.

Tech specs

The i30 I drove was the SE trim – this came with; phone connectivity and wireless charging, android auto and apple carplay, Aux in USB, cruise control lane assist and various other equipment as well.

The reversing camera gave very clear picture and the predictive lines really helped in narrow driveways. The screen was the 8 inch infotainment screen which on the move is really easy to use. It also helps that the steering wheel controls are easy to use. The sat nav was alright but you can still connect your phone if you want to use Google maps.  What we did learn about the system is you can only connect your phone when stationary. Once you start moving it refuses to let you connect. If you’re the driver it makes sense, but my wife wanted to do this and well, you couldn’t. The i30 also featured lane assist, I’ve not used it before, it did steer the car between the lines really well. If you take your hands off the wheel it will tell you off. This did work well on the motorway apart from on concrete roads. Overall the equipment level for the SE trim is a really good package.   

Comfort and practicality

The i30’s cabin is a really good place to be in, there’s loads of space and materials used are of a high quality for the most part. The lumber support on the drivers side works really well. Along with the adjustable steering wheel you can get into a really comfortable driving position. Practically, the car has plenty of cup holders, and door bins on the side will hold a large bottle well. Moving to the rear the boot has a 381 litre capacity compared the Kia Ceed’s 380 and the Ford Focus’s 375. This is based on the boot floor being on its lowest setting. However I couldn’t seem to get it down properly, it may have been I was just missing it but I couldn’t work it out. It is a good practical boot that is a good size for a family.

The rear benefits from small additional rear windows. However one of the major drawbacks of the i30 is the rear blind spots are pretty big. If the i30 had blind spot monitoring it would be a big help.


Minor problems

A couple of problems did arise with the I30 including the blind spot issue. One of these is the cup holders, it has plenty of them. But one is right behind the gear stick so every time you go for second or fourth you bash into your drink. The lane assist is good along with the auto braking. However after stop start traffic and possibly a bug on the camera this stopped working with a warning message on the centre console. The warning message accompanied by a ! in a triangle did not help. It went away after a few minutes which was okay. It did cause a bit of panic as the manual didn’t explain what it was very easily.  The only other area is really minor, whilst the cabin is quiet and the ride is of a good quality, the tyres do roar rather loudly from the rear.

Final thoughts        

The i30 is a great car, it handles well with good comfort and power. The economy is good although I suspect the bigger engine would be more economical. The price and equipment level for the car means it is a serious contender against the Kia Ceed and maybe even the Ford Focus. Hyundai have produced a good car. If I was choosing between the three the i30 would be the choice for normal day to day driving. It is a great car, it just needs a bit of tweaking and some zing. Then again I could always go for the i30 N….

The i30 isn’t a sporty car but show it some B roads and it handles very well, its a more a family car you can have some fun in. Click To Tweet