What is the Hyundai i30 Mk 2?
The i30 is proof that the Koreans aren’t up and coming any more: they’re here right now. With this impressive hatchback they have served up a product that’s more than merely credible and closer to outstanding.
Where once a Hyundai would have to be sold on price and equipment, this one competes with the best on pure ability. It can hold its head high among the Ford Focuses and VW Golfs of this world, and consigns the rest of the opposition to the leagues below. There is not a great range of variants, though: engines are restricted to 1.4 and 1.6-litre in both petrol and diesel, and while there is a Tourer estate, there is no three-door nor anything remotely resembling a hot version.
Hyundai has looked hard at the opposition in general and the Golf in particular, and it has learnt. Whether you measure power, economy or emissions, the engines are competitive with Europe’s best, and the sophistication of some of its engineering puts rivals to shame. The rear suspension, for instance, so crucial for ensuring the car rides and handles properly, has the same configuration as is found in the Golf and Focus and is light years ahead of the cheaper, less effective setups used by Vauxhall, Peugeot, Renault and Citroën.
The star of the i30 range is the 1.6 diesel Blue Drive, which offers similar performance to a BlueMotion Golf, with markedly superior economy and emissions. The engine is strong, mechanically refined and pleasant to operate via a six-speed manual gearbox.
All the engineering investment in the chassis has paid off, too: not only is the i30 one of the most comfortable cars in its class, but it’s notably good to drive, thanks to precise steering and excellent poise on tricky roads. A Golf is perhaps a little more nuanced and involving, but the i30 is the next best thing.
There is still a little distance to travel here before the i30 catches the best of its European opposition. The basics are right: the driving environment is logically arranged, and space in the back and boot is competitive if not exceptional. It’s the details that let it down. The cabin — particularly the dash — still looks designed down to a price. The blue LCD information display clashes with the analogue dials, and most materials neither look nor feel as opulent as those used by Volkswagen. Then again, VW doesn’t offer a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Hyundai does.
Buying a used Hyundai i30
Owners of the second-generation i30 have yet to reveal any common faults with their cars, thanks to its excellent reliability. It also helps that all of these i30s are still under warranty, so dealers should be on top of any issues.
The One to Buy
Hyundai 1.6 CRDi Active Blue Drive
- £17,995 (correct at time of first publication)
- 1582cc, 4 cylinders
- 109bhp @ 4000rpm
- 192 lb ft @ 1900rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 11.5sec
- Top Speed:
- 76.3mpg (combined)
- Road Tax Band:
- L 4300mm, W 1780mm, H 1470mm