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Hyundai i30 review

The Hyundai i30 has always been a dependable hatchback, but you’d never describe it as desirable. It’s quite stylish and quite spacious but there are other cars that can do those things and more

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wowscore
6/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Looks smart
  • Interior is spacious
  • A jack of all trades

What's not so good

  • Golf comfier on the motorway
  • Soft clutch with high bite point
  • 1.0-litre engine noisy when pushed

Hyundai i30: what would you like to read next?

Is the Hyundai i30 a good car?

The Hyundai i30 is a reliable, if unexciting, alternative to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus hatchbacks. Think of it a little bit like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It’s good value for the money and it’ll leave you fulfilled, but it’s not the most exciting choice on the menu.

Like a tweak to the recipe, the Hyundai i30 has been updated recently. Upfront, a large slotted grille gives the i30 a bit more of an impact than before, with the smarter look backed up by LED lights as standard on all but entry-level cars. Things at the back are largely unchanged but again LED taillights are standard on all but the cheapest versions, while the bumper has had a slight redesign.

The interior of the Hyundai i30 has had a bit of a refresh too, with the introduction of a new 10-inch infotainment system, a part-digital instrument display, and the option of grey trim, but things remain largely the same as before.

Mind you, that’s not a bad thing. Sure, the Hyundai i30 is a little dull inside but the quality is pretty decent with some good use of soft-touch materials and a robust feeling throughout.

Finding a comfy driving position is a breeze in the Hyundai i30 thanks to fantastic seat and steering wheel adjustment, with plenty of headroom spare too. In the back, even your tallest passengers won’t struggle to get in and decent knee room should allow them to get comfortable as well.

It's a good all-rounder, but the Hyundai i30 doesn't offer anything special to set it apart.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Getting kids in is a breeze, too. The rear doors open wide to allow easy access and once a child’s seat is in there’s so much room that you won’t have to sacrifice comfort upfront by moving the seats forward.

Boot space is par for the course within its class at 395 litres, which is 15 more than the Volkswagen Golf and 20 more than the Ford Focus. If sheer boot space is your priority though, you should take a look at the Skoda Octavia and its monstrous 600 litre boot.

Two petrol engines and a diesel are available for the Hyundai i30, with all featuring 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. This tech gives a bit of battery boost to the engine when pulling away to improve efficiency. For a great all-rounder, opt for the more powerful 1.5-litre petrol, which has a good mix of performance and economy. The diesel is only worth it if you cover huge amounts of miles.

Around town, the Hyundai i30 is pretty capable. Light steering and a good turning circle makes manouvering easy, while the suspension comfortably soaks up bumps in the road. The clutch on manual cars is soft with a high bitepoint though and gets irritating when pulling from junctions and in stop-start traffic.

It’s reasonably good on twistier roads too, but not as fun as some of its alternatives. If you want a more thrilling driving experience, take a look at the Ford Focus.

All considered though, the Hyundai i30 is still very much like your run-of-the-mill cheeseburger. There’s a lot to like but there’s not much in the way to get your heart racing. Check out the latest Hyundai i30 deals – or something more exciting to drive, take a look at the Ford Focus or for a bit more luxury inside, the Volkswagen Golf.

How practical is it?

There’s plenty of space throughout the Hyundai i30, but a slightly awkward boot lip makes loading and removing stuff a bit of a pain.

Boot (seats up)
395 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,301 litres

One thing the Hyundai i30 doesn’t lack is comfort for those on board. From the driving seat, plenty of adjustment in the seat itself and the wheel means you’ll be able to get comfy easy while plenty of headroom means you’ll be able to fit no matter your height.

Passengers in the back of the Hyundai i30 won’t be left wanting for headroom, while a decent amount of legroom makes it pretty comfortable overall. That said, the placement of the rails for the front seats do cut into space for your feet in the back and it’ll be a bit of a tight squeeze to seat three adults in there too.

Storage space in the Hyundai i30’s interior is fairly average (sensing a theme here?), with an adequate glovebox and a few cubby holes around the dash to store your phone or keys.

The centre armrest lifts to reveal a decent space for bits, while the door bins are pretty huge too.

With a 395-litre boot space, the Hyundai i30 is about par for the course with its main alternatives. That’s ahead of the Volkswagen Golf’s 380 litres and Ford Focus’ 375 litres, though lags hugely behind the Skoda Octavia’s cavernous 600-litre boot. If sheer space is what you want, take a look at the Skoda.

That said, the i30’s boot is very usable thanks to its boxy shape and plenty of fixtures, hooks and a hidden deep pocket for carrying smaller bits. It does have a protrusive load lip though which can make lifting or loading heavier items a pain.

What's it like to drive?

The Hyundai i30 is a jack of all trades around town, on the motorway and on the twisty bits — but a master of none

Two petrol engines and a diesel are available for the Hyundai i30, with all featuring 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. This clever tech gives a little bit of battery boost to the engine when pulling away to improve efficiency rather easily. All send power to the front wheels as well, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, though a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available optionally.

The cheapest petrol option is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine producing 120hp. You wouldn’t be going wrong with this engine if you’re just dallying around town but it’s a chore to get it going on motorways, so you should step up to the 1.5-litre, 160hp four-cylinder if you need a better all-rounder. Going for the diesel only really makes sense if you’re covering huge amounts of miles.

All engines available for the Hyundai i30 drive the front wheels, and are linked up to a six-speed manual gearbox. The gearbox itself has a bit of a notchy feel to it, and the clutch is soft with a high bite point that gets rather annoying around town. There’s a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic available too, but that costs an additional £1,200 and sees fuel economy drop as well.

When it comes to town driving, the Hyundai i30 handles things well but, again, not in an exceptional fashion. The suspension soaks bumps up well but not without letting a bit of noise into the cabin, while light steering and a good turning circle makes manoeuvering simple. Visibility out of the back is worse than in alternatives like the VW Golf though, so you might have to rely on parking sensors and a camera quite a bit.

When things get a little twistier, it’s a similarly average tale too. The Hyundai i30 doesn’t offer bundles of fun, but it’s capable enough too with good steering and little in the way of body roll. It’s no Ford Focus though, so look at that if you want some smiles behind the wheel of your family hatchback.

Sticking to the fine- but- not- sensational theme, the Hyundai i30 is perfectly reasonable on a motorway too. A little bit of wind noise comes into the cabin but not to an annoying level, and the more powerful 1.5-litre petrol deals with acceleration for overtaking well. The same can’t be said for the rather breathless 1.0-litre though, which takes an age to get to 70mph and provides a rather discomforting groan in the process.

What's it like inside?

The Hyundai i30 is spacious and robust inside, but it’s rather dull to look at

Hyundai i30 colours

Solid - Engine red
Free
Metallic - Amazon Grey
From £585
Metallic - Shimmering Silver
From £585
Metallic - Silky bronze
From £585
Pearl - Dark Knight
From £585
Pearl - Phantom black
From £585
Pearl - Sunset red
From £585
Special solid - Polar white
From £585
Special solid - Shadow grey
From £585
Next Read full interior review
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