Hyundai i30

Refined and comfortable family hatchback is excellent value

This is the average score given by leading car publications from 10 reviews
  • Stylish looks
  • Good value
  • Impressively refined
  • Not the best to drive
  • Compromised rear visibility
  • Some weak engines

£15,795 - £24,195 Price range


5 Seats


41 - 78 MPG


The Hyundai i30 is a small family hatchback that looks good and has a nice interior. Its closest rivals are the Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Golf and the Kia Ceed.

Hyundai has been making vast improvements to its cars over the years and nowhere is that more apparent than in the i30’s interior. Gone are the light grey hard plastics of old and in their place are soft-touch materials that could easily be found in a VW Golf. There is a decent amount of room for passengers and three adults can fit in the back seat. The boot is quite big and its shape makes it easy to load.

While it may not be as fun to drive as a Focus, the i30 is described as very capable and quite comfortable. Only the worst of roads can unsettle the otherwise nicely set-up suspension and reviewers praise the i30 on the little tyre roar and wind noise entering the cabin. The light steering is great in the city, but keen drivers might dislike it on fast B-roads. 

Most reviewers agree the best engine for the i30 is the 1.6-litre diesel. Pick the basic version if you rarely go out of town, while the more powerful model is better suited to out-of-town driving. The petrol options aren’t as advanced as those found in rivals, so they’re not really recommended.

Equipment levels are very good – air-conditioning and a Bluetooth phone connection head up a generous list of standard kit.

Check out the available shades using our Hyundai i30 colours guide or take a look at its upcoming replacement with our dedicated 2017 Hyundai i30 price, specs and release date article. A VW Golf GTI-rivalling hot hatch version is also in the works – read our i30 N price, specs and release date article for full details.

Compared to the previous i30, the cabin of the new car is a huge leap forward in terms of quality.

There are still a few cheap plastics here and there, but overall it’s well screwed together and built out of high grade materials for the class standard; importantly, everything feels durable. Critics say that large, clearly labelled buttons make using the dashboard a simple task, although aesthetically, it looks a little messy in a way the the Volkswagen Golf never would.

Hyundai i30 passenger space

There’s more than adequate leg and headroom all round and the rear bench can sit three adults thanks to the flat floor which frees up foot space. However, some taller passengers may feel a bit cramped if equally lofty people are sitting up front, and the optional panoramic sunroof eats up headroom, too.

Hyundai i30 boot space

There are plenty of storage spaces up front, and the boot is one of the largest you’ll find in this type of car. At 378 litres, it is just two litres smaller than a VW Golf’s and, with the seats down, you get a reasonable 1,316 litres.

The Hyundai i30 has been engineered with comfort and refinement as a primary concern, so it’s not going to worry a Ford Focus for outright fun behind the wheel. Understeer caused by the front wheels losing grip happens quicker than it would in the Focus, but it’s something you’re unlikely to notice at sensible speeds.

While the Hyundai’s light controls deny the driver some iteration, they make the i30 very easy to drive, particularly when making low speed manoeuvres in town. Counting against it is poor rearward visibility, caused by the stylish-looking small rear window, and a flex steering system that gives little feedback in any of its three settings.

Most critics said that the ride is generally comfortable, if a little fidgety on rough roads that wouldn’t upset a VW Golf. Noise is well suppressed even at higher speeds, making the i30 a well-refined motorway cruiser.

The Hyundai i30 lacks the vast range of engines that you get in the Volkswagen Golf, but the basics are there. That means buyers can choose from two petrols and a pair of diesels, while a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol that joined the range in 2015 offers the only performance derivative.

Hyundai i30 petrol engines

The smaller 1.4-litre petrol unit has 99hp and described as flexible, although by no means fast. The more powerful 1.6-litre petrol has 118hp, and packs a better punch.

Those with a penchant for power can chose the 1.6-litre turbo engine that sits atop the range. This unit puts out 183hp and propels the i30 to 60mph in just eight seconds, enough to entertain you, if not to defeat rivals on the track.

Fuel economy is starting to fall behind the best in class now. The cheapest petrol to run is the 99hp petrol, which can return fuel economy of 47.1mpg – some way behind the 65.7mpg a basic 1.0-litre Golf can manage. And, while the VW is free to tax, the Hyundai will set you back £110 every year.

Hyundai i30 diesel engines

The 1.6-litre diesel putting out either 108hp or 134hp is the pick for most reviewers; the less powerful version achieves nearly 60mpg and is clean enough to be exempt from paying road tax.

The i30 gets a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but some models are also available with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic. It is designed to give better acceleration and improved fuel economy thanks to its faster shift times and extra cruising gear.

The reviews of this spec of Hyundai’s new hatchback are starting to turn up, and they're impressively positive. The critics seem to admire the car’s comfort and refinement, along with the impressively smooth and efficient engine.

However, this isn’t the engine to choose if performance is a key priority. Most of them reckon the 1.6 turbo diesel in this car had a very narrow power and torque band, so you’ll have to work it a bit in order to get up to speed or during overtaking manoeuvres on motorways. That being said, it’s still potent enough for most other duties, yet is also impressively refined and ‘civilised’, even at higher revs.

The Blue Drive tag states that this engine is one of the most efficient in the range, so this spec of i30 is quite cheap to run – Hyundai claims up to 76 mpg is possible on the combined cycle, and the low CO2 output means it doesn’t cost anything to tax.

Those wanting a bit more poke will most likely be better off with the more powerful engines in the range. However, the 1.6 oil burning unit is still more than adequate if performance isn’t a main concern, and the cheaper asking price and running costs means that this spec is certainly worth having a closer look at.

Based on the initial reports, it seems that all the critics appear to be very impressed of the latest i30, especially in top-spec diesel guise. Most of them reckon it’s a smooth and fairly silent engine with some very impressive economy statistics to brag about. However, this variant is by no means the most affordable model in the range.

Under the bonnet is pretty much the same engine in the slightly cheaper 1.6 110 diesel model, so it’s no surprise that it’s just as smooth and as refined. However, the marginally higher power and torque outputs do mean that this engine is a bit more flexible than the ‘lesser’ unit, if still not exactly over endowed with power, and is just as cheap to run thanks to some impressive efficiency figures– Hyundai claims up to 74 mpg is possible on the combined cycle, and the 100g/km of CO2 output means it doesn’t cost anything to tax.

Though most of the model range hasn’t been reviewed yet, it’s safe to assume that this spec of i30 is worth considering if the Hyundai appeals to you. There are cheaper i30 models on sale, and there are some premium rivals on sale for similar prices, but overall the flagship diesel motor appears to be a very good one, and is definitely worth considering.

The Hyundai i30 attained a five star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, which is reassuring, although it was noted by reviewers that rivals did better in specific areas of the test for adult protection.

The i30 has stability control and six airbags as standard, with the buyer needing to cough up extra for knee airbags, and it’s notable that the i30 is not as fully equipped as some rivals when it comes to tech.

However, high spec models do have some clever touches, like brake lights and hazard lights that make it obvious to following motorists that you are engaging in an emergency stop.

As you’d expect from a Hyundai, the i30 is good value for money. Standard equipment is generous across the range – all cars have air-conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity and there’s Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty, which is one of the best in class.

The i30’s starting price sits between the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, and looks generally competitive unless you spec it out very highly, at which point you may feel that the options from premium marques look more tempting as an overall package.

Hyundai i30 N hot hatch

Hyundai has confirmed it’s developing a range of high-performance cars that will sport a new ‘N’ badge. The i30 will receive a hot hatch makeover to become the i30 N, a car fitted with a new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that could go on sale as early as late 2016.


Overall, the new Hyundai i30 is a great car that has plenty of positive attributes. It’s feels more upmarket and is better to drive than the previous car.

Hyundai may still need to work on setting its cars up to make them fun on the twisty roads, but the sometimes crashy ride and slightly below-par steering are not deal-breakers according to critics because of the quality and practicality of the interior.

It’s not the best car in its class overall, but the i30 is an impressive all-rounder.

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