Hyundai i30 (2017-2020) review
The Hyundai i30 is a spacious, comfortable family car with a big boot but it’s slightly let down by some cheap-feeling interior trims – especially in entry-level models
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Like a stick of celery at a pizza party, the Hyundai i30 is easy to overlook when its closest alternatives are some of the best-selling cars in the UK. Those include models like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
However, the i30 looks smart, comes with some economical diesel engines and makes a roomy alternative to the usual suspects. It’s also available as the even bigger Hyundai i30 Estate, which is reviewed separately.
Inside, the Hyundai i30’s interior is pretty lacklustre. It still looks reasonably smart and all but entry-level S models come with an infotainment screen as standard but it certainly lags behind the Vauxhall and VW in the style stakes.
Thankfully, you get plenty of seat adjustment across the range and all but S models come with electrically adjustable lumbar support to help prevent back ache on long journeys.
It’s not just the Hyundai i30’s front seats that are spacious – there’s enough room in the back for tall passengers to stretch out, too. There’s more knee room than you get in a Vauxhall Astra and as much headroom as in a VW Golf. Carrying three abreast will be a little cosier, though.
The i30’s drab cabin and rather sedate handling do little to excite – maybe that’s why it comes with a safety system to make sure you don’t fall asleep at the wheel…
This theme continues with the Hyundai i30’s boot. With five seats in place, its 395-litre capacity puts it comfortably ahead of the Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf and you get plenty of tether points and shopping hooks for holding your luggage securely in place.
With its rear seats folded (which you can do in a handy 60:40 two-way split to carry long items and a rear passenger at once) it can swallow 1,301 litres of luggage. That’s big enough to fit a bike – if you remove one of its wheels first.
The Hyundai i30 isn’t just practical, it’s fairly cheap to run, too. Pick a 1.0-litre model for pottering around town (it’ll return around 35mpg in real-world conditions) or a 1.4-litre model if you do a broader mix of town and motorway journeys. The 1.6-litre diesel is only really suitable for very high-mileage drivers, however.
Driving the Hyundai i30 over rough roads is pretty comfortable, thanks to its reasonably soft suspension, but it leans quite a lot in tight corners. Both the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus are more fun to fling down a country road.
On a brighter note, the Hyundai i30 received an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in its tough 2017 crash tests. This makes it one of the safest cars on sale and well worth considering if you’re looking for a solid and practical family car that won’t break the bank.
If you’re convinced, make sure you check out our deals pages for the very best Hyundai i30 prices.
The Hyundai i30 will prove a great family hatchback for transporting a family and its luggage. Like most of its type, though, if you have three growing kids you’ll be better off with a bigger car.
You won’t have much trouble getting comfy in the Hyundai i30’s front seats. All models get a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and electric lumbar adjustment to help prevent backache on long drives is standard on all but entry-level S models.
SE versions come with a height-adjustable passenger seat as standard too, and you get heated front seats in Premium and Premium SE trims. Unfortunately, the more heavily bolstered sports seats you get in high-spec N Line cars are firm to the point of being slightly uncomfortable on long drives.
Jump in the back seats and you’ll find the Hyundai is reasonably roomy there, too. There’s just as much knee room and headroom as in a Vauxhall Astra, but the large rails for the front seats mean there isn’t masses of space for your feet.
Carrying three adults abreast is a little tighter than in a VW Golf thanks to the small (and rather hard) central seat and slight lump in the floor, but the Hyundai i30’s cabin is easily wide enough for three kids to stretch out. Its large rear windows should help stop your younger passengers from feeling carsick on long journeys, too.
There’s just enough space to fit a large rear-facing child seat using the clearly marked Isofix anchor points. Thankfully these come with handy folding covers instead of annoying (and easy-to-lose) plastic caps
The Hyundai i30’s interior has loads of dedicated cubby spaces for squirrelling away various family bits and bobs. The door bins are big enough to hold a large and small bottle each and the glovebox is pretty massive. Under the central armrest, there’s another storage bin (large enough for another small bottle) and you get a small storage tray under the dashboard for your smartphone – right next to a USB port and 12V socket.
All models come with a folding rear armrest with a set of cup holders as standard and the rear door bins are very nearly as spacious as those in the front.
The Hyundai i30’s 395-litre boot is bigger than what you get in a Vauxhall Astra, a VW Golf and a Ford Focus and it has easily enough space for a bulky baby buggy and some soft bags. The boot opening is nice and square but there’s a slight boot lip that can make loading heavy or bulky items a bit of a pain.
Thankfully, you get a neat adjustable boot floor as standard in every Hyundai i30. Lift it into its raised position and there’s just enough space underneath to hide some valuables safely out of sight. Annoyingly, there isn’t quite enough room to store the parcel shelf under the floor.
You get a number of tether points and shopping hooks to stop your luggage rolling around in the boot and SE models and above come with a small ski hatch between the back seats (so you can carry some long luggage and two passengers in the back at once). The back seats also fold in a two-way (60:40) split in case you need to carry just one back-seat passenger and some very bulky items.
With both back seats flipped down, you’ll have access to a roomy 1301-litre load bay that’s bigger than what you’ll find in a Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus or VW Golf and large enough to carry a bike with one wheel removed. The Hyundai i30’s boot floor almost completely flat (with the adjustable floor raised as high as it’ll go) so it’s easy to slide heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.
The i30 can cope with most monster potholes without sending unpleasant thuds through the cabin, but it’s pretty boring to drive and leans quite a lot on twisty roads
The only way you’ll remember driving the i30 is by never driving another car
You can get the Hyundai i30 with two petrol and two diesel engines and with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
Pick one of the two turbocharged petrols if you spend most time pottering around town. The 120hp 1.0-litre model will return around 40mpg (compared with Hyundai’s claimed 48.7mpg) while the turbocharged 140hp 1.4-litre model will manage around 35mpg in real-world conditions and has less trouble keeping up with fast-moving motorway traffic.
If you’re a high-mileage driver you’ll want to consider one of the Hyundai’s 1.6-litre diesel engines. The 136hp model is actually a touch more efficient than the slightly weedier 110hp version – expect it to return around 60mpg compared with Hyundai’s claimed 70.6mpg – and will have no trouble cruising along at motorway speeds.
You can get both Hyundai i30 diesels and the most powerful petrol models with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox instead of the standard six-speed manual. It’s not a particularly cheap upgrade, but it’ll help give your left leg a rest on long journeys and in heavy traffic. It shifts smoothly at slow speeds and responds very quickly if you use the gearchange paddles that you get in sporty N Line cars, too. As an added bonus, it doesn’t jerk at slow speeds like the comparable automatic gearbox you get in a VW Golf, so it’s slightly easier to park.
The Hyundai i30’s large windscreen and side windows give you a good view of the road ahead and its fairly slim pillars (where the doors meet the windscreen) don’t create any particularly large blind spots at junctions.
Unfortunately, the rear windscreen is rather small, which can make parking a bit of a pain. It’s a good thing, then, that all but entry-level S models come with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera (the latter is particularly rare at this price). Pick a high-spec Premium or Premium SE model and you get front parking sensors, too.
Unfortunately, 1.4-litre turbocharged models come with a slightly jerky clutch pedal which can make them difficult to drive smoothly around town. It takes a little getting used to and may make your passengers feel like they’ve climbed on board with a learner driver.
On the motorway, though, any complaints they might have will be drowned out by the tyre roar that makes its way into the cabin – especially in the back.
Also more noticeable in the back seats is just how much the Hyundai i30 leans through tight corners and wallows over bumps. It probably won’t make your passengers car sick, but it’s certainly not as composed as a Vauxhall Astra or Ford Focus. Thankfully, its rather soft suspension means the i30 soaks up bumps and potholes around town rather well.
Sportier N Line cars come with stiffer suspension which makes them feel more composed in tight corners, but they aren’t quite as comfortable as the standard Hyundai i30 on rough roads as a result. The firmer suspension also highlights how much you have to turn the steering wheel before the front wheels start to respond in fast corners. If it’s a slightly sporty family hatchback you’re after, the more agile Ford Focus ST-Line is an option worth considering.
The Hyundai i30 received a very impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in the strict 2017 tests. Helping it score highly were its standard lane departure warning system, automatic emergency braking (a feature that’ll stop the car for you to help prevent a collision) and a system that can monitor your movements and warn if you’re close to falling asleep.
For even greater peace of mind, pick a Premium or Premium SE model. They come with blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert (to help prevent bumps and scrapes when you’re reversing out of parking spaces).
The Hyundai i30’s cabin is minimalist to the point of being a touch dull, but at least everything’s easy to use and there’s plenty of room for tall passengers