With the Veloster now discontinued – falling victim, we’re told, to poor sales – there’s a gap in the Hyundai range for a fast hatchback, which will now be filled by i30 Turbo.
As you can probably tell by the sombre styling, the Turbo is warm rather than fast. To mark it out from its slower siblings, it gets a sportier grille, new front and rear bumpers with red highlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and a pair of fat exhaust pipes. As with the standard car, buyers can choose from three or five-door body styles.
Power comes from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, boosted by a single turbocharger to produce 184hp – enough to get the sporty hatch from 0-62mph in 8 seconds and on to a top speed of 136mph. It never feels all that quick, though – proper hot hatchbacks now produce far north of 220hp, after all – but the Turbo has enough go to keep things interesting, even if (bar some turbo whistle) it never sounds that sporty.
If and when you do feel the need to up the pace, the Hyundai’s chassis is happy to oblige. It was, apparently, honed at the Nurburgring, but thankfully there’s none of the harshness that the mention of that name implies. Body roll is kept in check, but not at the expense of ride quality, while the Turbo’s quicker steering means it attacks corners with more enthusiasm than the standard car. It lacks any kind of feel , however – no matter which of the three steering settings you choose but, despite this, the i30 has the capacity to put a smile on your face.
Fuel economy is decent enough, too, at 38.7mpg – although the much faster Golf GTI can manage almost 50mpg. CO2 emissions of 169g/km mean taxing the beast will set you back £205 a year.
If anything, the interior looks a little niftier than the outside, thanks to a pair of sports seats in the front, a sprinkling of red detailing, a ‘sports’ instrument cluster and black headlining.
Equipment levels are generous with cruise control, auto lights and wipers, climate control, keyless entry and a touchscreen sat-nav system all coming as standard.
We’ve left the best until last, though – the price. At £22,495, the Hyundai undercuts one of its most obvious rivals, the Peugeot 308 GT, by more than £1,500, throw in the i30’s five-year warranty and it’s hard to think of a more sensible way to spend your money on going (relatively) quickly.