What is it?
WE drive the Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi SE Nav version of the third-generation i30 which majors on quality, safety and technology, although we’re sure it will be a hit with business buyers too.
How does it compare to rivals such as the all-conquering Ford Focus, Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra hatches? Well we got an early UK drive in the all-new i30 with the also-new 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol engine.
- There are three engines available in the new i30, but it’s this new 138bhp 1.4-litre T-GDi that’s the most potent. Swift and refined best sum-up how this i30 performs, mated in this case to a six-speed manual transmission, although a seven-speed dual-clutch auto is available as an option. It might be just a 1.4-litre petrol, but you certainly won’t feel let down by the performance. Top speed is 130mph, with acceleration to 62mph taking 8.9 seconds. Despite the performance, economy is still attractive at 52.3mpg and 124g/km. This equals just a 23% tax band.
- Designed in Europe by Peter Schreyer, the new i30’s design looks better in the metal and on the road than in pictures. Highlights include the bold rear pillar, then there’s the low, highly sculpted belt line, muscular wheel arches, lower cut out, plus a long nose featuring a new concave version of the distinctive family grille. These design elements all go together to give the new small-family Hyundai a strong identity – with a more muscular look than before, although its similarities in the rear quarters to the Peugeot 308 have got to be more than coincidental.
- The inside of the new i30 is another good news story, the design is attractive and quality seems to have jumped up, with plenty of soft-touch plastics on show. The most distinctive detail of the new horizontal dashboard design has to be the Mercedes-style floating centre infotainment system, on top of the centre console. This is part of the standard eight-inch touch-screen navigation system. Legroom in the front is good, the driving position comfortable and refinement is excellent. Plus, bootspace is up to 395 litres, with the practicality of a split/fold rear seat.
- Inside the new i30 and our SE Nav test car, the benefit of all the new technology is obvious. Firstly, there’s a faster working sat-nav in that eight-inch touch-screen, dynamic rear camera, Bluetooth, Apple and Android connectivity and even a wireless inductive charging pad for some smartphones.
- Hyundai promised a more dynamic drive for the new i30 – have they delivered? Well, there’s no doubt that the front MacPherson strut set up combined with the revised settings for the steering means you can attack corners, almost roll-free, safely and tidily. However, the biggest bonus with the latest i30’s drive has to be the multi-link rear suspension, which gives a more resolved, refined ride and contributes to the excellent body control.
- Our £20,395 SE Nav has all the standard kit a businessman would need with six airbags, stability control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, a Lane Departure and Forward collision Warning System.
- Although dynamically much improved, the new i30 still lacks the dynamism and driver involvement of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, which is a shame.
- Fit and finish although impressive, still lags behind premium rivals – the i30 is still a sensible rather than sought-after choice.
- There might be plenty of space up front in the i30, but rear room is rather average. Tall passengers will find their knees wedged in the back of the front seats.
- The 1.4-litre T-GDi engine is capable and willing, but it doesn’t sound very exciting and the six-speed manual could do with more finesse too!
Verdict on Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi SE Nav
The i30 is a big step forward over the last one, offering impressive levels of refinement, build quality and technology. It’s just a shame that although the drive is so much improved, rivals are more fun and rear space is no better than average!
So how does it compare to one of its key rivals – the Peugeot 308? Closest model to the i30 1.4 T-GDi SE Nav, is the 308 1.2L PureTech e-THP Allure 130 S&S. The Hyundai is looking good from the start as it’s cheaper by over £900. Although for an SME, the emissions and tax band are going to be key and this is where the Peugeot is stronger, with 107g/km versus 124g/km for the Hyundai, which also means the i30 has a slightly higher 23% tax band for 2017/18 compared to the Peugeot’s 20%.
The Lowdown on Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi SE Nav
|Road tax (VED) from April 2017 first year/ rate years 2-6:||£160/£140|
|Company Car Tax band 2017/2018:||23|
|Doors and body style:||5-door Hatch|
|Engine/gearbox:||1.4-litre petrol turbo/six-speed manual transmission|
Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi SE Nav and company car tax
- Discover how much you need to pay – click here
Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi SE Nav and fuel benefit tax
- We’ll tell you how much ‘free’ fuel will cost you – click here
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