- We like...long warranty, low price
- We don't...diesel is noisy when cold
Well equipped, keenly priced and with a good five-year warranty. The i30 has plenty on its sideLeather seats in far Eastern cars. Time was, they were terrible: usually a worrying shade of grey and with a chemical pong about them. They had all the charm of a cheap pair of Velcro-strapped trainers.
This range-topping Hyundai i30 has leather seats. But this time, they’re pretty good: black, properly shaped and comfy. They don’t niff of anything much. We make mention of this because it marks neatly what a jump forward this i30 makes over what’s come before.
Hyundai bangs on about how this, its latest Ford Focus-sized car, is European in design and feel. And it is: good looking, with touches of BMW 1-series around its rear quarters, clean and modern around its front and in profile. Inside, it’s almost cool in its restrained design, and there’s the right kind of soft-touch plastic covering the top half of the dash.
This one has every bit of kit you’d want: alloy wheels, auto-on lamps and wipers, climate controlled air conditioning, a stereo with iPod hook-up and heated front seats. Mind you, even the entry i30, which costs £10,995, has air con, alloy wheels and the iPod thingamajig, which is top value. And at night, the dials and radio display glow a soft blue, rather like a VW Golf’s.
The cabin is roomy and easy to see out from, while the wheel and driver’s seat adjusts every-which-way. The boot is big and well shaped, while the back seats tip easily to free up extra space.
The i30 drives smoothly, sponging away the worst of town-centre ruts and craters and steers well. Its 1.6 diesel engine is powerful and economical, if noisy until warmed.
Like all Hyundais, the i30 receives a five-year warranty from Hyundai that’s good, regardless how far you drive it.
But if all this sounds remarkably like another car from the Far East, yes, you’re right: the i30 and the Kia Cee’d share the same parent company and have many common parts. Model for model, the Cee’d is a little cheaper and weighs in with a seven-year warranty. Leaving aside the extra years of cover that the Kia and Hyundai enjoy, both compare well on price against similar VW Golfs or Peugeot 308s.
For plenty of buyers, the i30’s cover until 2013 will be reason enough to buy. If that dsn’t convince you, the i30 is finally a Hyundai good enough to stand on its own merits.
Don’t buy before you’ve tried the Cee’d, though. For us, the two are closely matched, but the Kia’s prices and longer warranty would (just) sway us.
- Engines1.6 CRDi
- 0-60 mph11.6
- Insurance groups6
Motors.co.uk value verdict: