Review: Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017)

Rating:

Looks more distinctive than original model. High quality interior. Very efficient engines. Excellent steering ride and handling on 15-inch wheels.

Steering lacks feel on 16-inch wheels and worse still on 17-inch wheels. i30 Turbo returns tepid performance

Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017): At A Glance

The original i30 was an important car for Hyundai. It replaced the fairly woeful Accent and was such a big step forward that it brought the brand­ to a whole new audience who would never had previously considered a Hyundai. 

The latest i30 takes another big leap forward, so much so in fact that this is now a serious alternative to the Ford Focus and even the Volkswagen Golf.

The styling echoes the larger i40 with a near identical front end including a distinctive strip of LED daytime running lights. Overall it’s a very neatly designed hatchback that’s far more striking and memorable than the original i30. Crucially it has a much more premium appearance. This is certainly a world away from the ‘value’ image that Hyundai is usually associated with.

Of course, as it’s a Hyundai the i30 comes with the Five Year Triple Care package which includes a five-year unlimited mileage warranty as standard. True, its sister car the new Kia Cee’d comes with a longer seven-year warranty which is limited to a fairly generous 100,000 miles, but Hyundai says it aims to maximise the value of its warranty by including roadside assistance for the five years along with free vehicle health checks.

Hyundai has succeeded in producing a superb all rounder in the i30. It’s hugely capable, spacious and pleasant to drive, plus it feels well built and refined. Hyundai products have proved very reliable too so there should be few worries on that front and the new i30 went through 350,000 miles of testing. Add in competitive prices and the i30 is a very attractive package. In more ways than one.

Hyundai i30 2012 Road Test

Hyundai i30 Turbo 2015 Road Test

Hyundai i30 2012 1.6 CRDi 'Our Cars' Long-Term Test

What does a Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017) cost?

List Price from £17,355
Buy new from £13,425
Contract hire from £173.40 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4300 mm
Width 1780 mm
Height 1465–1470 mm
Wheelbase 2650 mm

Full specifications

Inside it’s similar to the i40 and the new Veloster with a really well laid out interior that’s comfortable and easy to get to grips with. All the cars we tested were top specification models so it’s difficult to tell what an entry-level model will be like, but the quality of the finish and the attention to detail are both top notch. If you’re used to Focus or an Astra you’d be very at home in the i30.

As you’d expect from a Hyundai, it’s also well equipped. There are some impressive features as standard including an electric parking brake, Bluetooth, front fog lights, air conditioning, iPod and USB connections, heated electrically adjustable mirrors and a multifunction steering wheel. Hyundai isn’t shy when it comes to upmarket extras either with features such as a reversing camera, keyless entry and start plus a panoramic sunroof available as options.

There’s plenty of room inside, particularly for the driver, while the seats are comfortable and supportive in all the right places. It’s just as good for those in the back and even six-footers will find plenty of headroom and more than reasonable knee room.  Add in a large and easy to load boot which has 378 litres of space - that's 60 litres more than a Focus and 25 litres more than a Toyota Auris - and you have all the practicality you need in a hatch.

Child seats that fit a Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017) like to drive?

So what is it like to drive? Well the answer is extremely competent. It’s not going to set your world on fire but it’s incredibly comfortable, refined and effortless to drive. It handles well with nicely responsive steering and plenty of front end grip plus it really excels on the motorway where it feels like a larger car, such is the absence of noise. The steering lacks feel but aside from that there is very little to find fault with.

Interestingly all models (apart from entry-level Classic) come with a new Flex Steer system which has three modes - comfort, normal and sport. There's a button on the steering wheel to change them and each has differing levels of steering assistance and feedback. You do notice the difference, especially in sport where it's heavier and more responsive. But the normal mode is more than adequate that most people will rarely change.

Five engines are available from launch with the entry-level model a 1.4-litre petrol with 100PS that's group 7 insurance. The other petrol is a 1.6-litre with 120PS that's only available in Active trim with an automatic gearbox. But most people are likely to go for a diesel i30. There are three available - a 1.4 CRDi with 90PS in the entry-level Classic plus two 1.6-litre engines.

It's these larger diesels we tested. There's a 110PS model or a more powerful 128PS version but both give strong in-gear performance with 260Nm of torque. It’s not the quietest engine on start up and can get a little noisy when pushed hard, but in everyday driving it’s smooth and quiet. Sitting at 70mph on the motorway you barely notice it working.

Economy is another strong point and something Hyundai has been working on. Both 1.6 CRDi manual engines are badged Blue Drive - Hyundai's fuel saving technology - which means they have Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) which helps improve fuel economy up to 76.3mpg in the 1.6 CRDi 110PS with emissions of just 97g/km, meaning zero VED.

These figures are impressive considering this model still accelerates from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds and is fast enough in everyday driving. It certainly doesn't feel like a 'green' model when you're behind the wheel. It's helped by a nicely positive six-speed manual gearbox while there’s a new optional six-speed automatic which has smooth shifts and works surprisingly well with the 1.6-litre CRDi.

In 2015 Hyundai spiced up the i30 range by offering a Turbo version. Powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, delivering 186PS and 0-62mph acceleration of 8.0 seconds, the i30 Turbo is the fastest road-going i30 ever to be offered in the UK. However, the i30 Turbo never feels as quick as the official figures suggest and its tepid performance and high list price make it a difficult car to recommend over the standard 1.6 CRDi with 136PS.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 46–50 mpg 12.7–13.2 s 129–143 g/km
1.4 CRDi 69 mpg 13.5 s 109 g/km
1.6 42–45 mpg 10.9–11.9 s 145–158 g/km
1.6 Automatic 42 mpg 11.9 s 158–159 g/km
1.6 CRDi 110 Blue Drive 78 mpg 10.6 s 94 g/km
1.6 CRDi 110 Blue Drive Automatic 67 mpg 11.8 s 109 g/km
1.6 CRDi 128 69 mpg 10.9 s 108 g/km
1.6 CRDi 128 Automatic 51 mpg 11.7 s 145 g/km
1.6 CRDi 136 71–78 mpg 10.2 s 94–102 g/km
1.6 CRDi 136 Automatic 64 mpg 10.6 s 109 g/km
1.6 CRDi Automatic 51 mpg 12.3 s 145 g/km
1.6 CRDi Blue Drive 74–76 mpg 11.5 s 97–100 g/km
1.6 CRDI Blue Drive 128 69–74 mpg 10.9 s 100–108 g/km
1.6 T-GDi Turbo 39 mpg 8.0 s 169 g/km

Real MPG average for a Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

77%

Real MPG

30–69 mpg

MPGs submitted

544

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Hyundai i30 (2012 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best automatic for covering 20,000 motorway miles a year?

What medium-sized automatic would you recommend for motorway driving, up to 20k miles per year. I had a Mazda 3 1.5 petrol but it was thirsty. I'm looking for something less with a budget of £8k-£10k.
A Kia Cee'd would be a good option. The 1.6 CRDi auto is reliable and efficient, and your budget will get a 2016 model which will still have some of its manufacturer warranty remaining. Also consider the very similar Hyundai i30 with the same engine or a Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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